If you’re familiar with Darvocet, you know it’s a prescription medication widely administered by physicians to treat moderate-to-severe pain. However, its ability to treat conditions associated with either chronic or acute pain, Darvocet was not as sought out as other opioid medications because it’s notoriously weak. In most cases, the risks outweigh the benefit, leading to some severe issues.
Physicians asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to remove the drug from prescription pads across the country. The reason? Darvocet is a weak opioid that provides little-to-no pain relief. Because of that, many people would abuse the medication and take more than prescribed by their physician, leading to addiction and overdose. Even more, it caused cardiotoxicity.
Finally, by 2010, physicians were granted their request after years of petitioning. The FDA released a safety announcement urging physicians and pain management facilities to stop prescribing Darvocet. It was a victory in the medical community. However, just because a drug is banned from traditional means of being dispensed doesn’t mean there isn’t a black market for those wishing to get it.
Darvocet is no different, and the drug is available on the black market or dark web for use. Darvocet, also known as propoxyphene, treated the same types of pain as another opioid like codeine and was used for restless leg syndrome or some cases of opioid withdrawal.
As an opioid receptor agonist, the drug binds to opioid receptors in our body and activates them, leading to instant pain relief and euphoria. These drugs interact with naturally occurring receptors in our body to regulate pain, but prescription opioids are much more potent than the natural pain-relieving properties our bodies produce.
As such, Darvocet leads to relaxation, sedation, and euphoria in those who use it. Other side effects can include sore throat, drowsiness, constipation, confusion, withdrawal, cardiotoxicity, and overdose.
Despite it being weaker than other prescription opioid drugs available like oxycodone or hydrocodone, continual abuse of Darvocet can lead to chemical dependency, addiction, and significant withdrawal symptoms. Those who experience Darvocet withdrawal after abrupt cessation or reducing the dose likely have developed a substance use disorder (SUD).
Darvocet Withdrawal Symptoms
As you’ll find with any opioid, Darvocet will cause uncomfortable and sometimes severe withdrawal symptoms that are similar to the flu. In many cases, patients in treatment report it being like the worst flu they’ve ever experienced.
From body aches to vomiting and diarrhea, withdrawal is one of the primary reasons individuals report not wanting to stop using opioids. Even if they can’t get the drugs because of money, someone addicted to Darvocet or other drugs will find a way to avoid the sickness. Even for those who manage to get sober for a few days, the cravings are bad enough to cause relapse to silence their thoughts and ease the pain.
As mentioned above, the most significant barrier to sobriety is withdrawals. Despite not causing fatal symptoms, as you’ll find with alcohol or benzodiazepines, it’s bad enough to fail without professional treatment, no matter how good your intentions. The symptoms will increase in intensity should you stop using all at once without a taper—this is not recommended. You should always taper off Darvocet with a medical professional’s guidance.
The most common Darvocet withdrawal symptoms include the following:
- Muscle aches
- Loss of appetite
- Mood changes
- Teary eyes
- Stomach cramps
- Restless leg syndrome
- Powerful cravings
- Dehydration (which can be severe or even fatal without professional help)
- Intense cravings for the drug
Darvocet Withdrawal Timeline
It’s challenging to provide a definitive answer about a timeline. Many factors influence not only the length of Darvocet withdrawal but the severity of symptoms you face. For example, a person who took the lowest possible dose prescribed by their doctor to combat pain and followed all instructions will experience less severe effects than a person who purchased the drug illegally and used it without guidance.
The most common factors that will determine the length and severity of your withdrawals include:
- If you’re using other drugs along with Darvocet
- The size of your standard dose
- Whether you taper or stop abruptly; and
- The size of your last dose
Those using a stronger dose will experience symptoms sooner if they’ve been using it for a long time. Still, experiences can vary from one person to another.
The following is a generalized timeline that can help you prepare for what to expect:
- Two days: Propoxyphene has a half-life of six to 12 hours, but once it enters your system, it breaks down as another psychoactive chemical that has a much longer half-life from 24 to 36 hours. For that reason, a person using or abusing Darvocet may not experience their initial withdrawal symptoms for up to two days after their last dose. However, for some, they may notice them in as little as 24 hours. The first symptoms include irritability, anxiety, and problems with sleep.
- 5 days: Once you make it to five days, you’ll either reach the peak of your withdrawal symptoms or be getting past them. Your symptoms will be the most intense by this stage, and you could experience diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms. At this point, the chance of becoming dehydrated is elevated. It may be challenging, but you must consume fluids. Taking care of yourself while feeling this way might be impossible. Checking into medical detox might be your best option to overcome this stage.
- 10 days: Once the symptoms reach their peak, you’ll notice the physical symptoms begin to subside and become more tolerable. You’ll see that things start becoming easier, and the heaviness in your body will feel much lighter. By 10 days, the acute symptoms will be mostly gone. However, psychological symptoms like depression or anxiety will persist long after the acute withdrawal period ends. In some cases, a person might continue dealing with symptoms for weeks, months, or even years after cessation, known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).
- 30 days and beyond: If you made the choice of getting professional help to overcome your acute symptoms, your chances of relapse would decrease. To avoid future relapse, it’s vital to address these cravings and compulsions to use the drug and put together a relapse prevention plan. Unfortunately, this is something you’ll have trouble with doing alone. If you’ve developed post-acute withdrawal syndrome without a plan, you’ll likely relapse.
Why Should I Detox?
Despite Darvocet withdrawal not leading to deadly withdrawal symptoms like other depressant drugs, it’s extremely unpleasant. Think of the worst flu you’ve ever had and multiply that by 10. What’s worse is that when you get past the withdrawals, you’ll still have to deal with drug cravings for months, weeks, or even years after stopping.
For that reason, having a solid plan in place by a team of medical professionals dedicated to helping you change your life, it’s vital to get professional treatment. As mentioned above, opioid withdrawal can also lead to dehydration, meaning those medical professionals can save your life in the event of an unpredictable outcome.
Opioid withdrawal is notoriously difficult to overcome and avoid using Darvocet. Fortunately, medical detox—which is the highest level of care—offers around-the-clock supervision to medically managed services. It allows those experiencing the most severe symptoms to have a place where professionals can provide medication to alleviate these symptoms and set them up for a drug-free future. Detox is also ideal for those with pressing medical conditions that require 24-hour care.
Darvocet overdose is a possibility when using the drug. Although some people do so by accident, others might look to do it on purpose. When you take Darvocet with other depressants such as alcohol or benzos, the chances of overdosing increase significantly due to depressing your breathing to a point where it stops altogether. You should always consult with your doctor and tell them about the medications you’re using before taking something new. This could save your life.
If you believe someone has overdosed while using Darvocet, you should never hesitate to call 911. The sooner you contact emergency services, the less damage a person may sustain. Darvocet overdose can lead to long-term symptoms or death without immediate care.