Two of the more commonly used painkillers in the U.S. have been pulled from the market by their manufacturer after a new study linked the drugs to potentially fatal heart rhythms.
The decision by Xanodyne Pharmaceuticals to pull the two drugs comes more than a year after regulators in the UK and the E.U. banned drugs using the same active ingredient, propoxyphene. The FDA has asked makers of generic versions of propoxyphene to stop selling the drug domestically.
According to the FDA, around 10 million people in the U.S. took some form of propoxyphene in 2009. Most of them were prescribed Darvocet, which combines propoxyphene with acetaminophen.
An FDA advisory panel had voted in 2009 to pull the drug, but the FDA opted to reject that recommendation. Instead, they launched a study into the potential cardiac effects of
The results of that study showed that the drug increases risks for heart arrhythmias even in healthy patients.
The FDA has urged doctors to stop prescribing propoxyphene immediately, but patients currently taking the drug should continue to use it while their doctors switch them to a different medication.