Get help today 888-287-0471 or sign up for 24/7 text support.
American Addiction Centers National Rehabs Directory


Darvon is an opioid. The drug contains propoxyphene hydrochloride and goes by the names propoxyphene and Darvocet. Darvon is prescribed primarily as a painkiller. It can be habit-forming in some individuals.

Darvon was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1957. It was widely used to treat pain after surgery. In 1978, consumer advocate groups started petitioning the FDA to ban the drug in the United States. Those concerned cited the drugs possible addictive qualities and the dangers of both propoxyphene and acetaminophen, which are components of Darvon. Further studies linked the drug to abnormalities in the heart and cardiac arrhythmia. Over 2,000 accidental deaths were associated with the medication. As a result, Darvon and Darvocet were banned in the United Kingdom in 2005. The drug was recalled in the United States by the FDA in 2010. It is no longer available by prescription.

Darvon is primarily a pain reliever, and it is prescribed for this use. Patients with arthritis and other chronic conditions take the medication every four to six hours. Others take Darvon as needed. The drug has been prescribed to treat migraines, chronic muscle aches and for those recovering from dental procedures.

Darvon has been identified as a habit-forming drug in some individuals. The drug has been prescribed to alleviate pain, but it is not effective in all individuals. Patients may take additional doses of the medication when their pain continues. This may result in an addiction to the medication. Those who are unable to stop taking the medication should locate a Darvon addiction treatment center.


Nearly 10 million prescriptions for Darvon and related propoxyphene medications were written in 2010.

Potential Side Effects & Dangers

Less serious side effects include:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting

More serious side effects include:

  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Sudden changes in mood
  • Shallow breathing
  • Difficulty waking
  • Heart abnormalities
  • Thoughts of suicide

Darvon can be harmful when used regularly or abused. The acetaminophen in the drug can cause damage to the kidneys and liver. Combining Darvon with other drugs or alcohol can cause severe drowsiness and loss of consciousness. In addition, the drug may cause birth defects. It is important for pregnant women to consult their physician before taking this medication. Darvon can be passed from mothers to nursing infants. Users of this medication who plan to breastfeed should consult their doctor.


When a person has become dependent upon a medication, certain signs of addiction may be detected.

  • A feeling that the drug must be taken every day
  • Taking more than the recommended dose
  • Inability to stop taking the drug
  • Needing to maintain a steady supply of the medication
  • Disregard for personal safety while on the drug

Did You Know?

According to the Treatment Episode Data Set 2, 1.8 million people were admitted to substance abuse treatment facilities in 2008. Of those, 20 percent were treated for addiction to opiates such as codeine, hydrocodone and propoxyphene.


“If dependence on this drug is suspected, the patient will be admitted for Darvon detox.”If dependence on this drug is suspected, the patient will be admitted for Darvon detox. This is a gradual process where the medication is slowly flushed from the individual’s system. The process can take days or weeks depending on the severity of the addiction. Medications are often given to aid in the detox process.

Once the patient’s system is free of the drug, Darvon rehab can begin. Rehab programs vary in their approach. Typical programs include inpatient, outpatient and residential treatment options. Usually, inpatient treatment is recommended for the first 30 to 90 days. During this time, the patient will attend daily therapy sessions. These may include a single counselor or a group. The goal is to teach the recovering individual new ways of coping with their issues. Traditional Darvon addiction treatment facilities will use a combination of psychotherapy, 12-step programs, support groups and family involvement to treat the ailing individual.

Alternative Rehab Options

Alternative treatments for Darvon addiction include:

  • Music therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Wilderness therapy
  • Yoga
  • Holistic treatments
  • Aromatherapy
  • Equine therapy
  • Survival training
  • Drama therapy

Darvon rehab can be customized to each individual’s needs. It is possible to find an effective treatment for almost any recovering individual.


Aftercare is the continued therapy of a patient after successful completion of Darvon addiction treatment. Aftercare can last for weeks, months or years, depending on the needs of the individual. Aftercare programs are generally outpatient and can include the individual’s friends and family. Additional care after treatment can be effective in the continued success of the recovering individual. Aftercare programs help prevent relapse and provide a support system for the patient.

Was this page helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.

American Addiction Centers (AAC) is committed to delivering original, truthful, accurate, unbiased, and medically current information. We strive to create content that is clear, concise, and easy to understand.

Read our full editorial policy

While we are unable to respond to your feedback directly, we'll use this information to improve our online help.