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Pain Medications (cont.)

Pain Medications to Avoid

In addition to Tylenol with codeine and oral Demerol, certain other pain medications probably should be avoided for several different reasons.

Some medications just do not work very well, while others have significant side effects that, at times, can be dangerous. Often, less expensive medications are just as effective as expensive medications.

Avoid these:
  • pentazocine (Talwin) has very little pain-relieving effect and is strongly associated with dependency. It is of little value as a pain medication.
  • propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet) likewise has no significant pain-relieving benefit compared to other options. In 2010 the FDA removed propoxyphene and its derivatives from the US market.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery with subspecialty certification in surgical critical care


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Bukata, WR. "Cox-1-Sparing NSAIDS--Much Ado About Not Much." Emerg Med Abstr. 2000;24. "Xanodyne Agrees to Withdraw Propoxyphene From the U.S. Market." Nov 19, 2010.

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Turturro MA, Paris PM, Larkin GL. "Tramadol Versus Hydrocodone-Acetaminophen in Acute Musculoskeletal Pain: A Randomized, Double-Blind Clinical Trial." Ann Emerg Med. Aug 1998;32(2):139-43. [Medline].

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Previous contributing authors and editors: Author: John A Michael, MD, FRCPC, FAAEM, Consulting Staff, Department of Emergency Medicine, Northshore Medical Center. Editors: Scott H Plantz, MD, FAAEM, Research Director, Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine; Francisco Talavera, PharmD, PhD, Senior Pharmacy Editor, eMedicine; James Quinn, MD, Director of Research Department of Medicine, Division of Emergency Medicine University of California at San Francisco Medical Center.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 9/29/2016

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