With the announcement that Opana ER will no longer be in production, Oxycontin may be a substitute for patients using the prescription drug. Opioids, regardless of small differences, typically act very much the same.

For example, all opioids bind to certain receptors in the central nervous system and reduce pain. In larger amounts, opioids have the potential to create a euphoric high and many of the side effects are similar between drugs, such as nausea and dizziness. Medical opioids also have a high potential for abuse, which is why they are available only with a prescription.

What Is Opana?

Opana is a brand name for the opioid oxymorphone, which is prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. In some cases, oxymorphone is used prior to surgery to relieve anxiety and induce sedation.

This narcotic works on the central nervous system to reduce pain as with other opioids and some of the side effects can include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, sweating and vomiting.

There was recently an announcement made about Opana ER, which is an extended-release version of the drug. Production of oxymorphone hydrochloride extended-release is ending according to an announcement from the pharmaceutical company Endo International.

This means patients who use Opana ER are going to have to move to a different drug, which makes the comparison of Opana vs. OxyContin even more relevant. The FDA asked the Endo company to stop selling it because the injectable form of the drug was linked to problems such as a 2015 outbreak of hepatitis C and HIV in Indiana.

Oxymorphone comes with several black box warnings that were in place before the company decided to stop selling it, and are common with many opioids. The drug was frequently abused because of the ability of people to crush, chew or dissolve the extended-release tablets. This leads to a rapid release of the dose of the drug, and it increases the chance of overdose.

What is OxyContin?

When comparing Opana vs. OxyContin, the two drugs are very similar, and it may be that as people are required to stop taking Opana ER, doctors may move patients to OxyContin instead.

OxyContin, like Opana ER, is an extended-release drug. One difference is that Opana is hydromorphone while OxyContin is oxycodone, but it’s a relatively small difference.

While the similarities are there, particularly regarding the extended-release element of the two drugs, when it comes to the strength and potency of Opana vs. OxyContin, Opana is generally much stronger than OxyContin. Another key difference between Opana vs. OxyContin is the fact that while they are both pain medicine, oxymorphone is used before surgery for anxiety and sedation. OxyContin is not used in that respect and is instead typically used for pain ranging from moderate to severe.

With both Opana and OxyContin, there are similar risks including addiction and abuse, along with the risk of overdose. With both drugs, the risk of overdose is particularly high when people chew, crush or dissolve the tablets, or when they mix it with other substances, especially when the other substances depress the central nervous system.

So, when comparing Opana vs. Oxycontin, are they the same? Not exactly, but they have many similarities. Key similarities include how they work on the central nervous system and the extended-release element of both drugs.

If you or a loved one live with an addiction to opioids, consider seeking help. Contact The Recovery Village today to find out how addiction treatment can set you on the path to a healthier future.

Thomas Christiansen
Editor – Thomas Christiansen
With over a decade of content experience, Tom produces and edits research articles, news and blog posts produced for Advanced Recovery Systems. Read more
Christina Caplinger
Medically Reviewed By – Christina Caplinger, RPh
Christina Caplinger is a licensed pharmacist in both Colorado and Idaho and is also a board-certified pharmacotherapy specialist. Read more
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The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.