This is not a question, it is a declaration. While doing research in the medical library of one of our prestigious teaching hospitals, I came across a newsletter entitled, “Worst Pills, Best Pills” (January 2008). The article pointed out that Britain had banned Darvocet in 2008. But, it was a phased out ban, as Darvocet has addictive qualities, and patients should not abruptly stop taking it because they may develop withdrawal symptoms. It should also be done under medical supervision. The complete ban became effective in January 2008. Darvocet is a combination of Darvon (propoxyphene), and acetaminophen, best known as Tylenol. The culprit here is Darvon, not acetaminophen. When Darvon was first brought on the market in 1957 as a new pain reliever, it was advertised as not being addictive. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) went along with this false advertising even though the drug chemically resembled certain narcotic painkillers. By the 1970s, Darvon was finally recognized as having addiction risks similar to codeine and arbitrates, and more than 1,000 people died from overdoses. Isn’t the FDA supposed to protect us from this? The newsletter further noted that the British health authorities said the drug was banned because each year there were 300 to 400 fatalities following deliberate or accidental overdoses involving propoxyphene and acetaminophen, in England and Wales alone. The British health authorities said the drug’s effectiveness was poorly established and the risk of toxicity in overdose, both accidental and deliberate, was unacceptable. Also, Darvocet is no more effective than taking two aspirins. The newsletter adds that the death numbers are even higher. There has been 2,500 accidental deaths reported in association with propoxyphene in the U.S. since 1981. Note this figure is for accidental death only, not total deaths. In addition, studies have shown that Darvon, when broken down in the body, is converted into a compound that is toxic to the heart. The drug also has a low margin of safety, meaning that the recommended dose is very close to a slightly higher dangerous dose. Thus, a patient who takes the recommended dose and doesn’t get the pain relief he or she expects, may take an extra dose and then get toxic effects. This drug is extremely risky and shouldn’t even be on the market. Besides, it cost 10 times more than ordinary aspirin. When Darvon was introduced in 1957, it was considered a breakthrough for pain relief, but since then, many other pain relievers such as Motrin, Aleve, etc., have been found to be more effective and much safer than Darvon. So, the drug makes less sense today than it did before. I know it takes millions of dollars and years of research and testing to bring a new drug to market, so the drug manufacturers are a necessary evil; otherwise, health improvement would stagnate. But, the drug companies are not satisfied with making millions in profits, but insist on making billions, even if it means putting the public at risk. Don’t rely on the FDA to protect you unless you’re a pharmaceutical company. Patient, beware! The medicines you are taking may be injurious to your health.
“For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26).
“Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man” (Psalms 60:11).