Understanding Darvocet And Darvon

Once sold as mild to moderate pain relievers, Darvon and Darvocet are Narcotic drugs made with Propoxyphene and (in Darvocet’s case) Acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Call to get help for a Darvon or Darvocet addiction today.

Due to a multitude of deaths attributed to the two drugs, the Food And Drug Administration banned Propoxyphene-based products from further prescription in 2010.

The FDA recognizes numerous alarming side effects in users of Propoxyphene products, including abnormal heart rhythms and seizures.

Darvon, Darvocet, and Synthetic Opioids like them may still remain in circulation. Darvon and Darvocet are controlled-release pills which begin dissolving into the bloodstream once taken by mouth. Slang terms for Darvon/Darvocet include Pinks, Footballs, 65s and Ns.

Darvon/Darvocet Abuse And Effects

Darvon and Darvocet carry a high risk for abuse and addiction. The pills are often crushed into a powder and snorted, nullifying the drugs’ time-release features and flooding the brain with the Narcotic substances. The user experiences a brisk, euphoric “rush” and then a sedated sensation lasting upward of 4 to 6 hours. Physical and psychological symptoms of Darvon/Darvocet abuse might include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Skin rash and jaundice
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • Excessive sleep
  • Frenzied behavior
  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Calm and relaxed feelings
  • Euphoria
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lack of stability
  • Dry mouth

Even when consumed as intended, Darvon and Darvocet can be dangerous and addictive.

Darvon and Darvocet can enhance pre-existing feelings of depression and suicidal ideation. Darvon and Darvocet are Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants, and when combined with other drugs, especially alcohol and other CNS Depressants, there is a high likelihood of respiratory failure, seizures, coma, or even death.

Signs Of A Darvon Or Darvocet Addiction

Since Darvon and Darvocet are no longer prescribed by doctors, continued use of these substances is a primary indicator something may be amiss. Another initial sign of Darvon/Darvocet addiction is developing a tolerance, or numbness to the drugs’ intoxicating effects. Those suffering from Darvon/Darvocet addiction will require more of the drugs to achieve the previous sensations. Eventually, the brain craves the drug to even feel “normal.”

Addiction to Opiates, marked by physical and psychological dependence, can develop quickly. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) outlines the criteria for an addiction to any substance.

Symptoms of Darvon or Darvocet addiction include:

  • Exhibiting a strong craving for the drugs.
  • Consulting multiple doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions.
  • Displaying an obsession with Darvocet brands or color when buying a prescription.
  • Faking severe pain and lying to physicians to request more Darvocet.
  • Taking Darvocet through unusual means such as inhaling, which is not recommended by physicians.
  • Making false reports of lost or stolen prescriptions.
  • Exhibiting signs of jaundice (yellowing of skin and eyes), a condition caused by liver damage due to the Acetaminophen content of Darvocet.
  • Stealing or begging for prescriptions from other patients.
  • Engaging in hazardous behaviors, such as stealing or pawning stolen items to obtain more of the drug.
  • Relationship issues, including isolation from family and friends.
  • Becoming unable or unwilling to care for daily responsibilities, including paying bills, cooking dinner, or fulfilling duties at work, home, or school.
  • Sudden, even drastic, mood changes.
  • Over-sleeping.

Darvon And Darvocet Addiction Treatment

Breaking an addiction to Darvon, Darvocet, or other Propoxyphene-based drugs can be a difficult process, but recovery is possible with the proper resources and support. Treatment centers for these substances can provide both inpatient and outpatient options for coping with withdrawals and the psychological impacts of quitting.

Darvon and Darvocet treatment options typically start with medically assisted detoxification. This allows medical supervision of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms from quitting Darvon or Darvocet include:

  • Intense urges or cravings to use
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Physical aches and pains
  • Restlessness
  • Abnormal skin sensations, such as “crawling” skin
  • Paranoia
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Poor concentration
  • Stomach aches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Mild tremors
  • Drug dreams
  • Muscle spasms or aches
  • Depression
  • Decreased appetite
  • Racing thoughts
  • Mood swings

Medically supervised, inpatient detox is crucial due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Programs like group therapy and counseling can also help the addict during detox, as well as prepare them for the next phase of treatment — usually inpatient or residential treatment.

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Darvon And Darvocet Abuse Statistics


million users

There were approximately 20 million Darvon users before the drug was banned.


hospital visits

There were approximately 16,000 hospitalizations involving Darvocet in 2008.


overdose deaths

Since 1981, an estimated 10,000 people have succumbed to overdose-related deaths while taking Darvocet.

Top 10

drugs of abuse

Prior to the FDA ban, the DEA listed Darvon as one of the top ten most abused drugs in the US.

Quitting Propoxyphene-based substances can be extremely uncomfortable and trigger a relapse. Depending on your situation and needs, you may want to complete a residential program or seek out support groups and individual counseling. The determination of what type of treatment suits each patient should only be made by a substance abuse staff member after a comprehensive evaluation.

Put Yourself On The Road To Recovery

Recovering from a Darvon or Darvocet addiction might seem daunting; but with the proper encouragement and resources, you can take back control. Finding a support group such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) can help you maintain focus and avoid relapse. It’s also important to follow aftercare plans from a treatment center and to work with an individual therapist upon completion of all levels of treatment care. Recovery is more than just getting clean and sober. It is a lifestyle change. Contact a treatment provider to discuss treatment options.

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Addiction Center

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  • Since 2014, Addiction Center has been an informational web guide for those who are struggling with substance use disorders and co-occurring behavioral and mental health disorders. All content included on Addiction Center is created by our team of researchers and journalists. Our articles are fact-based and sourced from relevant publications, government agencies and medical journals.

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Theresa Parisi, CAP

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  • Theresa Parisi is a Certified Addiction Professional (CAP), Certified Behavioral Health Case Manager (CBHCM), and International Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC) with over 12 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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