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Darvocet Class Action Lawsuit Filed Over Recalled Painkiller

  • Written by: Staff Writers
  • 80 Comments

A class action lawsuit has been filed against Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals on behalf of people who took the recently recalled Darvocet painkiller, alleging that the drug maker failed to warn about the potential risk of serious and fatal heart problems. 

The Darvocet class action lawsuit was filed by Linda Gallagher in U.S. district court in New Orleans, alleging that the medication caused her to suffer a heart attack. The suit seeks class action status on behalf of other similarly situated former users of Darvocet.

Last month, a Darvon and Darvocet recall was issued after the FDA determined that propoxyphene-based painkillers may increase the risk of potentially fatal heart rhythm abnormalities. The medications were also previously linked to a risk of overdose and suicide. All generic Darvocet and generic Darvon versions of propoxyphene were also recalled.

It is believed that Gallagher’s complaint is the first Darvocet lawsuit or Darvon lawsuit filed in federal court since the recall was issued on November 19.

According to allegations raised in the complaint, Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals violated the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by creating a drug that could cause significant harm to users. The lawsuit also charges the company with failing to warn doctors and consumers about the potential side effects of Darvocet and Darvon.

Gallagher, the proposed lead plaintiff, claims to have suffered two heart attacks since being prescribed Darvocet in 2007, and blames her heart problems on the drug. The lawsuit is seeking compensatory damages, medical monitoring fees, court costs and attorney fees for everyone included in the class action.

Darvocet is a popular painkiller that combines the active ingredient in Darvon with acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. Darvon was first introduced in 1957, with propoxyphene designed to relieve mild to moderate post-surgical pain. In recent years, Darvocet has grown to become one of the 25 most commonly prescribed medications, with more than 22 million people receiving the painkiller.

Various groups have been calling for a recall of Darvocet and Darvon for years, with the first petition for the FDA to ban the medications filed in 1978. The prominent consumer group Public Citizen has suggested that Darvon and Darvocet side effects likely resulted in between 1,000 and 2,000 additional deaths in the United States since the time the medication was banned in the U.K. in 2005.

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80 comments

  1. Trudy Reply

    I have took Darvocet for pre- and post back pain, for the past couple of years , I have had breathing problems, and loss of memory and my leg goes numb and m y toes/feet, and I have night swets and can’t sleep, and I get dizzy and feel nauseated ans sick to my stomach also get head aches. my heart beats irregular since i have took this medication

  2. mary Reply

    I have been taking Darvocet for the past 15 years due to cronic venous insufficency of my leg. It worked great for me but I few years ago I developed a heart murmur. Since then I have had to have stress tests and then a heart cath. I could feel a funny sensation in my chest which my Doctor told me was an extra beat in my heart.

  3. Mindy Reply

    I have an idiopathic heart condition that is reflected in in creased heart rate that can cause me to lose conscioiusness. I took DArvocet for pain after being ill with a kidney infection, and at other times during my mid to late teen years for sport related injuries. I simply want to be part of the class action suit as there have been no legitimate causes for my heart condition. This explains a great deal.

  4. kerry Reply

    hurt my back in 1994 prescribed darvocet.heart attack in may 95 got stents,heart attack october 96 open heart. still on darvocet heart attack jan2009 got more stents heart attack feb2009 got pacemaker still on darvocet nov2010 told darvocet was bad for my heart

  5. Rachael Reply

    I have been presribed Darvocet off and on for migraines, post- surgery, and various other situations over the last 15 years. In the last 3 to 5 years I have been to four different doctors, one cardiologist, and two different ERs several times. I have mitral valve regurgitation, a tricuspid murmur, irregular heartbeat, unexplained dizziness, fainting spells and more. There is no history of heart problems in my family. The doctors have been unable to explain how or why I have been so sick for so long, and one even went so far as to suggest I might be a bit of a hypochondriac. I had no idea so many other people were having similar issues. While I understand the opinion of the lucky ones who haven’t had problems because of Darvocet or related medications, I personally agree with the recall.

  6. ferrell Reply

    I had an accident in 1998.In approx 1999 I was prescribed Darvocet.
    I was diagnosed with heart palpitations. prior to 1999 I had no problems with my heart .THe doctor treated me for thyroids and my heart continued to race and I could hear my own heartbeat. This caused damage to my heart muscles and shortness of breath. During anECG
    the scar tissue was detected. I do not have a family history of heart or
    thyroid problems. my mother was amazed that I am the only person in the family to have such problems

  7. toni Reply

    i was prescribed darvocet multiple times, once for a neck injury and refills for carpel tunnel pain. i took over the course of about a year. i have recently been seen by my doctor for chest pain and trouble breathing. she attributed it to a rapid hearbeat and put me a medication to correct that and my heart palpitations. i am the only one in my family who has a rapid heartbeat?

  8. Melody Reply

    It is a shame that even the loss of life due to being poisoned unnecessarily by a pharmaceutical company has no meaning to some people. I am a 52 year old female and apparently I was not in the know about this darvocet side effect when I was taking it in 2003 and 2004; when after taking it for 2 months, I started getting a racing heart. I was hooked up for 30 days on a cardio monitor and had heartbeats of over 200, and 4 to 6 beat v-tach incidents. Tried several different heart medications, toprol, the beta-blocker, being one of them, which put me in the hospital with more v-tach incidents and with a doctor’s warning that it was his medical opinion that I should not check out of the hospital and be transported to another hospital where I could see a specialist in electrical studies of the heart. The end result here is I went and had a cardiac ablation that almost killed me due to bleeding out after it was over. And now it is possible that all my months of suffering on different medications, toprol being the worse, and an unnecessary surgery to my heart could havr been due to darvocet? And the fact that the pharmaceutical company knew there could be a problem and still let me take it??? And the number of people who may have died is only stated at 2,000 in the report on this website. I think it is many more and it is reprehensible that the pharmaceutical company can get away with this. When I read the comments posted here, I cannot believe how similar the stories are to mine. There is no way it is just a coincidence. Un********believable.

  9. Jonathan Reply

    I am 39 and started takink Darvocet in college due to football injuries. Have been prescibed Darvocet many times. In 95 I started having heart problems and was hospitalizes 4 times due to atrial fribulation. Heart would exceed 229 bpm. Spent a lot of time in and out of hbospital enduring many heart test. Eventually leading to an unsuccessful abaliton surgery in 08. There is no history of atrial fribulatio or any other heart problems in a very large family. This condition has changed my life dramatically.

  10. Nicole Reply

    I took this medication about 3 yrs ago. after i took this medication i started having in rapid heart beats and they were of rythem i had to get heart suregery done cuz i was diagnosed with SVT… supra ventricular tachardia… after taking this medication. i

  11. Nancy Reply

    I had a injurys from a car accident doctors put me on darvoct for 8 years I have had rapid heart beats fast then slow cant sleep sick to my stomach all the time trouble breathing never felt rite since I took the darvoct Iam really not the same cant work have no energy could go on and on….could that be the reason for all my sickness

  12. George Reply

    I started taking darvon for back injury in Viet Nam in 1966. And continued to get it from a physian after I got out of the service and continued its use up until 1999 for frequent back pain. When that doctor gave me an ekg, in the middle 80’s he ask when I had a heart attack after reveiwing the ekg. Do this qualitify to be in the class action suit.

  13. Vonne Reply

    I had used Darvocet for the past 10 years for osteoarthritis. I have experienced chest pain in the past. I am now concerned about the effects of Darvon and what can I expect in the future concerning any adverse health issues.

  14. Vanessa Reply

    I took Darvocet for lumbar back pain from about 2007 to 2009. I frequently experienced shortness of breath and heart palpitations. During that period I went to the ER at least 5 times with ailments ranging from shortness to breath, to numbness in my right arm/hand/shoulder. Could these things be caused by the medication?

  15. Kenneth Reply

    My wife was given Darvocet back in 1998 for her chronic pain syndrome. Admittingly, she was taking more than the prescribed amount. Sometimes she was taking 12 pills per day. At the same time, she was always having heart issues (arrythmias and tachycardia) and we were seeing a cardiologist for this. He always attributed the heart issues to a panic disorder, and gave her valium.

    In 1999 she became pregnant and the doctor told us that it was very safe to continue using Darvocet throughout the pregnancy, which she did. In retrospect, now knowing the dangers of this medicine, I would have not listened to the doctor and I would have made sure she was not on it. My daughter was born with health issues, which is a different subject.

    She stayed on the medicine for about another year, when her doctors decided that she should be on Oxycontin instead.

    Long story short, since the 3 or so years of her taking Darvocet, she has continuously suffered from tachycardia and very irregular heartbeats. These episodes are continuing today. It is chronic.

    Does anyone think she should be part of the class action suit?

  16. Joel Reply

    My mother took darvocet regularly for years. She was hospitalized and receiving tratment for vascular problems in her legs. She was scheduled to return home after her recovery but died the night before she was to be dicharged. No one could explain the sudden heart attack. Her death never made sense to us, she had appeared very healthy just hours before.

  17. George Reply

    I was on this for a torn rotator cuff, prior to surgery I had a sever heart attack and ended up with a Defib and Pacemaker.

  18. Robin Reply

    I began taking this medicine approximately 2 years ago, stopped taking it hen it as recalled, and wish I had never heard of it. Nothing is worth losing your health and worrying about leaving your kids, especially when you have an older child with special needs who needs total care. Never mind what will I do ithout darvocet, my question is what will they do without me????????????????????????

  19. Helen Reply

    Husband died in 2005 after taking Percocet for over 20 years.He was 62. Had blood disease I T P. Spleen removed Heart problems and heart surgery Lost his kidneys on Dialysis 4 years Had kidney transplant failed
    Autopsy states blood clot -Hypertensive Cardiovascular Disease
    He had been an attorney but lost his Fl. Bar license in 1991.Was making bad mistakes on cases. Percocet cost him his profession
    and his life and my husband .
    Helen

  20. ARPIE Reply

    15 YRS AGO I TOOK DARVACET FOR APPROX. 3-4 MO FOR THE PAIN FROM DENTAL WORK I WAS HAVING DONE, THEN MORE RECENTLY I HADTO HAVE THE LOWER PORTION OF MY IGHT LUNG REMOVED DUE TO AN ACCIDENT. BEFORE THE SURGERY AND DURING, AND FOR ABOUT 6 MO. AFTER SURGERY I TOOK DARVACET ON A REGULAR BASIS. OF COURSE I HAD RESPITORY PROBLEMS AND 3YRS AFTER SURGERY I WAS DIAGNOSED WITH COPD AND EMPHASYMIA, ABNORMALLY VERY HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE,180/107 ON MEDICATION. I AM ONLY 4FT 9IN AND WEIGH 116. WILL I DEVELOPE HEART PROBLEM NOW. AND THE FIRST YR AFTER SURGERY I WAS ON DEPACOTE AND ABILIFY FOR BORDERLINE PSYCOTIC EPISODES AND BI-POLAR DEPRESSION. WHAT DO I HAVE TO LOOK FORWAARD TO BECAUSE MY DR. GAVE ME A MED THAT SHOULD NEVER BE GIVEN TO A PERSON WITH RESPITORY PROBLEMS? HOW COME OUR DRS.DON’T KNOW WHAT MEDS HAVE WHAT EFFECTS JUST WHAT THEY DO, I WOULD RATHER BE IN PAIN THAN KNOW THAT AT THE AGE OF 49 IM ON MY WAYOUT. I GOT THREE GRANDSONS WHAT ABOUT THEM IN10 YRS. IM MAD, AND SAD, I DONT HAVE A HEART PROBLEM BUT!!!!!

  21. Lucille Reply

    I took darvocet off and on many times due to arthritis pain. I recently was told i have Nash, a livee proble i also have irregular heart beats wich i never had before, weak and shakiness. Its not good

  22. Sherley Reply

    hello … was 19 years old and fell 27 feet in Maine , and ended up having two back surgerys in Boston ,Mass (New England Baptist hospital ) in 1987 and 1989 believe and was on Darvacet for few years . and am thinking like 6000 over time period! am I able to join law suit ?

  23. R.Jane Reply

    I am so upset with this stupid law suit as if the other pain killers aren’t as dangerous or more so. As it happens, Darvocet is the only pain medication I can take. I’ve been through Hell trying other pain medications. I have chronic pain that is getting worse as time goes on as is the way of my illness(s). I’ve been hoarding my last Darvocets for my cluster headaches and migraines putting up with my other horrid pain from RSD and Fibromyalgia. If people can’t take Darvocet then they should use another drug, not file a law suit. I’ve been in Hell, as I’ve said since it went off the market and am scared to death when I use the last one.

  24. gaynell Reply

    i hurt my back in 2005 and i took darvocet for 6 years, then they recalled it, i have alot of pain in my chest and i thought I had galbladder problems but it was fine but the pain is still there some one told me that darvocet has effect the liver and heart and other areas as well I got to go back to the doctor so they can check my liver, i had to start taking blood pressure pills as well could you give me more information on the side effects of darvocet, and a contact number for a attorneyI heard that goldwater was a lawyer handling cases as well i have also had and still do sharpe pains in my head since i have taken the darvocet pain meds, fatigue as well anyway please contact me with more information please I may need a lawyer as well thank you in advance for your help

  25. Teri Reply

    in 1995 my husband of 20 years died from the use of darvocet. the sad part is that he could still be hear to raise his son who was only 13 when he passed. the manufactures of the drug knew it’s dangers but still kept making & marketing it, now the only justice to be had is the recall of the drug. he only took 1 to many but that was enough to kill him. my heart goes out to all of you that have been harmed. i wish you luck with the lawsuit, the manufactures deserve to pay for their greed.
    sadly no one will take my case because he died before 2000.

  26. Pamela Reply

    I am a 52 year old women who has been using Darvocet off and mostly on for about 25years.I have chronic pain for various reasons such as bursitis in my hip which requires injections,back problems due to falls and nursing wear and tear while on the job,and inflammatory and osteo arthritis.this is the only medication I have been able to take without major side affects,such as terrible stomach upset,mouth dryness so that I am unable to speak, drowsiness etc.Why can physicians not prescribe medications more responsibly and thoughtfully so that people like me and others might be able to receive medications that they need?Darvocet has been on the market for over 50 years and should have remained so.

  27. amine Reply

    my father in law have been taken the painkiller Darvocet for ten years and had suffered five heart attacks and the last one almost killed him his own doctor told him to seek a lawyer for his suffering but i cant get him to understand that the insurance companies that will pay him not out of his doctor pocket he does not like to sue anyone he thinks its wrong and he is flat broke from all the suffering he went through any advice how to change his mind thanks

  28. Shirley Reply

    Amine, I hope he will change his mind and get what he can while he’s still alive. My Mother was prescribed Darvocet for pain several years back. She only took them every now and then. She was a picture of health at the age of 92 and had more energy than most younger than 40. She got sick in early 2009 and with that illness she had pain and was told to take that drug again on a regular schedule. She ended up in bed 24/7 her caretaker made sure she was given the drugs daily. She kept complaining about her chest hurting and was told it was acid reflux and was treated for that too. It got to where she was unable to go out to the doctor so we had them (a different doctor) come to the house for treatment. They said she had heart problems along with acid reflux, and continued the drugs along with a few more. I sat by her bedside and watched her pass away October 14, 2011 of CHF. There’s not a day that goes by that my heart breaks of her not here with me. Sure she was old but she was extremely healthy before that drug. The only medicine she had ever taken on a regular basis was for her removed thyroid along with vit. D.
    I was searching something on the web the other night and saw where there was problems with the drug.. I want to sue but it wont bring my Mom back. But you still have your dad and I’m sure the money will be helpful. God bless you both.

  29. Eldrick Reply

    I took darvocet for years due to the surgeries I have had on my foots from 8 years up to they was called off the market. My heart would be beating so bad and fluttering.

  30. susan Reply

    I WAS PRESCRIBED DARVOCET 500 AFTER A SERIOUS CAR ACCIDENT.I DIDNT TOLERATE PILLS BUT THIS ONE DIDNT MAKE ME NAUSEOUS,I WOULD GET JAZZED UP AND IT WOULD LET ME KNOW THE MINUTE IT KICKED IN.IT WAS TOLERABLE FOR PAIN.I TOOK THIS DRUG FOR BETTER THAN 20 YEARS EVERYDAY,MY BODY RAN LIKE A CLOCK ON IT,THAT PILL RAN MY SYSTEMS,THEN ONE DAY,BAM,OFF THE MARKET,OUT OF MY SYSTEM WITH NO WEANING PROCESS,BAM,I HAVE A STROKE,IT DOESNT TAKE A ROCKET SCIENCETIST TO KNOW THAT DARVOCET WAS A CULPRIT.

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