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If 10gm of dextropropoxyphene napsylate powder is obtained from 100 capsules and taken with 10 or more moderately, long-acting sleeping tablets like oxazepam, death will follow.
Propoxyphene is usually prescribed at the rate of 4-6 capsules per day (400 - 600 mg) to deal with pain. Ten grams of the drug would provide around 2 to 3 weeks of pain control.
The Role of Oxazepam
Oxazepam (Serepax) is a moderately long-acting, non-lethal sleeping tablet. Another moderately long-acting sleeping tab- let often used in combination with propoxyphene is nitrazepam (Mogadon). These modern sleeping tablets are members of a drug class known as benzodiazepines and when taken by them- selves are not usually lethal, even if taken in large amounts. When taken in combination with propoxyphene, oxazepam or nitrazepam reinforce the effect of a propoxyphene and a lethal combination is the result.
Note: Duration of action of the benzodiazepine is important - shorter acting drugs like temazepam are not recommended.
Fig 11.2: The common sleeping tablet - oxazepam (Serapax)