ALTERNATIVES TO DARVOCET
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.
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.