Propoxyphene will no longer be available in the U.S. after November 19, 2010. If you are currently using propoxyphene, you should call your doctor to discuss switching to another treatment.
[Posted 01/13/2011] ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that it has asked drug manufacturers to limit the strength of acetaminophen in prescription drug products, predominantly combinations of acetaminophen and opioids, to 325 mg per tablet, capsule, or other dosage unit, making these products safer for patients. This action will help to reduce the risk of severe liver injury and allergic reactions associated with acetaminophen. A Boxed Warning highlighting the potential for severe liver injury and a Warning highlighting the potential for allergic reactions (swelling of the face, mouth, and throat, difficulty breathing, itching, or rash) will be added to the label of all prescription drug products that contain acetaminophen.
BACKGROUND: Acetaminophen, one of the most commonly used drugs in the United States, is widely and effectively used in both prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) products to reduce pain and fever. Examples of prescription products that contain acetaminophen include hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Vicodin, Lortab), and oxycodone with acetaminophen (Tylox, Percocet). OTC products containing acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol) are not affected by this action. Information about the potential for liver injury is already required on the label for OTC products containing acetaminophen. FDA is continuing to evaluate ways to reduce the risk of acetaminophen related liver injury from OTC products. No drug shortages are expected, because the 3-year implementation period should permit adequate time for necessary reformulations.
RECOMMENDATION: Healthcare professionals were reminded to advise patients not to exceed the acetaminophen maximum total daily dose (4 grams/day), and not to drink alcohol while taking acetaminophen-containing medications.
Healthcare professionals were encouraged to inform patients that there is no immediate danger to patients who take these combination pain medications, and patients should continue to take them as directed by their health care provider. The Drug Safety Communication provides additional information for healthcare professionals, information for patients, a data summary and a list of all affected products. For more information visit the FDA website at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation and http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety.
[Posted 11/19/2010] ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals that Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals has agreed to withdraw propoxyphene (Darvon), an opioid pain reliever used to treat mild to moderate pain, from the U.S. market at the request of the FDA, due to new data showing that the drug can cause serious toxicity to the heart, even when used at therapeutic doses. FDA concluded that the safety risks of propoxyphene outweigh its benefits for pain relief at recommended doses. FDA requested that the generic manufacturers of propoxyphene-containing products [e.g., propoxyphene combined with acetaminophen (Darvocet)] remove their products as well.
BACKGROUND: FDA's recommendation is based on all available data including data from a new study that evaluated the effects that increasing doses of propoxyphene have on the heart (see Data Summary in Drug Safety Communication). The results of the new study showed that when propoxyphene was taken at therapeutic doses, there were significant changes to the electrical activity of the heart: prolonged PR interval, widened QRS complex and prolonged QT interval. These changes can increase the risk for serious abnormal heart rhythms.
RECOMMENDATION: FDA recommends that healthcare professionals stop prescribing and dispensing propoxyphene-containing products to patients, contact patients currently taking propoxyphene-containing products and ask them to discontinue the drug, inform patients of the risks associated with propoxyphene, and discuss alternative pain management strategies. Patients were advised to dispose of unused propoxyphene in household trash by following the recommendations outlined in the Federal Drug Disposal Guidelines at: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm226353.htm. For more information visit the FDA website at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation and http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety.
[Posted 7/7/2009] FDA notified healthcare professionals that it is taking several actions to reduce the risk of overdose in patients using pain medications that contain propoxyphene because of data linking propoxyphene and fatal overdoses. The agency will require manufacturers of propoxyphene-containing products to strengthen the label, including the boxed warning, emphasizing the potential for overdose when using these products and to provide a medication guide to patients stressing the importance of using the drugs as directed.
FDA is requiring a new safety study assessing unanswered questions about the effects of propoxyphene on the heart at higher than recommended doses. Findings from this study, as well as other data, could lead to additional regulatory action. To further evaluate the safety of propoxyphene, FDA plans to work with several groups including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Veterans Health Administration to study how often the elderly are prescribed propoxyphene instead of other pain relievers and the difference in the safety profiles of propoxyphene compared to other drugs. For more information visit the FDA website at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation and http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety.
Propoxyphene in high doses, taken by itself or in combination with other drugs, has been associated with drug-related deaths. Do not take propoxyphene in combination with other drugs that cause drowsiness: alcohol, tranquilizers, sleep aids, antidepressant drugs, or antihistamines. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer period than your doctor tells you to.
Propoxyphene is used to relieve mild to moderate pain.
This medication is sometimes prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
Propoxyphene comes as a tablet, capsule, and liquid to take by mouth. It usually is taken every 4 hours as needed. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take propoxyphene exactly as directed.
Propoxyphene can be habit-forming.
Shake the liquid well before each use.
Propoxyphene usually is taken as needed. If your doctor has told you to take propoxyphene regularly, take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if it is almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a missed one.
If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].
Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.
In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.
Keep all appointments with your doctor.
Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.
It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.
Last Reviewed - 02/01/2011
AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2013. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.