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Propoxyphene napsylate is a drug that is used to treat mild-to-moderate pain. Common side effects of this prescription medication include drowsiness, dizziness, and nausea. Because it is not considered a "strong" pain reliever, and because it is particularly dangerous in case of an overdose, this may not be a healthcare provider's first choice in many situations.

What Is Propoxyphene Napsylate?

In November 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew all medications that contain propoxyphene from the market. It has been determined that the risks of propoxyphene outweigh the possible benefits. In particular, the FDA was concerned about the drug's ability to cause serious changes in the heart rhythm, even at normal doses. Pharmacies will no longer sell this medication, and people who take it should stop and ask their healthcare provider for a more suitable pain medication.
Propoxyphene napsylate (Darvon-N®) is a prescription medication approved to treat mild-to-moderate pain.
There are two forms of propoxyphene: propoxyphene napsylate (Darvon-N) and propoxyphene hydrochloride (Darvon®). Propoxyphene napsylate is less soluble in water compared to the hydrochloride form, perhaps making it less prone to abuse by injection.
(Click What Is Propoxyphene Napsylate Used For? for more information on this topic, including possible off-label uses.)

Are There Side Effects?

Just like any medicine, propoxyphene napsylate may cause side effects. However, not everyone who uses the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it quite well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or are treated easily by you or your healthcare provider. Serious reactions are less common.
Common side effects seen with propoxyphene napsylate include but are not limited to:
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting.
(Click Side Effects of Propoxyphene Napsylate to learn more, including potentially serious side effects you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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