It seems like almost every day there’s more breaking news about the opioid epidemic. OxyContin, Vicodin, and Percocet have become household names – not because of how they can be instrumental in treating pain, but rather because of their highly addictive and deadly qualities.
But these big-name prescription painkillers aren’t the only opioids causing serious problems for the country. And other, less infamous drugs like Darvon can actually be just as dangerous.
Darvon abuse and addiction continues to be a serious issue in the United States. This medication was discontinued in 2010. However, people still manage to get it and use it either for medical purposes or to abuse it.
Perhaps that describes you, and you have some concerns about your use of this drug. Darvon is no longer available for a reason, and this drug has major addiction potential. If you're currently using Darvon, you need to learn as much as you can about this dangerous medication. Also, if you are abusing it or addicted to it, please know that you can get help to stop.
This guide covers everything you need to know about Darvon – from what it does to the body and what it’s for to abuse potential, addictiveness, and what’s required to treat a Darvon use disorder.
Darvon is a weaker opioid drug that affects the mu opioid receptors in the body. It may also be called propoxyphene or dextropropoxyphene, according to Wikipedia.
Also, propoxyphene can be used recreationally. If it is, it can lead to dependency and addiction. Ironically, in its purest form, it can be used to help with withdrawal symptoms in opioid addicts.
Opioids have a long and storied history of being used to treat pain. And as far back as 3400 B.C., humans were already using it as a medicinal herb.
But how do these powerful drugs work?
On a molecular level, the power behind opioids lies in how they interact with special cells in the brain and body known as opioid receptors. One type of receptor in particular (the mu opioid receptor) is responsible for helping regulate how the body responds to pain. And when drugs like Darvon stimulate these receptors, they can effectively block pain signals to a surprising degree.
Have a look at the video below for an even more in-depth explanation
While opioids are excellent at treating acute and chronic pain, they’re also incredibly addictive. As the body becomes more and more used to their presence, it starts to change the way that it works on a cellular level. And eventually, it actually is unable to function normally without these drugs.
The opioid epidemic began in the 1990s when physicians started prescribing prescription opioids at an alarming rate. Part of this surge was due to aggressive marketing on the part of the pharmaceutical companies. Another factor was that opioids were sold as “non-habit-forming” pain medications.
This misrepresentation of the drugs by these pharmaceutical companies led to massive rises in opioid addiction among patients across the country. And when regulations tightened after these drugs were exposed to be addictive, many of these patients turned to the cheaper and more readily available alternative opioid – heroin.
By 2013, a new opioid called fentanyl was showing up in heroin batches more and more. And since this drug was 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, just a small amount could lead to a fatal overdose.
Today, around 130 Americans die every single day because of an opioid overdose. And in 2017 alone, nearly 48 thousand people were killed by opioids – a rate 6 times higher than fatal opioid overdoses in 1999.
Darvon, Darvocet, and Darvocet N are all medications that contain propoxyphene. They are the same drug under different brand names.
Darvocet is slightly different in that it also contains acetaminophen. This drug helps strengthen the effects of propoxyphene. But it can also lead to additional problems when it comes to abuse since it can end up being toxic to the liver.
Other drugs containing propoxyphene include Darvon N and Dolene.
For years, Darvocet was considered the go-to pain medication most patients received. It was first patented in the 1950s. However, there have been serious concerns about the drug's safety ever since then.
Chronic pain medication users often wonder why Darvocet was taken off the market. It was a drug that worked well, but its negative effects were much more concerning.
According to WebMD, every drug containing propoxyphene was banned in 2010. Studies show that this medication produced serious heart side effects for healthy individuals. These side effects were even evident among those taking normal dosages.
Taking Darvocet can result in fatal heart rhythm abnormalities. This discovery comes after Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals, who made this medication, conducted their own tests at the behest of the FDA after serious concerns. The ban occurred six years after it was banned in the UK, resulting in thousands of deaths in the U.S.
The drug is so deadly, in fact, that an FDA study showed that more deaths were connected to propoxyphene (16 per 100,000) than other more notorious opioids like tramadol (10 per 100,000) and hydrocodone (8 per 100,000).
While the ban itself was certainly the right decision, the FDA has faced harsh criticism for acting far too late. And as consumers rights groups have pointed out, if they had banned the drug earlier, literally thousands of lives could have been saved.
Propoxyphene's high effects are similar to other types of opiates. However, they may be a bit milder. Sometimes people choose to take this medication when they're new to using opiate drugs. It will produce a sensation of euphoria and sedation which can make you feel quite relaxed. However, users on forums like Bluelight and Reddit have also reported feeling dizzy and nauseous.
In order to get a better high from propoxyphene, higher doses are generally needed. Of course, with higher doses come more risks. Many users feel that the risk of heart problems isn't worth taking more of this medication. The propoxyphene recreational dose can be anywhere from 100mg to 400mg. Everyone differs as far as how much it takes to get high.
Not everyone will experience a Darvon high the same way. And that can make things tricky when you’re trying to spot the signs of someone who’s high on it.
According to MedlinePlus, though, there are a few physical symptoms to watch out for. These include:
The fact that the drug is currently banned seems to do little to dissuade people from using it. There are those who believe it does wonders for their pain. There are also those who choose to misuse it to get high.
Just like so many other prescription medications, using Darvon with other drugs can cause serious side effects and negative interactions. Some of these can even be deadly. Below are just a few of the most notable interactions involving propoxyphene drugs from WebMD.
Be aware though, this list is not comprehensive. As Darvon is now fully banned, no one should be using this drug. But if you do, always check with a doctor before mixing it with other medications.
Experts indicate that the best replacement for propoxyphene drugs may be NSAIDS. These are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Medications like ibuprofen and naproxen work very well as replacements for Darvon and similar drugs.
They also don’t carry the same addictive potential as Darvon and similar drugs. But even still, that doesn’t mean that over-the-counter drugs can’t be abused too.
For those who need stronger pain relief, there are many opiate medications that are available. For example, Vicodin, Oxycodone or Percocet are all legal, and can be effective when used appropriately.
However, most physicians will prescribe opioids as a last resort given their addictive and deadly potential.
Distinguishing between abuse and addiction is important. Because not all abuse indicates an underlying addiction and vice versa.
Abuse is essentially using a substance in a way that it isn’t intended to be used. For illicit drugs, this means using the substance at all. But for legal drugs like prescription medications, things get a bit trickier.
But since Darvon is actually banned in the United States and has no more medical purpose, using it at all is considered abuse. And this, of course, includes taking the drug recreationally.
There are two main characteristics to be aware of here. First, addiction involves compulsive drug seeking and use. That means that addicts cannot control their substance use, try as they might. And second, use continues despite the negative impacts that come about as a result.
Addiction, then, is more of a behavioral trend rather than a single instance. As such, it is possible to abuse a drug without necessarily being addicted. And on top of that, patients can in fact get addicted to a medication without necessarily abusing it.
A Darvon addiction can result when someone abuses this medication for too long. It's not uncommon for people to think it's not possible to become an addict when using this drug. They think that because it was once prescribed, it's fairly safe, even if it is banned. This simply isn't true.
When you take Darvon, it changes your brain chemistry. You begin to produce higher levels of serotonin and dopamine. This results in a need for more of these chemicals. As time passes, your brain stops making them because the drugs have taken over the job.
It's important to note that an addiction to Darvon can happen at any time once abuse begins. It can take weeks, or it can take years.
Taking this medication- even at a formerly recommended dose- is going to produce side effects. This is something you need to be aware of.
Of course, we also need to include the chance of heart palpitations and other abnormalities. If you're currently taking Darvocet N, you need to know the risks involved.
Opioid overdoses are no small matter. And in fact, they regularly kill as many as 130 Americans every single day.
And when opioids like Darvon are combined with other drugs like benzodiazepines, alcohol, and other central nervous system depressants, this risk of overdose is even higher.
That’s why it’s so important to call 9-1-1 immediately if you suspect an overdose. The medical professionals here will be able to provide you with life-saving advice and send an ambulance to your location where EMTs may administer naloxone or other treatments.
In the end, acting quickly is key to the absolute best outcomes. And the faster you can spot the signs of an overdose, the more quickly you can get the professional help that’s so essential.
There are a few different symptoms to watch out for if you think someone is overdosing on Darvon.
According to MedlinePlus, these include:
Eyes, Ears, Nose, & Throat
Heart & Blood Vessels
Stomach & Intestines
Sometimes, for one reason or another, people choose to quit taking propoxyphene. They may not have realized they were addicted to it, or that they could become addicts. Either way, cold turkey quitting is not recommended.
And like many other addictive substances, these withdrawals may be so intense that users end up relapsing simply to get some kind of release from these symptoms.
As such, finding ways to reduce the severity of the withdrawal period can go a long way towards promoting long-term sobriety.
Rehabilitation is the second stage of any successful recovery plan. And while it is more focused on treating the mental side of addiction rather than the physical one handled by detox, rehab is actually just as essential.
That’s because rehab uses evidence-based treatments and strategies to address and even reverse the compulsive drug-seeking of addiction. And unless this aspect is dealt with, it doesn’t matter if a recovering addict doesn’t experience any physical withdrawals – they’ll still be compelled to use again. And that means relapse.
Rehab, then, is a critical part of getting clean.
There are three major types of rehab programs: inpatient, outpatient, and intensive outpatient programs (IOPs).
Along with a higher success rate and a reduced chance of relapse, there are a couple of other reasons to partner with a professional addiction treatment program. Below are some of the most important.
The key to overcoming any substance use disorder isn’t so much about finding the closest facility. Instead, it’s more about finding the right one. And that means finding out which programs offer the services and amenities you need to stay comfortable, supported, and sober.
But finding the right facility isn’t always simple. There are a few things you can do to make the process easier. Have a look at the video below for more information.
At Northpoint the Evergreen, we know that overcoming a Darvon substance abuse problem is no easy feat. It takes strength of character, dedication, support, and know-how. And without each of these qualities, recovering addicts will be doomed to relapsing, whether they like it or not.
That’s we pride ourselves in offering the absolute best treatment services in the Pacific Northwest. Our comfortable yet modern facility in Bellevue provides a range of amenities for our clients to make recovery a much more pleasant experience. And with one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios in the area, you can always rest assured that you’re getting the level of attention you deserve.
Plus, we’re also nationally accredited by the Joint Commission – a true testament to our commitment to quality treatment.
You or your loved one don’t have to suffer through Darvon addiction. And with the right help, a full recovery is possible – and it’s easier than you might think.