Stockholm, Sweden: When Ulf Jonasson, Doctor of Public Health visited the US from Sweden in 2003 and again in 2004, he met with doctors at Public Citizen; doctors who had received studies by Dr. Jonasson and his partner, Birgitta Jonasson, PhD, and were calling for a ban on Darvon (Dextropropoxyphene), made by Eli Lilly. "We have researched Darvon side effects since 1993, and Public Citizen has worked hard to ban the drug before that," says Ulf Jonasson in a phone interview. "There could have been hundreds of thousands of deaths due to Darvon and Darvocet over the past 50 years."
Jonasson and colleagues have published widely on Dextropropoxyphene (Darvon and Darvocet) deaths in Sweden. Following the publication of these reports and the involvement of politicians, the Swedish Medical Products Agency (MPA) held a seminar in spring 1999 focusing on the pharmacological and toxicological aspects of dextropropoxyphene (DXP). The following year, the MPA advised manufacturers to improve summaries of product characteristics, labeling and patient information leaflets to include more specific warnings about overdose and concomitant use of alcohol. Doctors were encouraged to prescribe smaller amounts, and not to prescribe to vulnerable patients.
Stricter prescribing regulations were introduced in June 2001, involving the use of a special prescription form and stringent monitoring of treatment efficacy. The effectiveness of these measures was assessed by Jonasson and Jonasson, who reported that sales of dextropropoxyphene products decreased by 66 percent between 1999 and early 2003, and the number of fatal dextropropoxyphene poisonings decreased by 62 percent between 2000 and early 2003.
Why didn't the FDA follow up on these studies? "Since 1999 we have informed the FDA about our research, and they know about our eight scientific articles about DXP and our two doctorial dissertations (2000 and 2001)," says Jonasson, "but Sweden is a small country and our legal system is different."
Jonasson is referring to the difference between the laws governing medical examiners and coroners. In Sweden, there is one legal system on the federal level, which dictates that every autopsy must be screened for legal drugs—including Darvon. In the US medical examiners and coroners are under county law—performing blood tests with an autopsy is rarely done because it is cost-prohibitive. "This is why Sweden has data that show Darvon is the worst drug ever, which is documented at the International Narcotic Control in Vienna," says Jonasson.
"We studied 1,600 people who died with Darvon in their blood. To put it into a nutshell, Darvon affects your heart muscles and you forget to breathe, so people die," Jonasson explains. "Our research was behind the decision in Sweden, the UK, and The European Union (EU) to stop the drug but it took a lot longer in the US."
By 1977, propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvon-N, Dolene) was the second most common drug involved in deaths from prescribed drugs in the US, and was estimated to cause between 1,000 and 2,000 deaths per year. On November 19, 2010, the FDA asked manufacturers of products containing dextropropoxyphene to withdraw them from sale. An estimated 10 million patients have used these products.
Why did the FDA wait until 2010 to have the drug withdrawn? "We believe the FDA is influenced very much by the drug companies, and we know that Eli Lilly, the Darvon manufacturer, has known about Darvon side effects for many years," says Jonasson.
"Attorneys across the US have contacted us—we are providing them with our data and they are very knowledgeable about this drug. I think the Darvon trials will become bigger than Vioxx because it has been going on for so long, but some people are just now realizing how catastrophic Darvon is."
(A $4.85 billion settlement fund paid claims from Merck, the maker of Vioxx, to the families of users of its painkiller who died of heart attacks or strokes.)
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Posted by Donald Slayter
I took Darvon in 1977. I latter developed skipped heart beats, breathing difficulties, and long heart beat pauses. A Heart Specialist didn't know, what was causing my Heart to malfunction. During different times over 30 years, I was prescribed propoxyphene for pain. I finally had crushing Heart pain, was transported from hospital to hospital, was told I should be dead, if not for aspirin, and had Atrial Ablation. I have experiences skipped beats, light headedness, difficulties breathing, and, now I am still having chest pains. I have exercised all my life, trying to get in shape. I now find, I am disabled, my life shortened, and all to make millions for Eli Lilly's CEO's, and to keep things warm and cozy at the FDA.
Posted by Ann Blake Tracy, PhD
I applaud the many years of effort expened to remove yet another one of Eli Lilly's most deadly serotonergic meds from the market! It amazes me that every day in America with the greatest of trust parents lead their children to the biggest drug pushers in this country - their family physician! While they warn their children to look both ways before crossing a street, they remain almost totally clueless to the grave necessity of warning of precription drug dangers (America's #3 cause of death) & the hidden financial ties between precription drug infomercials referred to as "medical research" & the drug manufacturer who is profiting from that doctor's prescribing.
ALL SEROTONERGIC MEDS CAN STOP BREATHING! They constrict the bronchials shutting off oxygen. Most major pain killers produce this effect as do antidepressants & the new atypical antipsychotics. Yet few remain aware of these deadly side effects. And WHO introduced the first serotonergic antidepressant (Prozac) to the market & the first atypical antipsychotic (Zyprexa) to the market? Eli Lilly - the same company who patented LSD in 1957 & led the world to believe it would be a new miracle drug that would cure mental illness & alcoholism while aiding in psychanalysis
Posted by Dr Ulf Jonasson
We want to add to this text that we have studied the painkilling substance propoxyphene (DXP) since 1993. Now FDA says that ONE NEW STUDY made them stop Darvon. We have informed FDA about our research since 1999-2000, they know about our 8 scientific articles about the substance, we also wrote two doctorial dissertations (2000 and 2001) in Sweden.
We are actually the Whistleblowers about the painkilling substance Propoxyphene in the whole world and informed Public Citizen in 2002 and 2003. I personally met with Dr Larry Sasich at Public Citizen i Washington DC and informed them about our research. I have also visited the FDA twice, 2004 and 2007.
Our research was behind the decision in UK, Sweden and The European Union (EU) to stop the drug. Go to this link, qjmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/98/3/159.2.full
Our references are nrs 21-26
Ulf Jonasson, Doctor of Public Health
Birgitta Jonasson, PhD
Search Jonasson+Propoxyphene for more information about us
Go to YouTube, Darvon, Distalgeic and Co-Proxamol. The worst drugs ever
We have worked since 1992 to stop the painkiller Darvon â€“ containing propoxyphene â€“ in US. Now it is done. bit.ly/9r5VOU
Who were responsible for the Darvon disaster during 45 years? Of course it was Eli Lilly. Go to bit.ly/exdSOn
â€œDarvon and Darvocet trials will be bigger than Vioxxâ€, predicts Dr Ulf Jonasson â€“bit.ly/i7hnIB
Are we actually the Whistleblowers about banning Darvob) Judge for yourselves. bit.ly/eHl5Hc
Eli Lilly has the moral responsibility for 100 000 deaths caused by Darvon since 1957. Time to pay bit.ly/i7hnIB
Ulf and Birgitta Jonasson
Posted by MarXPacE
I suffered two successive non-fatal (obviously) heart-attacks after a six months use of Vioxx for backpain. Doctor's denied that Vioxx had anything to do with my cardio problem and said it was more likely that my lifestyle was the major contributary factor. I was less than forty years old.
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