Drugstore Cowgirl – Or How I Learned to Hate Darvon and Love Weightlifting

As I’ve grown older I’ve learned to appreciate the difficulty of keeping my body (and mind) in great physical (and mental) shape. I hit the gym three days a week to lift weights with a trainer. On the odd-date days I really stretch myself by doing yoga or speed-walking to the Starbucks® a couple of miles from my home. As my age has increased so has my strength and muscle-mass. I only wish I’d been as dedicated when I was in nursing school.

Before I became a nurse, my exercise consisted of scrambling for Mardi Gras beads and doubloons in the crowded parades of New Orleans (a true contact sport), playing intramural basketball for my high school, playing neighborhood touch football and baseball in the streets, and wrestling with my twin brother Vince (and sometimes his friends, wink-wink). Closest I ever came to an injury was burning my mouth on a bowl of my Grandma’s seafood gumbo.

In nursing school I got a whole different education in exercise that involved weightlifting – lifting patients, lifting more patients and when we were done, lifting even more patients. At 5′ 2 ½”, 110lbs I was hardly Arnold. No training could really prepare me to lift and/or turn patients twice my size. The result? Nursing school turned out to be more hazardous than a childhood of physical activity! It was in the hospital that I strained my back trying to lift and turn a patient. Being the good old days I was prescribed a period of bed rest and, of course, Darvon. I remember telling my nursing student peers, “what a worthless drug it was despite all the hype.” Obviously I’m not much of a drugstore cowgirl. All it did was make me feel fuzzy – it didn’t touch my back pain.

An FDA advisory committee recently recommended a ban on Darvon, Darvocet and their generics, notably after they have been in use for more than 50 years (check out the presentations from the meeting). According to the testimony, Darvon and Darvocet have been associated with over 10,000 confirmed deaths and 2,110 reported accidental deaths in the United States, and the risk of death, overdose, addiction and life-threatening side effects, outweighs the minimal benefits provided by these drugs over other available painkillers.

The committee’s recommendation is nonbinding on the FDA which has 90 days to act on it and either pull the drug from the market or let it go on killing people. Hard to believe but, yes, a drug that according to the AMA is less effective than two adult-strength aspirin, kills.

As of the date of this posting I haven’t seen any cases filed yet, but plaintiff attorneys are already advertising for potential clients. This is where you, the savvy Certified Legal Nurse Consultant, come in.

If you are interested in consulting on these potential products liability cases, research the plaintiff attorneys who are advertising for these cases and market yourself to them. Defense firms are a potential market too. There will be plenty of issues for both sides in these cases as the drug is often prescribed to elderly patients, it’s addictive, it doesn’t mix well with other drugs and a good portion of the deaths are suicides.

If you’re looking to get involved in pharmaceutical cases – Darvon will probably be a good starting place. Just do your research and watch your back.

Success Is Inside!

P.S. Comment to share your success with products liability cases involving pharmaceutical drugs.

5 thoughts on “Drugstore Cowgirl – Or How I Learned to Hate Darvon and Love Weightlifting

  1. At my small- town hospital Darvocet is ordered routinely by many of our doctors, especially surgeons for mild to moderate post op discomfort. I have noticed that this particular drug seems less effective for many patients yet some doctors are just stuck in the routine of ordering the same drugs every time. It will be interesting to see what happens if they take it off the market! I had not heard of deaths r/t Darvon but you can bet I will be researching this issue- thanks!

  2. Kendall,

    I see more Vicodin in my small hopsital, but I know what you mean about MDs just writing Rxs out of habit.

    Just a quick Google of “Darvon lawsuits” turned up pages of firms looking for clients to sign up. It would be interesting to work a product liability case!

  3. Hi All!

    Interesting information! There is a list of drugs not recommended for the geriatric population because of the side effects associated with them that place our residents at higher risk for dehydration, falls and injury. I think (not sure), Darvon or Darvocet may be one of them. I remember when I was in nursing school a hundred years ago, Darvon was prescribed for me when I had my wisdom teeth extracted. It did nothing for the pain, but the vivid dreams scared the life out of me. Several of our elderly patients also complain of this side effect or, worse, wake up and wander during the night, which is a fall risk. We, too, see our physicians ordering more Vicodin or Percocet, especially since there is a problem with the manufacturing of Oxycodone.

  4. Vickie,
    Thank you for this info and I will certainly be doing some research on this subject. I read this blog last night before going to work, and I kept remembering it everytime I gave Darvocet last night. I never realized before how much of that stuff we really give out.

  5. Great comments fellow CLNC® consultants. Darvocet is rarely administered at the rehab facility where I work. The patient population in our sub-acute wing is primarily age 50 and up and of course even older in the geriatric wings.

    I reviewed a wrongful death case in which Zyprexa was the drug in question. When I researched in depth, it was amazing how much I didn’t know. This drug is administered too much in nursing homes. Several of the southern states have filed a lawsuit against the maker of Zyprexa for advertising/contract practices that were implicated in Medicare and Medicaid facilities over-prescribing it versus the generic, costing the states millions and millions of dollars.

    I will also be looking into Darvocet and mentioning this as an example when I am marketing so that attorneys will know that I am on top of my game. Thanks, Vickie.

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