Drugs Home > What Is Propoxyphene Hydrochloride Used For?

Propoxyphene hydrochloride is approved for treating mild to moderate pain in adults. This prescription medication can be used for treating short-term pain (such as after a surgery) or for long-term pain control. Because of its dangerous overdose potential, this drug is not often a "first choice" pain medicine. There are currently no off-label uses of propoxyphene hydrochloride.

An Introduction to Propoxyphene Hydrochloride Uses

In November 2010, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) withdrew all medications that contain propoxyphene from the market. It has been determined that the risks of propoxyphene outweigh the possible benefits. In particular, the FDA was concerned about the drug's ability to cause serious changes in the heart rhythm, even at normal doses. Pharmacies will no longer sell this medication, and people who take it should stop and ask their healthcare provider for a more suitable pain medication.


Propoxyphene hydrochloride (Darvon®) is a prescription medication used to treat mild-to-moderate pain.
Propoxyphene hydrochloride can be used for both short-term pain (such as after a surgery or dental procedure) or for long-term pain control. Because it is considered a fairly weak narcotic (and because it is especially dangerous in the case of an overdose), propoxyphene hydrochloride is rarely the first choice of most healthcare providers.
However, propoxyphene hydrochloride can be useful in certain individuals, such as for people who cannot take acetaminophen (as many narcotics come in combination with acetaminophen) or for those who have been taking the drug for quite a while (and have responded well to it).

How Does It Work?

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.
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Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
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