Pharmaceutical

Heart problems linked to popular prescription painkiller

People who have experienced heart problems over the past several years may not be aware that their condition may have been caused by a common prescription painkiller. Propoxyphene, commonly known by the brand names Darvocet and Darvon, was banned in the United States late last year because a new study linked use of the drug to abnormal heart rhythms. The condition can require hospitalizations, and cause heart attacks and death.

The drug was approved in the United States more than 50 years ago to treat mild to moderate pain and had become one of the most prescribed painkillers in the country. However, for years it has been the source of controversy. Citizens groups have petitioned the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to pull the drug because of concerns the drug caused unintentional overdoses and suicides. The FDA opted to put black box warnings on the label but kept it on the market, even as other countries began banning propoxyphene-containing medications. It wasn’t until new data linked propoxyphene to deadly heart rhythm abnormalities that the FDA decided it was time to do away with the drug.

Propoxyphene has been blamed on thousands of deaths in America and countless cardiac problems. Many people may not be aware that their heart problems – or the death of a loved one – may be caused by the drug. Attorneys are currently investigating cases in which people were harmed by the drug and expect Darvocet/Darvon lawsuits to grow as big, if not bigger, than the Vioxx lawsuits, which resulted in the largest pharmaceutical settlement in history.