The Peaceful Pill eHandbook When is Propoxyphene Prescribed?
Propoxyphene (dextropropoxyphene napsylate) is almost al- ways available from a doctor on prescription, where it is used for pain management.
Propoxyphene is usually prescribed
when over-the-counter pain relievers prove inadequate and when other, more common prescription pain-relievers (eg. Panadeine Forte or Tylenol-Codeine - a mixture of paracet- emol and codeine) prove unsatisfactory.
Propoxyphene can be used whenever there is a need for gen- eral pain relief. Before their removal in 2010 in the US (and Canada), propoxyphene and combinations were the 12th most prescribed generic drug (Public Citizen, 2006)
How Lethal is Propoxyphene?
Propoxyphene has a very narrow therapeutic margin. The dif- ference in dose between that providing analgesia and that caus- ing death is small. Like the opioids, the outcome from a par- ticular dose can be difficult to predict, but this drug produces a cardiotoxic metabolite when it breaks down which increases its usefulness as a self deliverance agent.
When another drug, the readily-available, non-lethal sleeping tablet, oxazepam, is added, along with alcohol, the result is certain. Exit has no reported failures from this combination.
As the reputation of propoxyphene has grown, so script sizes have been reduced. The standard packaging number for pro- poxyphene is now 50 capsules. All capsules contain the same 100mg of dextropropoxyphene napsylate.