Unintentional Propoxyphene Dependence

Unintentional Propoxyphene Dependence

Propoxyphene is a relatively weak opioid pain reliever of roughly the equivalent potency of codeine. Despite its relatively weak strength, propoxyphene can still be addictive and can produce physical dependence like any other opioid.

Propoxyphene was marketed under the brand names Darvon and Darvocet, the latter being a combination of propoxyphene and the analgesic acetaminophen. Due to evidence that the drug could cause serious or even fatal cardiac arrhythmias, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned all sales of Darvon and Darvocet as of November 19, 2010. However, generic versions of propoxyphene are still available over the internet and in some foreign countries, and some people who are addicted have gone so far as to travel to Mexico to obtain the drug.

How Does Unintentional Propoxyphene Dependence Occur?

Physical dependence is not the same as addiction. Dependence is a physical condition in which the body becomes used to having a substance in its system and will experience withdrawal symptoms if the substance is absent. Addiction is a psychological condition in which the user seeks relief, an escape or a high from drug use.

Dependence can occur through legitimate medical use of a drug, as well as through illicit abuse of the drug. Since the most common brands of the drug, Darvon and Darvocet, are no longer legally for sale in the United States, unintentional dependence resulting from legitimate medical use of propoxyphene is unlikely.

Illicit abuse of opioids often leads to addiction, wherein the person comes to rely psychologically on the drug to escape from pressure, relieve emotional pain or provide entertainment and excitement by getting high. Addicts become gradually more and more preoccupied with drug use, to the point that it consumes all of their thoughts and energy.

Addiction, in turn, often leads to physical dependence. Dependence on opioids can occur relatively slowly and may take several months of regular use to develop. One of the earliest and most common signs of dependence is experiencing cravings for the drug. However, psychological addiction also involves cravings, so an addict is likely not to notice the point at which he or she has developed a true physical dependence. Once dependence has occurred, the person will experience severe flu-like symptoms if he or she attempts to stop using propoxyphene.

How to Overcome Propoxyphene Dependence Safely and Effectively

Withdrawal symptoms of opioids have been compared to the worst case of the flu imaginable. These symptoms combined with intense cravings for the drug make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most people to quit using on their own without professional help. Addicts know that if they use the drug, the withdrawal symptoms will subside. When the symptoms become unbearable, most people will resort to drug use just to end the misery. This is why it is so difficult to overcome opioid addiction on your own.

Although it is extremely uncomfortable, detoxing from opioids is not usually dangerous. However, medical complications can arise, and people who are in a compromised state of overall health or who have co-morbid health conditions are at increased risk for suffering withdrawal-related medical complications. Detoxing under professional supervision is the best way to ensure your safety and increase your chances of success.

Treatment for Propoxyphene Dependence

If you would like help finding treatment for propoxyphene dependence or you have any questions about propoxyphene dependence and treatment, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline today.