Drug Overview

Important information regarding PROPOXYPHENE drug use

German scientists synthesized methadone during World War II because of a shortage of morphine. Although chemically unlike morphine or heroin, methadone produces many of the same effects. Introduced into the United States in 1947 as an anlgesic (Dolophine), it is primarily used today for the treatment of narcotic addiction (Methadone). The effects of methadone are longer lasting than those of morphine-based drugs. Methadone’s effects can last up to 24 hours, thereby permitting administration only once a day in heroin detoxification and maintenance programs. Methadone is almost as effective when administered orally as it is by injection. Tolerance and dependence may develop, and withdrawal symptoms, though they develop more slowly and are less severe than those of morphine and heroin, are more prolonged. Ironically, methadone used to control narcotic addiction is frequently encountered on the illicit market and has been associated with a number of overdose deaths.

A close relative of methadone is dextropropoxyphene, first marketed in 1957 under the trade name of Darvon. Oral analgesic potency is one-half to one-third that of codeine, with 65 mg approximately equivalent to about 600 mg of aspirin. Dextroprooxxyphene is prescribed for relief of mild to moderate pain. Bulk dextropropoxyphene is in Schedule II, while preparations containing it are in Schedule IV. More than 100 tons of dextropropoxyphene are produced in the United States annually, and more than 25 million prescriptions are written for the products. This narcotic is associated with a number of toxic side effects and is among the top 10 drugs reported by medical examiners in drug abuse deaths.

[Abstracted from D.E.A. website, q.v.]

Drug Effects

Moderately strong analgesic in normal doses. Larger doses can cause sedation, confusion, hallucinations. G.I. side effects, even bleeding, can occur especially when compounded with aspirin.
Incidence of Abuse
Abuse is currently sporadic.
Chemical Name
Dextro-propoxyphene. (a synthetic narcotic)
Forms and Street Names
“Darvon” is trade name. The drug is widely prescribed as an analgesic… usually compounded with Aspirin or Acetaminophin. Therefore, statistics show that most persons who test positive will have a prescription!
Preferred routes of administration
It is assumed that most abuse is by the oral route, though there are reports of frequent I.V. use.
Length of time detectable after user
2 – 4 days!
Metabolite Actually sought in urine
Confounding drugs (or factors):
None known
Screening Cut-off:
300 ng/ml
Confirmation GC/MS Cut-of
300 ng/ml
Facts for Verifying M.R.O
Verification is usually straightforward. Expect most positive donors to have a prescription.