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European Regulator Wants Painkiller Off Market

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The painkiller dextropropoxyphene should be withdrawn from the European market because patients using the 50-year-old drug have been dying from overdoses, says the European Medicines Agency (EMEA).

The drug is still on the market in the United States, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to withdraw it, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Dextropropoxyphene, which is called propoxyphene in the United States, is an opioid widely used to treat mild to moderate pain. It was first introduced in the United States in 1957 under the brand name Darvon and is marketed today by a wide number of generic drug makers. Opponents of the drug have tried for years to get it taken off the market, the newspaper said.

According to the EMEA, a "significant" number of Europeans have died from accidental or intentional overdoses of the drug, but it didn't provide an actual number, the Journal reported.

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