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August 1983

Propoxyphene in Children With Iatrogenic Morphine Dependence: A Review of the Literature With Two Additional Cases

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pharmacology, University of Rochester (NY) School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Am J Dis Child. 1983;137(8):745-748. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1983.02140340029007

• In four children with iatrogenic morphine sulfate tolerance and dependence, narcotic withdrawal was successfully accomplished using propoxyphene napsylate. The patients showed signs and symptoms typical of narcotic withdrawal, which resolved with morphine administration and increased during attempts to lower the daily morphine dose. Propoxyphene napsylate at total daily doses of 25 to 65 mg/kg, administered at four-hour intervals, allowed rapid reduction of the morphine dosage, with few withdrawal signs and symptoms, and lessened respiratory depression. This treatment enabled patients to be rapidly weaned from the respirator. One child experienced increasing lethargy and respiratory depression and responded to naloxone hydrochloride and a decrease in the dose of propoxyphene; another had transient agitation, which may have been related to high levels of propoxyphene. Our treatment used alternating doses of propoxyphene and morphine, which allowed the child to be morphine free after four days and narcotic free after nine days.

(Am J Dis Child 1983;137:745-748)