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Carol Eustice

FDA Advisory Panel Recommends Ban on Darvon - Arthritis Patients React

By February 1, 2009

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As I pondered what to blog about today, a news headline scrolled across my computer and I knew instantly what I was going to write about. The news headline was about the recommended ban of Darvon by the FDA. An advisory committee voted on Friday January 30th (14-12) to withdraw Darvon from the market in the U.S. It's already banned in the United Kingdom. The FDA is not required to follow the recommendations of its advisory committee but often does.

I can't describe how I felt when I read the story. Disappointed. Sad. Angry. Uncertain. Even a little fearful. I have personally taken Darvocet since 1988. That year I had surgery for bilateral knee replacement. I was given darvocet in the hospital and it helped tremendously with my recovery. After talking to my rheumatologist about how well I responded to darvocet -- we left it as part of my treatment regimen. So now -- 21 years later -- 21 YEARS LATER, the FDA may ban the drug I believe has given me a good quality of life. I've had rheumatoid arthritis for 34+ years with pain every single day, several joint replacements, many medication changes, on disability, off disability -- the story is a long one. But I can say for sure, along the way, darvocet has been my mainstay. Darvon has been on the market for 50 years and those who do not understand its value to chronic pain patients say it has overdose risk and potential to be used in suicides.

I have never had a suicidal thought in my life -- so I will count myself among the fortunate. But I believe in my core that there is no connection between darvocet and overdose or suicide risk that is any greater than for other pain meds like vicodin, MS Contin, oxycontin. So, hear me FDA -- Darvon and darvocet are a significant part of treatment for many, many people. If you ban it -- you will destroy their quality of life. Move on to a more worthy cause and leave Darvocet a-lone! A comment from one of my readers expresses a similar point. He wrote, "I've been taking Darvon 65 for over 30 years, and it is the ONLY medication that gives me relief from my daily headaches. My doctor put me in the hospital for a week once to try alternative medicines, and NOTHING worked for me but Darvon 65. The FDA MUST NOT ban Darvon, it would affect my quality of life tremendously." Are there others who feel similarly? Post your feelings on the possible Darvon ban on our arthrtis forum.

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Comments
February 3, 2009 at 12:14 am
(1) Jimmy Drew says:

This Is Another Stupid Ban By The FDA, I Have Taken darvon For The Last 16 Years,I Have ankylosing Spondylitis And Crohns And Arthritis.This Drug Works !!!Never had a problem 1 with it.This Ban Is Just Going to make people move up to stronger narcotics!!!!
Last Time I checked you can O.D on any of the other narcotics!!!!!!Heck you can O.D on aspirin! I Guess that’s next!!!!Public Citizen Group Go Jump in a River And Die!!!!

February 3, 2009 at 10:24 am
(2) Barry says:

I recomend that people call the FDA and voice there concern before they make there final vote on banning darvocet i have done so myself this is crazy a drug that works for millions.the toll free number for them is 1888-463-6332.

February 3, 2009 at 4:00 pm
(3) Molly R. Miller says:

I called the FDA at the number listed at this site and left a message STRONGLY urging the FDA to decide in favor of continuing the manufacture of Darvon.

February 4, 2009 at 5:24 pm
(4) Kristy says:

If they ban Darvon and Darvocet this then opens the door for them to do the same to other narcotic medications like Vicodin (under names like Lortab, Lorcet, and Norco).

They should not ban this medication. I have friends who fall in to a situation that can’t take medications like Vicodin and Morphine but have no problems with Darvocet.

One can also e-mail the FDA to make the request not to ban Darvocet and Darvon at: http://www.fda.gov

February 4, 2009 at 7:19 pm
(5) Jane Howell says:

My story is much the same as Carol’s. Darvocet has worked wonderfully for me for over 30 years. I now wear a pain patch (fentanyl 50) but take one or perhaps two Darvocet once in a while when that doesn’t work alone. I have never used the Darvocet at the rate that my prescription says I might. I just use it as an extra boost once in a while. It is usually one tablet but can be two if necessary. I might use it once a week or twice a month, but not regularly. I really hope that this is not banned. I’ve tried other pain meds over the 30 years and really don’t like them and their side effects.

February 4, 2009 at 9:06 pm
(6) Bob Racine says:

What, have the bureaucrats at the FDA all gone brain dead? When there is a viable alternative then they might consider removing Darvon but to remove it without significant proof and weighing the adverse effects of the removal would be criminal.

February 4, 2009 at 9:48 pm
(7) JohnB says:

Ashamedly, I am a physician, MD, who bought the hard line of so many of my colleagues who say narcotics and including Darvon products, in the management of chronic pain are not recommended. Then, when I turned 65, I began having pain from osteoarthritis. Not any of the arthritis meds help or are contraindicated, for medical reasons. Initially, I had a series of radiofrequency ablations all the way from the high neck(c-1) to the mid chest–t-8(it is not applicable in the low back). While initially they helped a little bit, the pains only worsened. Mercifully the pain doctors prescribed vicodin, which gets me through the day. I am now 75 and severely disabled with low back pains, and my docs are NOT myopic about pain, like I was. I wish all docs could read and consider the content of this comment. You will help the old codger who is suffering. And you will be rewarded in heaven. At least think and think again, about it. We need to take the prescription pads out of the hands of the pontificating physician marathon runners…..they can abuse that privilege….in a neglectful manner.

John

February 6, 2009 at 6:21 pm
(8) Pamela says:

Without Darvocet or vicodin I would be completely bed ridden. It has helped me termindously. I have tried others and they were nothing more than a band aide. I have 3 forms of arthritis, spinal stanosis, osteoarthritis and fibermyalgia and suffer daily. Only people who suffer from such pain can identify, leave it to the government to decide who….this is just another example of our right to the peruit of liberty and happines. Yes, you can be happy through anything but when you are in pain it makes it easier to cope when you have a good pain medication!

February 6, 2009 at 9:31 pm
(9) Nancy says:

Doesn’t the FDA and Public Citizen have anything better to do? Is there not a major problem with peanut butter? Public Citizen is the beginning of this mess. They petitioned the FDA in 1978 and was denied. If you read the new petition and the comments from the FDA, Public Citizen has not been able to come up with any studies or scientific studies to back up their claim again. I would challenge Public Citizen to find a drug (legal/illegal)(over-the-counter/prescribed) that DOESN’T have a risk of being abused or being the cause of an overdose. I have taken Darvocet for the past 10 years for chronic pain. I know how much I can take in a day-somedays it’s more somedays it’s less. My physician monitors blood levels regularly. I have had several physicians offer me stronger pain meds (morphine) to control my pain, but I declined as the Darvocet makes my pain tolerable to be able to function for the day. It doesn’t take away all the pain, but again, makes it tolerable. Somehow, someway our voices need to be heard to stop Public Citizen demanding Darvon be removed and the FDA following their lead. Sorry this is so long, but so important.

February 7, 2009 at 2:49 pm
(10) louise says:

I have chronic pain from OA, RA and Osteoporosis. I have no pain if I sit on the couch all day. However, I take pain killers and then I can do all the things I must. The FDA is wrong in eliminating the older pain killers like Darvocet. It has been proven as effective for many people.

February 8, 2009 at 3:06 pm
(11) Gordon England says:

I agree wholeheartedly with all of these comments. For 15 years I have taken darvocet to relieve chronic pain from back injuries and arthritis. I have tried all the pain pills and this is the only one that allows me to still function as an engineer. The others had side affects and made me stupid. I would be unable to work and on welfare instead of a functioning American running my own business. I believe the real reason this is happening is because the drug companies don’t want me taking the $10 generic, they want me to take the $150 new generation drugs. More people die from penicillin and aspirin each year than any other drug. Why doesn’t the FDA go after them?

February 19, 2009 at 9:32 am
(12) Pam says:

I have fibromyalgia and this is the only drug that takes the edge off the pain without making me spacey or nauseated. I don’t take it every day, only when the pain is too much for me to function. Financial gain must be behind this (isn’t it always)? Probably some pharmaceutical company trying to push a new drug!

February 19, 2009 at 10:24 am
(13) Dr Ulf Jonasson says:

We – Drs Ulf and Birgitta Jonasson from Sweden -have studied the painkilling substance Propoxyphene – Darvon, Darvocet – since 1994 and we think these drugs are the worst drugs ever. If you want more information, pleae go to

Darvon, Distalgesic, Co-Proxamol – the worst drugs ever

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vw5O4tgErsg

February 20, 2009 at 8:43 am
(14) Lad Jelen says:

My wife and mother were forced to take Darvon products because a medical salesman convinced their doctors that this medication was the best thing since sliced bread for pain. Neither could convince her doctor to prescribe something else because it didn’t work for her.

I’m sure this happened to other people who then overdosed on the medication because it didn’t work for them either. THAT’S why Darvon got its bad name. It works for some people but NOT for ALL!

March 1, 2009 at 9:42 am
(15) Hal says:

I found this blog through reading this article on Cymbalta and the proposed ban on Darvocet.

Is Cymbalta Behind the New FDA Push to Ban Darvocet?”

I think it’s ridiculous to ban a drug that’s been around (in various forms) for 50 years and is still helping a lot of people. Drugs are NOT interchangeable for everybody. Sometimes even generics work differently (better or not as well) than the basic drug. The point is that, unless the safety risk is very well established, people should have choices!

March 23, 2009 at 11:54 pm
(16) Mary Celin says:

I have had 4 spinal surgeries, and two foot surgeries as a result of arthritis and disc deterioration. Darvon is the least addictive medicine I could take for the pain that I will always live with. Now my pain doctor has to give me stronger medicines because of this FDA ban. Why?, I have been taking it for 15 years with no ill effects. You nuts are shooting yourselves in the foot-and I have to live with more pain or stronger medications!!!

July 1, 2009 at 6:30 am
(17) Lark says:

My husband has severe osteoarthritis and cannot take NSAIDs due to another medical condition (ulcerative colitis). Darvocet is the only medication he can successfully take to maintain a reasonable quality of life. If the FDA bans it, we might as well get a wheelchair because that’s where he will be.

Now I see that Vicodin and Percocet are on the chopping block. What next? American physicians have always been extremely myopic as far as pain relief is concerned. People with genuine pain issues have always been made to suffer because of the actions of those who use these drugs to get high instead of due to legitimate need. What’s next? No alcohol in cocktails because it may lead to alcoholism? Some common sense is needed, which seems to be sorely lacking.

July 8, 2009 at 4:50 pm
(18) T.KANE says:

FDA:IF YOU ARE SO CONCERNED ABOUT THE EFFECTS OF TYLENOL WHY DONT YOU GET RID OF ALL THE HUNDREDS OF TYPES THAT WILL BE LEFT ON THE SHELVES AFTER YOU GET RID OF THE BREAKTHRU PAIN MEDS OF PERCOCET AND VICODIN.I HAVE CHRONIC PAIN I WAS ELECTROCUTED AS A POLICE OFFICER.I HAVE RSD/CRPS.I NEED PAIN MEDS.I HAVE BEEN ON THEM FOR 11 YEARS FOR BURNING NERVES AND OTHER MALADIES.AND NOW BECAUSE OF YOUR ACTIONS YOU ARE GOING TOO CUT OFF THESE MEDS BECAUSE THEY CAUSE THE MOST LIVER PROBLEMS?I BELIEVE THEIR IS MORE TOO THIS THAN MEETS THE EYE.YOU ALREADY STARTED ON THE SHORT ACTING OPIODS THAT DIDNT GO THRU FDA TRIALS WHAT IS NEXT?IS THIS HOW YOU WIN THE DRUG WAR?JUST PUNISH EVERYBODY TOO GET A FEW?IF YOU KNEW ANYTHING ABOUT CRONIC PAIN YOU WOULD KNOW WE DONT GET HIGH ORBUZZED .ALL WE GET IS SOME RELIEF .IF YOU HAD OUR KIND OF PAIN YOU WOULD BE FIRST IN LINE TOO GET THIS RELIEF.THIS IS GOING TOO CAUSE ALL KINDS OF HAVOC IN THE ALREADFY TROUBLED HEALTHCARE.YOU ARE PUTTING MORE BURDEN ON THE ADMINSTRATION WHO CANT MAKE UP THEIR MINDS AS IT IS BECAUSE THIS IS SO COMPLICATED OF AN ISSUE.I PRAY AND HOPE THE FDA HANDLES THIS WITH REASONABLE INTELLIGENCE.YOU CANT WIN THE DRUG WAR AND HAVE THE TRULY SUFFERING SUFFER MORE.IT`S JUST NOT RIGHT.WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU OR YOUR FAMILY MEMBER HAS AN ILLNESS THAT IS CHRONIC.MY WHOLE LIFE CHANGED IN LES THAN 2 SECONDS.IT CAN HAPPEN TOO ANYONE .ALL I WA SDOING WAS MY JOB ,PROTECTING OTHERS.CONCERNED IN OHIO.TK

November 20, 2010 at 4:27 pm
(19) Don Haines says:

Amen! To those who feel it’s foolish to ban an effective drug like Darvocet. I’ve taken it for 30 years for chronic back pain and it’s a miracle drug for me. How the federal government can tell me I can’t have it anymore is beyond comprehension. I know Sidney Wolfe has made it his cause in life to ban this medication that has meant so much to so many people. If people are abusing it — is that my fault?

January 1, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(20) Rose says:

This is beyond stupid – I have taken Darvon for years (I cannot take acetaminophen or ibuprofen) and now I am taking Oxycodone. My Dr sadly informed me “We are going to have to make an addict out of you …’! Where is the sense in that? I have to have pain relievers to walk or even get out of bed on some days, so the FDA has handed me an ultimatum – become an addict or become an invalid. What a sad, paranoid country we live in.

January 25, 2011 at 7:08 pm
(21) Ron says:

What are you people going to do now that they have banned Darvon? I think it’s ridiculous. Why do they ban medications for everybody? Supposedly it has heart side effects. If so, then why have so many patients for so many years taken this drug with no ill effects?

November 18, 2011 at 4:01 am
(22) Mariac Garcia says:

BAD VERY BAD!! ): !Before my Dr and I Notice That Heart Palpitations ,Headaches can’t sleep Fainting Lost of appetite …..And they where still prescribing them! I took them for more then 10yrs..and Because of those Darvocets MY HEALTH IS NOT GOOD AT ALL…Now a Days not only do i live with the same chronic pain But also with ALL THE DAMAGE from the SIDE-EFFECTS From the Darvocet.. Unfortunately Dr Tapia(frmOrlando) passed away and I haven’t been able to find a Dr that understands ………if there’s any DR. that would be my Angel….like Dr Tapia ,caring understanding willing to do anything to ease my chronic pain, now it’s more Heart palpitation ect…..Where? is the JUSTICE for me….
Thank You 4 Your time…GOD BLESS***4everluv…m ): frm.Orlando Fl

February 6, 2014 at 7:38 am
(23) Peggy Edwards says:

I know this is a few years late, but I just wanted to add to it. As a person who once used darvon and davrocet for endometriosis pain I can attest to it’s effectiveness. I was once on it for years and just recently found out it was banned. I had no side effects what so ever, and have had vicodeine, codeine, hydrocodeine. oxycodeine, among others over the years and have not had any of them kill the pain like darvon or darvocet. They do get you high, but they do not kill pain. I never felt loopy on any darvon product, but I did get massive pain relief. I believe the FDA did this at the urging of the pharmaceutical companies so they could sell newer ( more dangerous drugs) and much more expensive drugs at the cost of patient comfort and $$$. End of story. Funny thing, when I took this drug in the 60′s, 70′s, and 80′s, we did not have dialysis centers on every corner. Hmmm…..
Just look at proventil, a very inexpensive asthma inhaler, and how that used to be a 5 dollar copay. Now, only one manufacturer makes it under the guise that the propellant had to be changed to meet pollution standards and that same medicine is now around a hundred dollars. It’s all about keeping you sick and needing more and more expensive drugs that will cause more problems for you and more $$$$$$ for them. We don’t run the government the corporations do. We are just the serfs.

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