Prescription Painkillers Pulled from the U.S. Market

We hear a lot about the dangers of painkillers, but those dangers are often related to issues of addiction and overdose. It is rare that we see a prescription painkiller taken off the market because of serious health concerns unrelated to overdose.

But that is what is currently happening with the painkillers Darvon and Darvocet. These drugs, made by Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals Inc., have been shown to cause dangerous changes in the heart. Although Great Britain banned the drugs in 2005, the American Food and Drug Administration only recently did so. The FDA is still working to ban the generic of these drugs, which is called propoxyphene.

In the 1950s, the FDA approved the use of Darvon and Darvocet. In 1976, the drug was added to the list of controlled medications. Even as recently as 1978, consumer advocacy groups have asked the FDA to take a closer look at this medication. Then in 2006, the Public Citizen’s Health Research Group again asked the FDA to acknowledge the potential dangers of drugs containing propoxyphene.

In July 2009, the FDA finally required new labeling of Darvon and Darvocet. But the new labels only warned of the dangers of overdose. They said nothing about the potential for cardiac problems. They did, however, task Xanodyne with the job of studying the cardiac impact of propoxyphene.

In only 11 days with health volunteers, researchers concluded that the drug did cause cardiac changes, even at low dosages. After the study, Xanodyne agreed to pull the dangerous drugs from the market. The FDA is now asking the makers of the generic propoxyphene to do the same.

As evidence mounts that chromium-6 is a toxic chemical that can lead to cancer, many groups are calling for the EPA to set a limit on the amount of chromium-6 allowed in tap water. That limit would also require water regulators to monitor the levels of chromium-6 so that residents can make informed decisions about their drinking water.

Unfortunately for the family of the health volunteers, this was more than simply a headache and lost time. It will be a holiday weekend they will never forget. A Maspeth injury attorney can assist with any claim no matter how unique it may be.

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