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Acetaminophen/ propoxyphene

Generic Name: acetaminophen/propoxyphene (a-SEET-a-MIN-oh-fen/proe-POX-i-feen)
Brand Name: Examples include Darvocet-N 100 and Trycet

Do not take more of acetaminophen/propoxyphene than your doctor prescribed. Doing so may cause serious and sometimes fatal side effects. Tell your doctor if you take any medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers). Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol regularly or in large amounts. Talk to your doctor before you drink alcohol while you are using acetaminophen/propoxyphene.

Tell your doctor if you have a history of:

  • suicidal thoughts or attempts
  • mental or mood problems
  • alcohol or substance abuse

Tell your doctor if you easily become addicted to alcohol or other substances.


Acetaminophen/ propoxyphene is used for:

Treating mild to moderate pain.

Acetaminophen/propoxyphene is a combination analgesic. It works in the brain to decrease pain.

Do NOT use acetaminophen/ propoxyphene if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in acetaminophen/propoxyphene
  • you have severe diarrhea or other bowel problems caused by antibiotics or food poisoning
  • you are taking sodium oxybate (GHB)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: 2014 Update: First Time Brand-to-Generic Switches

Before using acetaminophen/ propoxyphene:

Some medical conditions may interact with acetaminophen/propoxyphene. Tell your health care provider if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of hepatitis, other liver problems, kidney problems, lung or breathing problems (eg, asthma), thyroid problems, heart problems, urinary problems (eg, narrowing of the urinary tract), prostate problems, or the blood disease porphyria
  • if you have a history of depression, other mental or mood problems, head injury, growths in your brain, increased pressure in your brain, seizures, or suicidal thoughts or actions
  • if you have stomach or bowel problems (eg, inflammation) or have had surgery of the stomach or bowel
  • if you drink alcohol regularly or drink more than 3 alcoholic drinks per day
  • if you have a history of dependence on alcohol or any other substance

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with acetaminophen/propoxyphene. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Anticoagulants (eg, warfarin) because the risk of bleeding may be increased
  • Cimetidine, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), or isoniazid because they may increase the risk of acetaminophen/propoxyphene's side effects
  • Naltrexone because it may decrease acetaminophen/propoxyphene's effectiveness and may cause withdrawal symptoms
  • Anticonvulsants (eg, carbamazepine), antidepressants (eg, amitriptyline, fluoxetine), barbiturate anesthetics (eg, thiopental), or sodium oxybate (GHB) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by acetaminophen/propoxyphene
  • Medicines that may harm the liver (eg, methotrexate, ketoconazole) because the risk of liver side effects may be increased. Ask your doctor if you are unsure if any of your medicines might harm the liver.

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if acetaminophen/propoxyphene may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use acetaminophen/ propoxyphene:

Use acetaminophen/propoxyphene as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • An extra patient leaflet may be available with acetaminophen/propoxyphene. Talk to your pharmacist if you have questions about this information.
  • Take acetaminophen/propoxyphene by mouth with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • If you miss a dose of acetaminophen/propoxyphene and you are taking it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use acetaminophen/propoxyphene.

Important safety information:

  • Acetaminophen/propoxyphene may cause drowsiness, dizziness, or minor vision changes. These effects may be worse if you take it with alcohol or certain medicines. Use acetaminophen/propoxyphene with caution. Do not drive or perform other possibly unsafe tasks until you know how you react to it.
  • If dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, or vomiting occur while you are taking acetaminophen/propoxyphene, it may help to lie down.
  • Drinking alcohol while you use acetaminophen/propoxyphene may cause serious side effects. Talk to your doctor before drinking alcohol while you use acetaminophen/propoxyphene. Limit your intake of alcohol while you are using acetaminophen/propoxyphene.
  • Talk to your doctor before you take any other medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, antihistamines, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you use acetaminophen/propoxyphene; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take acetaminophen/propoxyphene before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Acetaminophen/propoxyphene may be habit-forming. Do NOT take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Acetaminophen/propoxyphene has acetaminophen in it. Before you start any new medicine, check the label to see if it has acetaminophen in it too. If it does or if you are not sure, check with your doctor or pharmacist.
  • Use acetaminophen/propoxyphene with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Acetaminophen/propoxyphene should not be used in CHILDREN younger than 12 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Acetaminophen/propoxyphene may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, contact your doctor. You will need to discuss the benefits and risks of using acetaminophen/propoxyphene while you are pregnant. Acetaminophen/propoxyphene is found in breast milk. If you are or will be breast-feeding while you use acetaminophen/propoxyphene, check with your doctor. Discuss any possible risks to your baby.

When used for long periods of time or at high doses, acetaminophen/propoxyphene may not work as well and may require higher doses to obtain the same effect as when originally taken. This is known as TOLERANCE. Talk with your doctor if acetaminophen/propoxyphene stops working well. Do not take more than prescribed.

Some people who use acetaminophen/propoxyphene for a long time may develop a need to continue taking it. People who take high doses are also at risk. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction. If you suddenly stop taking acetaminophen/propoxyphene, you may experience WITHDRAWAL symptoms including anxiety; diarrhea; fever, runny nose, or sneezing; goose bumps and abnormal skin sensations; nausea; vomiting; pain; rigid muscles; rapid heartbeat; seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there; shivering or tremors; sweating; and trouble sleeping.

Possible side effects of acetaminophen/ propoxyphene:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Constipation; dizziness; drowsiness; headache; lightheadedness; nausea; stomach pain; vomiting.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); change in amount of urine produced; dark urine; hallucinations; mental or mood changes; severe drowsiness or dizziness; severe or persistent stomach pain; severe or persistent vision changes; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include anxiety; blue, cold, or clammy skin; confusion; dark urine; decreased urination; dilated or pinpoint pupils; excessive sweating; irregular heartbeat; loss of appetite; loss of consciousness; muscle pain; seizures; severe drowsiness or dizziness; severe or persistent nausea, vomiting, or stomach pain; severe or persistent weakness; trouble breathing; yellowing of the skin or eyes.

Proper storage of acetaminophen/propoxyphene:

Store acetaminophen/propoxyphene at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C), in a tightly closed container. Store away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep acetaminophen/propoxyphene out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about acetaminophen/propoxyphene, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Acetaminophen/propoxyphene is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take acetaminophen/propoxyphene or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about acetaminophen/propoxyphene. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to acetaminophen/propoxyphene. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using acetaminophen/propoxyphene.

Issue Date: July 2, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.001
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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