The People's Perspective on Medicine

Propoxyphene napsylate and acetaminophen

Overview

Darvocet-N 100 is a popular pain reliever containing propoxyphene and acetaminophen.

Propoxyphene, a mild synthetic analgesic, is almost as effective as codeine. In combination with acetaminophen, it offers relief for mild to moderate pain, such as that caused by a bad toothache or the aftermath of minor surgery.

Side Effects and Interactions

Other side effects to be aware of include headache, euphoria, abdominal pain, sweating and constipation.

Some people experience shortness of breath, especially if they have asthma.

Other less common reactions include skin rash, disorientation, dry mouth, visual problems and urinary difficulties. Report any such symptoms to your physician promptly.

Long-term use of Darvocet-N 100 has drawbacks. Like any narcotic, it may be habit forming if you take it regularly.

Do not increase the dose on your own in a quest to achieve greater pain relief. But don’t play the hero by skipping doses during an acute crisis.

Pain is more easily managed if it can be nipped in the bud instead of trying to play catch up when it has gotten out of control.

Acetaminophen and propoxyphene may both cause liver problems in large doses or over long periods, so liver function should be monitored.

As kidney damage is also a potential risk, your physician should evaluate your need for this combination pain reliever periodically.

If you are taking any other medicines, check with a physician or pharmacist.

Alcohol as well as certain over-the-counter and prescription drugs can add to the sedative effect of this
analgesic.

Antihistamines, antianxiety agents, antidepressants and sleeping pills can all cause drowsiness and might make this effect worse.

An anticonvulsant like Dilantin (phenytoin) could increase the risk of liver trouble for patients on Darvocet-N 100.

Special Precautions

Like any narcotic, propoxyphene may make you drowsy. Do not drive or attempt any activity that requires coordination and judgment.

Older people may be more susceptible to this reaction.

Lightheadedness or dizziness could make walking dangerous. Standing up suddenly could make you feel faint.

Taking the Medicine

Some people react to Darvocet-N 100 with nausea or vomiting. Taking it with food may reduce stomach upset.

Nausea, dizziness and other common reactions may be less troublesome if you lie down for awhile.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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The liver problems occur mostly from the acetaminophen (over the counter), you should never take more than 4000mg of acetaminophen a day. If you took a Darvocet N 100 every 4-6 hours you should be ok.

I had a severe car accident in 2004 that caused some nerve damage and disc problems in my back. The doctors wanted to put me on some really strong narcotics and I wouldn’t have it. I did agree to be put on Darvocet N 100, and I have been taking that ever since for back pain. Now I am concerned about my liver. Are my worries justified?

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^