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FDA Recommends Ban of Painkiller after Fifty Years

Friday, February 13, 2009 by: Elizabeth Walling
Tags: painkillers, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) At the end of January the FDA held a public hearing to reconsider the safety of Darvon, a painkiller that has been on the market since 1957. The panel voted 14 to 12 in favor of withdrawing the drug from the market, following in the footsteps of the United Kingdom which banned the drug in 2005 after concluding the benefits of Darvon did not outweigh the serious risks.

For more than 50 years, Darvon has been a popular choice for physicians prescribing pain medication, particularly for arthritis patients. More than 20 million prescriptions for Darvocet were written in 2007, making it one of the top 25 painkillers prescribed today. So, after so many years of use, why is the FDA questioning Darvon? Well, truth be told, this drug has been in question for years. Urges to ban Darvon have been heard as early as the 1960s, just a few years after the drug was first approved.

At the time Darvon was introduced, the only options for treating pain were either aspirin or potent narcotics. Of course, today there are quite a few other alternative painkillers. Although new painkillers do carry risks, they are also far more effective at relieving pain when compared to Darvon, which research has shown to provide minimal pain management.

The most common form of Darvon we see today is Davorcet, a combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen. The acetaminophen seems to be the strongest component. Today there is a wealth of other drugs with acetaminophen as a primary ingredient, making Darvocet somewhat obsolete.

Safety panels are concerned the weakness of the drug might induce drug dependence and overdose. In fact, the FDA safety panel found more than 3,000 cases connecting serious issues such as addiction, overdose and suicide to Darvon. In recent years, more than 20 percent of deaths linked to Darvon have been suicides.

Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen's health research group said it all when he told the FDA panel, "All drugs have risks. If they don't have benefits they need to come off the market."

The FDA's decision raises questions about other painkillers presumed to be safe and frequently prescribed to patients by doctors. Will some of these too be blamed for such serious problems and banned in a few decades? The public's experience with Darvon proves one fact: just because a drug is currently marketed as harmless doesn't mean it really is.



About the author

Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:

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