Some painkillers may do more harm than good. Public Citizen, a consumer advocacy group, is pushing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban a prescription painkiller chemically known as propoxyphene, citing the dangerous risks it poses to consumers.
According to Public Citizen, propoxyphene is not only a weak painkiller – studies have shown that ibuprofen is more effective – but may also have led to the deaths of 2,000 people since 1981. The group says that propoxyphene is addictive and can lead to cardiac problems like slowed heartbeat. In addition, the drug poses dangerous side effects to elderly consumers, including sedation and confusion, making the risk of falls and fractures more likely.
Propoxyphene, also sold under such names as Darvon and Darvocet, is one of the most widely prescribed generic drugs in the United States. Twenty-two million prescriptions of the drug were filled last year.