Darvocet has been the confirmed cause of over 2,000 accidental deaths since 1981. The cause of the accidental deaths in these cases ranges from heart attack and drug interaction to simple unintentional overdose within hours (and sometimes minutes) of taking the painkiller. More than 8,000 additional Darvocet deaths have been reported within the same time frame. For the many who have perished, whether or not their death was accidental will remain a mystery.
Darvocet is a mild painkiller considered by many in the medical industry to be ineffective at treating pain. As such, many people take more than their prescribed dose in order to get the pain relief they seek. In doing so, they may unintentionally overdose, and in too many cases –die as a result. Others become addicted to Darvocet after building up a resistance and then dependency on the drug. This unfortunate pattern can also lead to the death of the user. Other accidental Darvocet deaths occur when the individual has an adverse interaction with another medication or with too much alcohol. And then there are the thousands of reports of massive heart attacks, arrhythmia, and other heart abnormalities that are found to take the lives of otherwise healthy people after they begin taking the darvocet.
Several studies have been conducted to track the number of accidental deaths relative to the number of suicides for those who have died while taking Darvocet or other propoxyphene painkillers. In 2009, Dr. Sidney Wolfe of Public Citizen presented the advisory board of the Food and Drug Administration with evidence from the government’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), a public health surveillance system that monitors drug-related emergency room visits and deaths. The organization reported an increase of nearly 60 Darvocet-related deaths from 2006 to 2007, reaching 949 deaths for both years combined. Only 20 percent of those deaths were considered suicides; the rest of the Darvocet deaths were labeled accidental.
Another toxicology study conducted in Florida revealed the presence of Darvocet or Darvon in the bodies of 341 individuals who died of drug-related causes. Of those cases, 25% of the deaths were in fact caused by Darvocet or Darvon. This study was so persuasive it formed the basis of the European ban of the drugs implemented in 2009. The results did not make a distinction between accidental and intentional deaths.