Darvon and Darvocet
In November of 2010, the Food and Drug Administration ordered the manufacturer of the prescription pain medications Darvon and Darvocet to recall the drugs due to an increased risk of serious and potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities associated with the drugs. The FDA also ordered that the generic equivalents of Darvon and Darvocet—known as propoxyphene—be withdrawn from the market as well.
Propoxyphene was first approved by the FDA in 1957 for the treatment of mild to moderate pain. In addition to generic versions of the drug, propoxyphene is also sold under the brand names Darvon and Darvocet (a combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen).
The FDA ordered the Darvon and Darvocet recall after data showed that the painkillers can cause changes to the electrical activity of the heart even when taken at recommended doses. These changes can lead to serious heart rhythm abnormalities, which may cause heart attack, stroke or sudden death.
Despite concerns about the side effects of Darvon and Darvocet, the FDA waited several years after concerns about their safety became widespread before ordering a recall of the drugs. Health officials in Britain and the European Union voted to ban the drugs in 2005 and 2009 due to their side effects risk. At least 1,000 people in the US have died from using Darvon, Darvocet or propoxyphene since Britain’s 2005 ban.
Although an FDA advisory panel voted to withdraw Darvon and Darvocet in 2009, the agency waited for nearly two additional years before ordering a recall of these drugs. The consumer safety group Public Citizen—which petitioned the FDA to ban the two painkillers—says that the agency waited too long to recall Darvon and Darvocet.
If you or a loved one have taken Darvon, Darvocet or generic propoxyphene and suffered a heart attack, stroke, abnormal heart rhythm or sudden death, contact the lawyers at Hissey Kientz, LLP to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at 1-866-275-4454, or by filling out the free case evaluation form on the right of this page.