Darvocet, a brand name for a mild narcotic painkiller, which combines propoxyphene and acetaminophen, is used to treat mild to moderate pain with or without fever. It belongs to the group called opioid analgesics (related to opium.) chemically similar to methadone.
An overdose of propoxyphene (one of the drug in darvocet) can cause mental and physical dependence and if taken in dosages higher than is prescribed may lead to death.
In the United States, propoxyphene is combined with acetaminophen in ratio anywhere from 30mg/600mg to 60 mg /325 mg respectively. This formulation is usually known by a brand name “Darvocet”. However Darvocet is subject to some controversy while many medical practitioners prescribe it for wide range of medical conditions ranging from mild to moderate painful symptoms as well as for treatment for diarrhea, many others refuse to prescribe it, citing its highly addictive nature, limited effectiveness and its adverse side effects.
In certain cases, medical practitioner prescribes Darvocet for chronic and prolonged pain. However, long term use of darvocet has several drawbacks. Like any narcotic, extensive use of Darvocet can lead to addiction. Besides this other frequent side effects of Darvocet include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. Other less common side effects of Darvocet includes drowsiness, constipation, and spasm of the urethra which can lead to difficult in passing urine. Darvocet also have direct cardiac effects which includes decreased heart rate, decreased contractility, and decreased electrical conductivity.
Darvocet can depress breathing and, therefore, is used with caution in elderly, debilitated patients, pregnant and breast feeding women, children and in patients with serious lung, kidney disease and respiratory disorder. Darvocet can impair thinking and physical ability require in performing complex tasks such as driving or operating machinery. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when the drug is used for short term.
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