Darvocet is an opioid that was initially used to treat mild-to-moderate pain. Its chemical structure was similar to methadone. The difference? It posed immediate dangers to users, even though doctors had prescribed it. It was prescribed to millions of people for many years until the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally stepped in and banned Darvocet.
Darvocet wasn’t removed from the market until 2010. By that point, the FDA had enough evidence to prove that the drug’s grave potential for addiction outweighed its medicinal benefits.
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While Darvocet is no longer prescribed by physicians, it is still circulated in black markets. If a drug has a demand, there will always be a way to supply it.
What Is Darvocet?
The active ingredients in Darvocet are propoxyphene and acetaminophen. Our bodies naturally create opioids that block pain, but sometimes they aren’t enough. Synthetic opioids like Darvocet bind to the natural receptors in our bodies and block them, which results in pain relief. However, Darvocet also causes euphoria.
Darvocet was purposely paired with the popular medication acetaminophen as an additional way to treat pain. Due to its inability to treat pain in the fashion in the way it was intended, it was then used as an alternative for treating opioid withdrawal.
Darvocet was approved as a new pain reliever in 1972, but doctors were immediately apprehensive about using it and quickly petitioned to have it removed. Many of these citations from all over the country highlighted its dangers, including fatal heart problems and dangerous addictiveness.
Unfortunately, it can still be illegally obtained under the names “pinks,” “65’s,” “footballs,” and “N’s.”
The standard means of ingestion is pills, but abusers of the drug crush it and snort it. Due to the relative weakness of the drug, a user will have to continue ingesting it to feel any effect from it, which can insidiously cause an overdose.
What Are the Signs of Darvocet Addiction?
It isn’t always easy to detect the early stages of drug addiction, and those who consume Darvocet can still resume normal functioning. In some cases, there are absolutely no signs of use. But like most drugs, these signs will become more evident over time. Unfortunately, by the time the signs start appearing, an addiction may already have developed.
The signs of Darvocet addiction are:
- Frequent drowsiness
- Jaundice (yellow tint to the skin)
- Suicidal thoughts
- Chest pains
- An irregular heart rate
There is also a set of physical symptoms that can determine if someone is addicted to Darvocet, which include:
- Developing the inability to stop using it, despite multiple attempts
- Rationalizing narcotic abuse
- Becoming increasingly absent from daily obligations (such as work and school)
- Hiding Darvocet abuse
- Doing anything to get Darvocet, despite consequences
- Neglecting one’s appearance and hygiene
What’s Involved in Treatment for Darvocet Addiction?
Addiction treatment can be the difference between life and death for someone who’s addicted to Darvocet. If someone is stuck in the cycle of addiction, it may feel like a never-ending saga, but there’s help available if you’re ready.
However, guidelines must be followed to ensure long-term sobriety. The first and hardest step is accepting you have a problem. Once this decision is made, there will be support each step of the way.
The roads to recovery may differ, but the continuum of care remains the same. The first phase is medical detoxification, which facilitates a safe transition into a stable mindset. Detox will rid the body of all traces of the drug while allowing the brain chemistry to go back to normal. During this process, medication will also be administered that helps alleviate some of the worst withdrawal symptoms.
At this point, medical professionals will create a plan guiding you along your next step in treatment. If your addiction is severe enough, they may place you in a residential treatment center. These professionals will continually monitor your health 24/7 throughout your stay. You could be in the detox for three to seven days, depending on the severity of your addiction and other medical problems that may be present. During your stay, you will become prepared for the level of care you’ll complete after detox.
These therapies will help you get to the root of the addiction:
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Addiction education
- Family counseling
- Group therapy
- 12-step programs
If you’ve been deemed “low risk,” you’ll be placed in an outpatient treatment program, which will allow you to go home after therapy concludes. This option is especially useful for users who cannot be absent from school or work. The therapy sessions are the same type you’d experience in residential, but the difference is the ability to leave.
Fighting Addiction Yourself is Difficult. Let Our Experts Help!
Fighting Addiction Yourself is Difficult. Let Our Experts Help!
How Dangerous Is Darvocet?
Darvocet is a potent opioid that can have a range of serious adverse effects, especially if it’s abused or used for too long. Most opioids come with a significant risk of serious side effects like tolerance, chemical dependency, addiction, and overdose. However, Darvocet also comes with some unique dangers that have led to its removal as an approved drug in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.
The FDA banned the drug in 2010 because of its high potential for dangerous side effects. The drug has shown to be linked to heart arrhythmias, heart attacks, and strokes. The active opioid ingredient propoxyphene can interfere with the electrical activity in your heart. This can lead to potentially fatal heart-related complications and brain damage due to lack of oxygen.
All opioids affect your nervous system, and in higher doses, it can cause important functions like your breathing and heart rate to slow down. However, studies have found that Darvocet can be twice as fatal as other prescription opioids.
A Darvocet overdose can also cause your breaking and heart rate to slow down, causing a lack of oxygen to your brain and muscles. This can lead to unconsciousness, coma, brain damage, and death.
Opioid overdoses can be reversed with a drug called naloxone if it’s administered in time. If you encounter an opioid overdose in you or someone else, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Darvocet Abuse Statistics
- 35 million people in the U.S. have been hospitalized after using Darvocet.
- A Public Citizen’s Health Research Group official once claimed that between 1,000 and 2,000 people died as the result of taking Darvocet after it was banned in the U.K. and U.S.
- Roughly 10 million people were taking Darvocet when it was taken off the market.
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Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. (n.d.). FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA Recommends against the Continued Use of Propoxyphene. Retrieved from from https://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm234338.htm
DARVOCET-N. (2017, October 12). Common Side Effects of Darvocet-N (Propoxyphene Napsylate and Acetaminophen) Drug Center. Retrieved from from https://www.rxlist.com/darvocet-n-side-effects-drug-center.htm
DeNoon, D. J. (2010, November 19). Darvon, Darvocet Banned. Retrieved from from https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/news/20101119/darvon-darvocet-banned#1
Levin Simes Abrams. (2019, April 25). Studies Link Darvocet to Fatal Cardiac Arrythmia, Heart Attacks & Strokes. Retrieved from from https://www.levinsimes.com/studies-link-darvocet-to-fatal-cardiac-arrythmia-heart-attacks-strokes/