Government advisers are recommending a ban on Darvon, a painkiller that's been around for 50 years.
A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted 14-12 Friday to recommend withdrawing Darvon after a hearing on its risks and benefits. The drug was first approved in 1957, when there were few alternatives for pain except aspirin and powerful narcotics.
Now mainly marketed as Darvocet, which includes a dose of acetaminophen, the drug remains one of the top 25 most commonly prescribed medications. More than 20 million prescriptions were written in 2007.
The consumer group Public Citizen said the FDA should withdraw Darvon because the drug offers weak pain relief and poses an overdose risk, with the potential to be used in suicides.