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What is Darvocet®?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Darvocet® is a medication that combines two drugs called propoxyphene or dextropropoxyphene and acetaminophen. A related medication is Darvon®, a combination of propoxyphene and aspirin. The medication is commonly used to treat pain not adequately addressed by over the counter pain relievers, but dangers of misuse of this medication make it inappropriate to prescribe for certain people. Medications that contain codeine or hydrocodone may be more preferred than Darvocet® under certain circumstances. In November 2010, the manufacturer of Darvocet® voluntarily withdrew the drug from the US market.

There are several dangers if Darvocet® is misused. Propoxyphene is addictive and it is highly toxic when taken in overdose. Moreover acetaminophen can be associated with extreme liver damage if overused, or if used by people with liver problems or chronic drinking behavior. Darvocet® is seldom prescribed for those who drink regularly, especially it they consume more than three drinks a day, and it is almost never used when people take antidepressants, since there is too much danger associated with overdose.

Another population unlikely to receive this drug is pregnant or nursing women, though occasionally during labor and delivery it may be used to relieve pain. People who may be at additional risk from this medication can include those with brain tumors or head injuries. Those with breathing difficulties as from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, or emphysema may not receive this med as it can suppress breathing. Anyone being prescribed Darvocet® should also fully inform physicians about any drug allergies.

Some medications can react with this drug. Anyone taking other drugs should inform their physician before accept a prescription for Darvocet®. Some common drugs that may react with this med include warfarin, carbamazepine, dicyclomine and oxybutynin. People should check with doctors before using any over the counter medications and should especially avoid any medications that contain acetaminophen.

When a doctor prescribes this medication, it is extremely important that people adhere to the recommended dosage. They should not take leftover Darvocet® to treat other conditions without consulting a physician first. People should not share their prescription with others. It cannot be stressed enough that no one should take more than recommended dosage. If symptoms are not adequately relieved by this drug, speak with a doctor about other pain relief options.

Some common side effects associated with this medication can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness

More serious side effects can occur in some people and those taking this medication should watch for signs of the following: yellowing of the eyes or skin, black colored stools, fainting, suppressed, slow or light breathing, extreme confusion and seizure. These reactions are a medical emergency and require immediate medical care.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

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Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGEEK contributor, Tricia...
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