- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- What is propoxyphene and acetaminophen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- Is propoxyphene and acetaminophen available as a generic drug?
- Do I need a prescription for propoxyphene and acetaminophen?
- What are the side effects of propoxyphene and acetaminophen?
- What is the dosage for propoxyphene and acetaminophen?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with propoxyphene and acetaminophen?
- Is propoxyphene and acetaminophen safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about propoxyphene and acetaminophen?
What is propoxyphene and acetaminophen, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Propoxyphene is a strong narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant but is weaker than other narcotics such as morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone. The precise mechanism of action is not known but may involve stimulation of opioid receptors in the brain. Propoxyphene increases pain tolerance and decreases discomfort, but the presence of pain is still apparent. In addition to pain reduction, propoxyphene also causes sedation and respiratory depression. Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic analgesic and antipyretic (fever reducer). Acetaminophen relieves pain by elevating the pain threshold. It reduces fever through its action on the heat-regulating center of the brain. The combination of propoxyphene and acetaminophen achieves greater pain relief than either taken separately. For more information on acetaminophen, please see acetaminophen (Tylenol). The FDA first approved propoxyphene/acetaminophen combinations in October 1972.
Is propoxyphene and acetaminophen available as a generic drug?
GENERIC AVAILABLE: Yes
Do I need a prescription for propoxyphene and acetaminophen?
What are the side effects of propoxyphene and acetaminophen?
The most frequent adverse reactions of propoxyphene include:
Other side effects include:
- constipation, and
- spasm of the ureter, which can lead to difficulty in urinating.
Propoxyphene can depress breathing and, therefore, is used with caution in elderly, debilitated patients, and in patients with serious lung disease. Propoxyphene can impair thinking and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery. Propoxyphene may be habit forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when it is used short-term.
Quick GuideChronic Pain: Causes and Solutions
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.