The FDA is removing the drug, propoxyphene, aka “Darvon or Darvocet”, because it puts patients at “risk of potentially serious or fatal heart rhythm abnormalities.” The panel also found that the minimal pain relief benefits provided by the drugs do not outweigh the substantial risk of overdose, suicide and other known side effects. The decision to remove the drug came after the FDA reviewed a new trial study that looked at the drug’s impact on heart rhythms. “The drug’s effectiveness in reducing pain is no longer enough to outweigh the drug’s serious potential heart risks”.

Darvocet has become one of the top 25 most commonly prescribed medications, and with the sales of Darvon, the drugs have been prescribed to more than 22 million people.

Employers and adjusters should note that this recall can affect your injured workers and their recovery. If you are aware that they are still taking either one of these medications, please advise them to contact their treating doctor without delay and have their medication prescription reviewed.

Authors: Deborah Goza, MS, RN, COHNS, CCM and Maxine Russell, BSN, RN, CCM
Editor: D. Perry