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May 10, 1976

Neonatal Drug Withdrawal From Propoxyphene

Author Affiliations

From the departments of pediatrics (Dr Quillian) and family medicine (Dr Dunn), Doctor's Hospital, Coral Gables, Fla.

JAMA. 1976;235(19):2128. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03260450040031

PROPOXYPHENE hydrochloride (Darvon) is a commonly prescribed drug and is closely related to methadone chemically.1 According to the manufacturer's literature, tolerance and psychological and physical dependence may occur in adults. To our knowledge, there has been one reported case of neonatal withdrawal symptoms associated with the maternal use of propoxyphene hydrochloride.2 Our case describes an infant in whom withdrawal symptoms developed and propoxyphene hydrochloride was present in her blood and urine but subsequently cleared.

Family physicians, obstetricians, and pediatricians should be alert to the potential danger of this drug to the neonate when it is used regularly during pregnancy.

Report of a Case  A 2,050-gm girl was born to a 29-year-old Rh-negative mother after 34 weeks of gestation. In the fourth month of pregnancy, the mother took 65 mg of propoxyphene hydrochloride four to six times daily because of intermittent right-sided abdominal pain. The dosage was reduced to