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Clinical Notes
May 4, 1964

Propoxyphene Hydrochloride Poisoning

Author Affiliations


From the Department of Medicine of Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital.

JAMA. 1964;188(5):470-471. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03060310070019

PROPOXYPHENE HYDROCHLORIDE (Darvon) was synthesized by Pohland and Sullivan in 1953.1 Related pharmacologically to codeine and widely used as an analgesic, the drug is available in 32- or 65-mg capsules, which is the recommended single adult dose. It is also marketed with acetophenetidin, acetylsalicylic acid, and caffeine as a compound.

A case of severe intoxication due to propoxyphene hydrochloride associated with convulsions, coma, abnormal electrocardiogram (ECG), and respiratory arrest is reported.

Report of a Case  An 18-year-old married white female was brought to the hospital emergency room at 10:00 AM on April 6, 1963, in coma. She had ingested twenty-six 32-mg capsules of propoxyphene hydrochloride (832 mg) at about 8:00 AM. Approximately one-half hour later she became drowsy and acted as if inebriated. At about 9:00 AM the patient suffered four successive generalized convulsions which were followed by cyanosis and coma.History included an episode of possible labyrinthitis in

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