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July 19, 1976


Author Affiliations

University of California, Los Angeles

JAMA. 1976;236(3):250. doi:10.1001/jama.1976.03270030010003

To the Editor.—  The recent demonstration of responsible action by Eli Lilly and Company in connection with dangerousness of propoxyphene hydrochloride (Darvon) is deserving of commendation. Propoxyphene has been increasingly prescribed in recent years and is now widely used. Like many effective anodynes, it is dangerous in overdoses, especially when combined with alcohol or other central nervous system (CNS) depressants. The more the drug is used the more cases of death from such overdose can be expected. Persons with psychiatric disturbances are particularly at risk.Following the report by McBay and Hudson1 on increased deaths associated with the use of propoxyphene, Eli Lilly and Company sponsored a comprehensive study by the University of Utah's Center for Human Toxicology to explore the subject in depth. Even before publication of the Utah center's complete report, Ivan F. Bennett, MD, of Lilly Research Laboratories transmitted its essence to the medical profession.2