Propoxyphene hydrochloride is classified as a centrally acting narcotic pain reliever. "Centrally acting" means that it works in the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), rather than directly at the site of the pain. It is not considered as "strong" as most other narcotic pain relievers and is particularly dangerous in the case of overdoses. As a result, propoxyphene hydrochloride is not usually a "first choice" for pain medication in most situations.
Propoxyphene hydrochloride has some potential for both psychological and physical dependence and abuse. In fact, it is classified as a controlled substance, meaning that there are special rules and regulations for prescribing and obtaining the medication. Because propoxyphene hydrochloride can be a desirable drug of abuse, people may buy propoxyphene hydrochloride through illegal means, such as from foreign countries or online sources that do not require a prescription.
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National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed June 7, 2010.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Propoxyphene: Withdrawal -- Risk of Cardiac Toxicity (11/19/2010). FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch/SafetyInformation/SafetyAlertsforHumanMedicalProducts/ucm234389.htm. November 19, 2010.
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