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Darvocet, one of several opiate-based drugs, produces pain-relieving effects suitable for treating conditions involving mild to moderate pain symptoms. Someone who’s experienced an injury or lives with a chronic pain condition may benefit from Darvocet’s intended purpose.

As one of the less potent opiate formulations, Darvocet belongs to the Schedule IV class of controlled substances. Drugs in this class carry a lower risk for abuse and addiction than drugs in Schedule I through III classes.

While effective as a prescription pain reliever, certain dangerous side effects of Darvocet have resulted in this drug being pulled from the market. All things considered, Darvocet’s side effect profile does share certain similarities with other opiate class drugs that remain on the market.

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Darvocet Preparations

Darvocet contains two active ingredients: propoxyphene and acetaminophen. Propoxyphene, a prescription-based opiate drug, produces the strongest pain-relieving effect, whereas acetaminophen is a non-opioid agent that works to strengthen propoxyphene’s effects, according to the Food & Drug Administration.

Overall, Darvocet’s opiate-based ingredient produces a weaker effect than hydrocodone and codeine. Dosage-wise, this drug comes in 100 milligram tablets as well as 65 milligram capsules. Darvocet also produces cough suppressant effects.

Brand names for Darvocet include:

  • Darvon
  • Dolene
  • Darvon-N

Street Names

Like most all illicit drugs, street names for Darvocet develop out of the need to camouflage illicit drug sales and drug usage. Teenagers, especially, tend to refer to drugs of abuse by their street names to hide drug activity from parents.

Street names for Darvocet vary depending on the type of pill and may also reference one or more of the ingredients contained in Darvocet. As a general rule, street names tend to change on a frequent basis, which is another aspect of the “camouflage” routine.


Teens use Darvocet street names to hide drug use from their parents.

Darvocet street names include:

  • 65
  • N
  • Footballs
  • Pinks
  • Pink footballs
  • Yellow footballs
  • Dillies
  • D

How Does Darvocet Work?

Like most all prescription opiate drugs, Darvocet effects develop out of its interactions with the body’s own opioid system. This system plays a central role in managing pain sensations, both physical and emotional.

In effect, Darvocet binds to opioid receptor sites that reside throughout the brain and central nervous system. Its binding to receptor sites triggers the release of neurotransmitter chemicals, such as dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

Darvocet’s ability to stimulate the body’s own pain management system accounts for its pain-relieving effects.

Darvocet Side Effects

Any drug capable of altering the brain’s natural chemical balance can also disrupt the body’s major systems in harmful ways. Like other opiate-based drugs, Darvocet side effect profile results from its ongoing interference with the brain’s chemical system.

According to the Pain Physician Journal, commonly experienced side effects from Darvocet include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Weakened immune system response
  • Dizziness
  • Sedation
  • Muscle aches

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Prescription Painkillers: The Slippery Slope of Opiate Addiction

Darvocet Dangers

Heart-Related Risks

As of December 2010, the Food & Drug Administration ordered all products containing propoxyphene (Darvocet’s main ingredient) be pulled from the market due to harmful effects had on the body’s cardiovascular system. Studies conducted prior to this decision showed propoxyphene’s effects disrupted normal heart functioning in dangerous ways.

In effect, the risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms posed considerable danger to users of the drug, even when taking Darvocet as prescribed.

Overdose Risks

Like most all prescription opiate drugs, Darvocet acts as a depressant, slowing down chemical processes throughout the brain and body. Slowed chemical activities inevitably work to slow the bodily systems affected by neurotransmitter activity.

In large enough doses, Darvocet’s effects can actually cause major bodily systems to shut down altogether, which are prime conditions for overdose to occur. More often than not, a shutdown of the body’s respiratory system accounts for the majority of overdose episodes. Under these conditions, the body can no longer breathe on its own.

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, other signs of Darvocet overdose to consider include:

  • Weak pulse
  • Confusion
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Problems breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Comatose-like behavior
  • Drowsiness

Abuse Potential

Rising Tolerance Levels

Darvocet’s abuse potential is a built-in feature of opiate drugs in general. Rising tolerance levels essentially set the stage for a full-blown opiate abuse cycle to take hold.

Rising tolerance levels result from damage to opioid receptor sites. In effect, ongoing Darvocet use overworks cell sites making them less responsive to the drug’s effects. Over time, a person must keep increasing his or her dosage levels in order to experience the desired effects of the drug.

According to the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, the types of rising tolerance levels brought on by Darvocet abuse (and opiate abuse in general) drive prescription drug abusers to switch to stronger, opiate-based drugs, such as fentanyl and heroin.

Withdrawal Effects


Depression is a common Darvocet withdrawal symptom.

It’s doesn’t take very long at all before Darvocet abuse practices cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms to develop. Withdrawal symptoms are not only a sign of physical dependence, but actually fuel the drug abuse cycle as users try to self-medicate uncomfortable symptoms by using more of the drug.

Withdrawal effects typically take the form of:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Problems concentrating
  • Restlessness
  • Depression
  • Anxiousness

Addiction Potential

Whereas physical dependence cripples the brain and body on a physical level, addiction has the same effects on the mind. At this point, users believe they “need” the drug to cope with life pressures.

Once a Darvocet addiction takes hold, users start to engage in compulsive drug-using behaviors. Compulsive drug-use overrides any sense of reason or logic and will continue regardless of any negative consequences that result.

Darvocet Addiction Treatment

In spite of Darvocet’s Schedule IV drug classification, once addiction develops, it’s all but impossible for a person to stop or reduce drug-using behavior. Darvocet addiction treatment addresses both the physical and psychological damage left behind by addiction, while helping a person develop healthy coping skills for managing daily life stressors on a drug-free basis.

If you struggle with an opiate addiction problem and can’t seem to overcome addiction’s effects in your life, we can help. Please don’t hesitate to call our helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addiction counselors about opiate addiction treatment.

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