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ALTERNATIVES TO DARVOCET

Updated on May 30, 2013

ALTERNATIVES TO DARVOCET

Black Friday came a week early for many patients when, on Friday November 19, 2010, the FDA announced they were requesting the withdrawal of ALL propoxyphene containing prescription medications in the U.S. Many patients are now looking for an alternative to Darvocet or Darvon, the popular "brand name" versions of the generic drug propoxyphene (Darvocet is a combination of propoxyphene with acetaminophen).

How many patients will this effect? Estimates ranging from 20 million to 30 million prescriptions annually have been written for propoxyphene containing prescription drugs in the U.S. in recent years. Now, that is probably not 20-30 million different patients, but even so...the numbers are staggering.

So, if you are a patient looking for:

  • Alternatives to Darvocet
  • Alternatives to Darvon
  • Alternatives to Propoxyphene
  • Alternatives to Balacet
  • Alternatives to Darvon Compound...

This article is for YOU.  It is a very brief sketch of some of the possible alternatives that your doctor may discuss with you

I am a registered pharmacist with many years in the retail pharmacy industry.  I am happy to share what I know with others.  The information I provide is NOT intended to replace or alter ANY advice you may receive from your own personal physician. 

For a more detailed article on WHY Darvocet (and all propoxyphene products) were removed from the U.S. market, read WHY DARVOCET WAS RECALLED.

SOME ALTERNATIVES TO DARVOCET

Darvocet (also called Darvocet N-100) was a weak opioid analgesic (painkiller in the narcotic family) that contained both propoxyphene and acetaminophen. Darvon contained just propoxyphene. Both were "short" acting, and had to be taken every 6-8 hours.

No alternative is going to be a perfect match. Since propoxyphene was unique, it is impossible to say if any of these products will work just as well for you. The suggestions I make, therefore, must be understood as "possibilities" and not necessarily perfect substitutes.

Alternative #1: Try Arthritis Strength Tylenol (called "Tylenol Arthritis"). Yes, that's right, the OTC (over the counter) product available in your pharmacy. Remember, just because it can be obtained without a prescription does NOT mean it is weak or ineffective. It comes in a convenient gelcap, contains the HIGHEST amount of Tylenol available (650mg), and can be taken 2 gelcaps every 8 hours. Important: Do not consume alcoholic beverages while taking this and do NOT take it if you are taking any other forms of Tylenol (acetaminophen).

Alternative #2: Try Aleve. Yes, again, this is an OTC medication, but for many people it is very effective, and it lasts up to 12 hours. Aleve is naproxen, a NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). Do NOT take Aleve if you have an allergy to naproxen. Speak to your doctor first if you have any other chronic health conditions or are taking other medication that may interact with Aleve. For answers to some frequently asked questions about Aleve, CLICK HERE.

Alternative #3: Prescription NSAID products. There are now a variety of very effective prescription drugs which are indicated for pain. Many are available generically, and some are quite powerful as pain relievers. Examples include piroxicam, meloxicam, nabumatone, ketorolac and others. Some are relatively new and not available generically yet like Arthrotec, Voltaren Gel, Pennsaid, and Flector (a patch!). Celebrex is similar to this category of medications and may be appropriate for some patients.

Alternative #4: Prescription Tramadol. Tramadol is a unique prescription opioid pain reliever. It is not a controlled substance, and so is not subject to some of the restrictions associated with narcotics. The brand name of this product is Ultram, but it is available generically and is therefore more affordable. Tramadol may be the "closest" alternative to Darvon that is currently available. It also comes in a combination product known as Ultracet (a combination of tramadol and acetaminophen). Tramadol has a number of potential side effects, many of which are similar to those of propoxyphene, and include: drowsiness, headache, nausea, constipation, itching and sweating. For a more complete list of side effects, CLICK HERE.

Alternative #5: Prescription Vicodin (hydrocodone with acetaminophe) or Tylenol with Codeine (codeine with acetaminophen). These products are Schedule III Controlled Substances, and are generally considered stronger than Darvon or Darvocet. However, in some cases where pain is more severe, they may be discussed as potential alternatives to the propoxyphene products. These products will typically cause more sedation, constipation and have a slightly higher potential for dependence. Typically patients are warned not to drive, operate machinery, or consume alcohol while taking these. They are available generically and come in a wide variety of strengths.

These are only a few options. There are many other "categories" of pain relievers available by prescription. Some are specific for Migraine Headaches. Some specifically for Fibromyalgia Pain. Some are very strong like Percocet and Oxycontin.

YOUR EXPERIENCE

Just as important as professional advice is the real experience of others who have found successful alternatives to Darvocet, Darvon and other propoxyphene containing prescription medications.  I therefore welcome your comments.  Please feel free to share what has worked well for you, what has not, and what advice you may have for others who are seeking alternatives to these products that have been withdrawn.

Thank you for reading.  I hope the information provided has given you some useful advice.

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    • profile image

      jasper420 6 years ago

      thankyou for this info my mom takes this medicine now i know more about what she is taking

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 6 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Thanks for explaining many of the available options.

    • Denise Handlon profile image

      Denise Handlon 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I heard about this through the health system I work for. Thanks for the writeup of this info.

    • profile image

      tamipie5 6 years ago

      I fall under the category "...I am sorry for the many patients that this will significantly inconvenience. The reality is that some of the options for pain control that will be prescribed will create a hardship and reduced quality of life for some patients. But the majority will be able to find adequate pain control from other products." I am a NON_MAJORITY. My quality of life has been VERY affected and MY health has been jeopardized by some of the alternatives my Dr. and I have been trying. I am to the point that i am a little timid to try anymore for the fear of THEIR side effects and long term downsides. Why can't there be some sort of Legal Release for those of us that were fine (taken davocet for 12 years with no bad effects and HUGE benefits) and are willing to sign it and be allowed to continue with OUR QUALITY of life??? When I went through this same process 13 years ago, Darvocet was #7 of the drugs we tried. I do not tolerate pain meds well and it gave me the relief that I needed without having to take other medications along with alternatives to counter side effects.

    • pharmacist profile image
      Author

      Jason Poquette 6 years ago from Whitinsville, MA

      tamipie5,

      I do hope you find something that helps you. I am very sorry. I too wish that a special channel could have been made available for patients who really benefited from Darvocet and had no alternatives.

      Best wishes.

    • profile image

      haroldhardin81@yahoo.com 6 years ago

      i have had 3 back surgeries 87,89,90 and have taken Darvocet all these years.my honest opinion is,there is more to this recall of darvocet,than the risk they claim.To me there are more chances of living fewer years without the darocet.[think pain and how it affects you]Now think gov. s.s.,medicare and the cost for 30 million.

      people, just sayin.

    • profile image

      Lucy 5 years ago

      Darvocet was on the market for 60 years. I have had 5 back surgeries and Darvocet is the only pain medication that helped. Lyrica is the one that s/b taken off the market. It causes swelling of the feet & legs plus it makes one dizzy. I had no side effects from Darvocet. I have now ordered Darvocet N from a foreign drug company

    • profile image

      Regina 5 years ago

      This is such a load! Darvocet is the safest, mildest, narcotic ever made. Millions of MS patients and Lupus patients took this medication for over thirty years without one side effect and now they have been literally disabled because of a few absolute morons who would have overdosed on anything because they are idiots. Cars kill hundreds of times the number of people that chose to overdose on darvocet! Why haven't the safety nazis banned cars?

    • profile image

      Kim 5 years ago

      I have taken Darvocet for years for severe osteoarthritis of the neck and lower back with no problems at all. It got me thru between epidural injections. I have also taken Tramadol but can't take it at night because something in it keeps me wide awake. I try to stay away from the more potent meds if possible. I had a script for 60 with 1 refill when they pulled it. Had I known it was going to happen I would have had it refilled asap. I agree with haroldhardin81, there is more to the recall than they say. It seems they like doctors to prescribe newer meds that have no generic and cost some of us full price. Another case of the insurance industry running the country.

    • profile image

      Edybee 5 years ago

      I suffer frm osteoarthritis an bursitis of the hip. My pain was tolerable with the but dto bariactric surgery I can't take NSAIDs and my doctors keep throwing them at me. Suggestions plz!

    • pharmacist profile image
      Author

      Jason Poquette 5 years ago from Whitinsville, MA

      Edybee,

      You may want to talk to your MD about a patch like Lidoderm or Flector. Otherwise, OTC muscle rubs or Tylenol if appropriate are options. Always check with your MD before making any changes to your treatment.

    • profile image

      Ort 4 years ago

      i will never forgive these meddling morons for making my life just that much more painful and hopeless. I have crohns disease, so I CANNOT take NSAIDs of any kind. I havre psoriatic arthritis and darvocet was the only pain med that doesn't make me itch all over like some drug addict. Now what the hell am I supposed to do? "it will inconvenience" people. Really? Ya think? All I can hope for is the idiots who pulled this drug contract some form of intractable pain that only Darvocet can cure. Maybe then they will understand what I have to go through every day of my life. Bitter? What gave it away.........

    • profile image

      Hal The BSN 4 years ago

      I sincerely empathize with all of the many victims of the OVER-Reaction of the FDA and manufacturer of Propoxyphene Napsylate 100mg. and Propoxyphene Hydrochloride 65mg. (The hydrochloride is about 40% stronger than the napsylate) Anyone who has a good, legitimate reason for taking that medication to maintain a good, quality of life have a few options. First off AVOID acetaminophen (Tylenol/Paracetamol) if at all possible! Why? Because it is EXTREMELY toxic to your liver, as much as, or more than alcohol. Also, acetaminophen does NOT relieve pain any more that a placebo/sugar pill. It only reduces fever a bit. One way to know if a medication contains this poison (paracetamol) is looking for "CET" being in the name of the medication, for example Lorcet, Endocet, Percocet, etc. So if you can still obtain Propoxyphene, you should avoid Darvocet and instead buy Darvon, or Propoxyphene Hydrochloride.

      One option available to those who live driving distance to Tijuana or Ciudad Juarez Mexico is to buy remaining stock of the pure 65mg Propoxyphene Hydrachloride capsules from the local Farmacias or buy slightly stronger mild opioid analgesics, preferably by first consulting with a genuine, Licensed Physician. The have Lortab and Endocet available, both unfortunately contain acetaminophen, but usually in a small amount, such as 325mg to 10mg. of the effective pain reliever called Hydrocodone hydrachloride. A Doctor may be able to prescribe pure Hydrocodone without any acetaminophen in the pills.

      One sincere word of caution is that Propoxyphene, Hydrocodone, Codeine, Oxycodone, Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and ALL other opioid containing medication can result in physical dependence, or psychological AND physical dependence, which is also referred to as ADDICTION and can be life-destroying! So it is ESSENTIAL that you ALWAYS follow your licensed physician's instructions completely and notify him, or her if you begin to crave increased dosages, or begin to feel any flu-like symptoms if you miss a dose.

      I wish you all the best and a pain-free and productive life.

    • profile image

      Joe S 4 years ago

      I have Arthritic Gout and severely damaged my ankle 17 years ago. After two years of trying different medications to help with the pain (some where too weak and did nothing, and even worse some where to strong and did not allow me to function) we found Darvocet it took away enough of the pain to allow me get on with my life, with out making me sluggish. I have tried 7 alternatives since they took Darvocet away and none have helped. I have gotten to the point where I’m going to drive to Mexico or Canada and bye the Darvocet there.

    • profile image

      Chris 3 years ago

      I'm allergic to morphine and codeine and had hoarded my remaining darvocet. Now I have to find a replacement fir my osteoarthritis pain. Alleve made my feet swell and meloxicam just isn't cutting it. I will talk to my doctor about tramadol. Thanks.

    • profile image

      ridge2304 3 years ago

      I used darvocet for many many many years for kidney stones and neuropathy. Worked very well... made pain tolerable and could still function. Have tried several others... vicodin does not provide any relief, had allergic reaction to percocet and codiene. Hydromorphone works but gives me an awful headache and "jet lag" symptoms the next day... I have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia... and spinal and foraminal stenosis. I've been taking Lyrica and cymbalta since about 2006 too... Nothing has worked as well as thedarvocet. I hope they come up with an alternative form of it or something very close to it soon!

    • profile image

      kathyover 3 years ago

      I took Darvocet N 100, (I took to generic, Propoxyphene), for several years for osteoarthritis pain without any side effects. It's been the only pain reliever I've found that I can take. Until they took off the market. I'm allergic to Aspirin, Codeine, Demerol, Morphine. It has been hard to find something I could take. Acetaminophen is the only thing I can take and it doesn't help with the pain.

      If anyone has any ideas please comment.

    • profile image

      Eddie 2 years ago

      The I have to agree with post below. It's exactly how I feel....with The crap they've got me taking now at three times the amount of medicine and less then half the benefit....unbelievable!!....took darvocet for over 15 years with no adverse effects and did not have to increase dosage.does anyone know where you can still buy this great medicine?

      thank you

      ( earlier quote)

      tamipie5 3 years ago

      I fall under the category "...I am sorry for the many patients that this will significantly inconvenience. The reality is that some of the options for pain control that will be prescribed will create a hardship and reduced quality of life for some patients. But the majority will be able to find adequate pain control from other products." I am a NON_MAJORITY. My quality of life has been VERY affected and MY health has been jeopardized by some of the alternatives my Dr. and I have been trying. I am to the point that i am a little timid to try anymore for the fear of THEIR side effects and long term downsides. Why can't there be some sort of Legal Release for those of us that were fine (taken davocet for 12 years with no bad effects and HUGE benefits) and are willing to sign it and be allowed to continue with OUR QUALITY of life??? When I went through this same process 13 years ago, Darvocet was #7 of the drugs we tried. I do not tolerate pain meds well and it gave me the relief that I needed without having to take other medications along with alternatives to counter side effects.

    • profile image

      Victoria May 11 months ago

      Test- accept post?

    • profile image

      Victoria 11 months ago

      It's my theory that big pharma recalled Propoxyphene so as to raise it's price by re-marketing it under a new name. The patent was sold to a drug company outside the US (which may or may not be affiliated with the original pharma/manufacturer). Regardless, the quality of my life has dropped significantly since the ban. I've not found anything else that I can tolerate.

    • profile image

      Joann 6 months ago

      I feel like I am in hell due to low back pain... Tylenol does not help!! I have taken Naproxen for years... it has awful side affects and I have stopped taking Naproxen as it no longer helps. Cannot take other narcotics without serious nausea and serious constipation... had a knee replacement and once epidural was removed I almost lost my mind and nothing helped... finally physical therapist recommended heavy does of Advil and Tramadol.... just to help me stop screaming... lol... Darvocet was all that helped and did not make me sick!! And it was no longer available.. I worry as I get older and the Arthritis only gets worse... what I will do... Chronic Pain causes stress and makes me so sad and depressed!

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