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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Painkiller pulled: Deadly Heart Rhythms

Health Alert: Propoxyphene the active ingredient in Darvon, a drug recently pulled from shelves in the US  is listed as an approved medication in Health Canada's online database.

Public health officials in  U.S. say Darvon causes potentially deadly heart rhythms.  The maker of the painkiller is pulling the drug off the market under pressure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

Caution, however is advised in stopping any medication. Health Canada advises: Patients taking a dextropropoxyphene who have questions or concerns should speak to their health care professional, . Opioid drugs such as dextropropoxyphene can be habit-forming, and stopping suddenly might cause symptoms of withdrawal.

Darvon and the related brand Darvocet, made by Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals have been subject to safety concerns for decades.

Britain and the European Union,  previously  banned Darvon because of suicides and accidental overdoses.

A recent study shows Darvon interferes with the heart’s electrical activity, causing irregular heart rhythms that can be fatal. It is this study, which prompted FDA officials to take action.

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