FDA Pulls Darvocet Off The Market

The FDA has pulled the popular pain medications Darvocet and Darvon off the market.  There are fears, apparently substantiated with scientific studies, that the active component of these drug (propoxyphene) can create damage to the heart and even cause fatal arrythmias.  Darvocet was pulled off the shelves in Great Britain in 2005 and the European Medicines Agency recommended their gradual removal from the EU market starting in 2009.  Because of its relatively mild pain relieving effects, many physicians believe the modest benefits are outweighed by the risks to the heart.  Nearly 10 million Americans took this medication to relieve pain in 2009.

This is a big bummer.  I’ve prescribed Darvocet hundreds, if not thousands, of times over the last 13 years.  I have never experienced any patient who has suffered any type of cardiac side effect.  There are a lot of people (myself included) who do not tolerate Vicodin well, so for those people who are intolerant of Vicodin or codeine there are few narcotic pain medication options.  The good news is that the cardiac effects of Darvocet wear off once the medication is cleared from the system.  There do not appear to be any long-term side-effects.

For more information, check out cbsnews.com

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