Over the years, public awareness of the risks of prescription opioids has increased. As a result, the medical community and legislators have increased their commitment to better prescribing practices and public safety.

In fact, Darvocet, Darvon, and other prescriptions containing propoxyphene are a stark example of that commitment. As of November of 2010, these drugs were removed from the marketplace by the FDA.

The reason? These drugs in addition to having a high potential for abuse, were found to disrupt heart function even when taken in suggested doses.

Understanding Darvon and Darvocet

Darvon and Darvocet are opioid-based painkillers also known as opioid agonists. The former, Darvon, contains propoxyphene hydrochloride: a bitter white crystalline substance. The latter Darvocet is a mixture of propoxyphene and acetaminophen.

Before their removal, both drugs were prescribed to treat mild moderate pain while Darvocet was also prescribed to treat fever.1 Darvon and Darvocet typically come in 65 milligram timed-release tablets. Once they have been ingested, the effects are felt for 4-6 hours.

Darvocet and Darvon were once go-to drugs, enjoying a status as one of the most prescribed drugs in the United States. According to data from Public Citizen, at its height 120 million prescriptions for propoxyphene were made over a 5-year period.

Abuse Of Darvon/Darvocet and Its Consequences

Darvon and Darvocet abuse has continued in the US even without a legal supply. In fact, versions Darvon and Darvocet are still being sold on the black market. On the street Darvon and Darvocet are called: pinks, footballs, Pink Footballs and 65s.

As with other drugs that come from illicit sources, there is a risk of contamination. Even when drugs are sold under the banner of propoxyphene, there can sometimes be other drugs added to the mix. With these opioids, stimulants and stronger narcotics can be added to the mix to accentuate the high, raising the risk of overdose and death.

Doctors have issued safety warnings against using Darvon/Darvocet in cases such as:

  • Using Darvon/Darvocet alongside MAO inhibitors such as Furoxone, Nardil, Marplan, Azilect, Zelapar and others; or having taken an MAO inhibiter in the last 14 days. This can cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome.
  • Taking Darvon/ Darvocet while having beathing problems such as sleep apnea asthma and COPD.
  • Taking Darvon/Darvocet while having a heart condition such as heart palpitations or cardiac arrythmia or congestive heart failure.

Friends and loved ones of someone abusing Darvon/Darvocet will observe significant shifts in Behavior. These changes are often associated with the need to acquire more of the drug. Other times, it is the result of addictive drugs to rewire the brain and disrupt normal behaviors. Here are some behaviors to be on the lookout for:

  • Engaging in risky activity activities
  • Endangering themselves and others
  • Becoming angry or confrontational (especially after being questioned about their drug use)
  • Sleeping at bizarre times or not sleeping at all
  • Valuable items or money go missing when they are around
  • Missing work, school, and family events
  • Poor performance at work or school
  • Unkempt Appearance

Here are some behaviors to be on the lookout for:

  • Overdose deaths due to opioids totaled 3.8 per every 100,000 individuals in the US
  • The rate of overdose deaths due to opioids increased by 6% between 2018 and 2019
  • Approximately two thirds of all drug overdoses involve an opioid
  • It is estimated that 10.1 million people misused opioids in 2019.

Symptoms of Darvon/ Darvocet Abuse:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness or Lightheadedness
  • Nausea and Vomiting 
  • Upset Stomach
  • Constipation
  • Irritated skin
  • Appetite Loss
  • Lethargy
  • Blurry Vision
  • Mood swings

Addiction Treatment for Darvon and Darvocet

The first step of addiction treatment for Propoxyphene and similar opioids is detox. Because propoxyphene presents unique health risks, experts urge that those who are abusing Darvon/Darvocet find a treatment program that can assist with the management of propoxyphene withdrawal symptoms including but not limited to:

  • Intense cravings
  • Lack of an appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Skin irritation
  • Muscle spasms

  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
  • Anxiety and depression

When a person abuses Darvon, Darvocet, and other addictive substances for a significant period of time, both their body becomes dependent on the substance to function normally. When the drug is longer being used, the body struggles to acclimate functioning without it.

By completing detox, a person unsaddles the weight of physical dependency and prepares for the next stop on their recovery journey.

In the next phase of Darvon and Darvocet recovery, a comprehensive inpatient program or intensive outpatient program (IOP) is strongly recommended. These programs empower addicted individuals by helping them develop the skills to keep them sober and come to terms with the very issues that perpetuate their substance abuse issues.

Darvon And Darvocet Abuse Statistics

According to the FDA, around 10 million Americans were taking prescription propoxyphene to treat pain symptoms.
A report by public Public Citizen estimates that 1,000 to 2,000 Americans have died from propoxyphene based drugs since they were banned in the United Kingdom.
35 million Americans were hospitalized for complications relating to propoxyphene medication.

Put Yourself on The Road to Recovery

Finding a way out of the all-encompassing fog that is addiction can be difficult. With dedication and the right resources however, many are able to leave addiction behind and reclaim their lives. If you are struggling drug or alcohol addiction, contact your local recovery center or addiction specialist.

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