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What Is Propoxyphene?
Propoxyphene is the generic name for an Opioid pain reliever, OPR, that was most commonly sold as Darvon and Darvocet. It was often prescribed because it was weaker than Codeine, but still similarly suppressed coughing. However, the FDA determined that the side effects were too risky for the mild relief, and the drug was banned in 2010 because of the high risk of potentially fatal heart problems, even when taken in recommended doses. The exact process Propoxyphene triggered in the body is still unknown, and current research is limited since it has been pulled from the market.
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Darvon and Darvocet Banned
Despite the pain-relieving effects being less potent than Codeine, Darvon was banned for its high risk of heart attacks. For reasons that can only be speculated at this point, Propoxyphene triggered abnormal electrical activity in the nervous system. It is unknown how or why Darvon and Darvocet were triggering heart disorders, but people who were taking either medication as prescribed were developing:
- Cardiac arrest
- Respiratory arrest
- Congestive arrest
- Congestive heart failure (CHF)
- Myocardial infarction (MI)
After discovering the regular heart attacks patients were suffering from Darvon and Darvocet, the drugs were voluntarily taken off the market. Propoxyphene, however, is still dealt on the streets.
Effects of Propoxyphene
Like other OPRs, Propoxyphene works by binding to the Opioid receptors in the brain. This is what gives Opioids their pain-relieving quality. In addition, Propoxyphene, much like Codeine, worked as a cough suppressant. It seemed perfect; a weaker alternative to Codeine that could just be prescribed for a cough then weaned off more easily than other Opioids. The dangers of Opioid addiction, however, are always present.
Side effects of propoxyphene include:
- Feeling of elation
- Dry mouth
- Stomach cramps
- Blurred vision
The Dangers of Propoxyphene Addiction and Withdrawal
Propoxyphene, as with any Opioid, can be highly addictive no matter the potency. Despite it no longer being on the market, the people who used Propoxyphene in 2010 may still be battling addiction. If someone possesses a bottle of Propoxyphene, or Darvon or Darvocet, it is a sure a sign that they are obtaining it illegally. Signs of Propoxyphene abuse include:
- Trying to borrow or steal money or goods
- Frequent problems at work or school
- Reckless behavior
- Mood swings
- Weight loss
- Poor focus or concentration
- Impaired judgement
- Poor memory
- Loss of interest in once enjoyed activities
- Anger outbursts
- Hanging out with different friends
- Depression or sadness
While no longer regulated, Propoxyphene is still dealt illicitly for those who are looking for it. The dangers of heart disorders, however, are still present and can be more dangerous without a doctor’s guidance. Some who used Propoxyphene before the ban may have moved on to a more accessible and cheaper drug, such as Heroin.
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The Dangers of Looking for Illicit Propoxyphene
While Propoxyphene is no longer on the market and can’t be prescribed, it still has a presence on the streets. However, someone looking for a fix should always be aware of the dangers that come with obtaining a drug illicitly. One can no longer know what they are taking when they move from a prescription to something illegal. More and more dealers use other synthetic, cheaper substances as fillers to keep their costs down, like how many Heroin dealers are substituting with Fentanyl.
Treatment for Propoxyphene Addiction
Regardless of whether you have an addiction to Propoxyphene, or have been pushed to another drug, the danger is the same. Without treatment, addiction is a time bomb. If you or someone you know need help, then reach out today. There are dedicated treatment providers waiting to help, with the knowledge to defuse the situation.
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There are many different forms of addiction. Get the information you need to help you overcome yours.