Opioid painkillers like Opana carry a variety of risks, including the potential for abuse, dependence, addiction and overdose.

Opioid painkillers like Opana can lead to abuse, dependence and addiction. Knowing the many risks is important before taking this drug. The following provides an overview of how Opana can lead to addiction, what the drug looks like and its potential risks.

What Is Opana (Oxymorphone)?

Oxymorphone is a prescription drug classified as an opioid pain reliever (analgesic). Opioid analgesics are also known as narcotics, and drugs within this class treat pain by changing how the brain and body respond to pain signals.

Oxymorphone can be prescribed to treat severe pain. In many cases, it’s prescribed to people who cannot tolerate other medications or don’t receive pain relief from them. Oxymorphone is usually prescribed as a tablet, which is taken as needed. Someone with a short-acting oxymorphone prescription may take it every four to six hours as needed; their doctor will usually start them on the lowest possible dose and increase it when needed.

The brand name drug Opana has been discontinued. However, generic, extended-release versions of oxymorphone are still available by prescription in the U.S. This long-acting version can be taken every 12 hours.

Oxymorphone extended-release tablets are sometimes used to manage chronic pain in people who are already opioid-tolerant and using an immediate-release opioid. Possible adverse side effects of oxymorphone include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness

More serious side effects are also possible, including fatal respiratory depression.

What Does Oxymorphone Look Like?

Oxymorphone is available in tablet form. However, because the drug has many different doses and manufacturers, oxymorphone tablet shapes and colors can vary widely. Some versions of oxymorphone are oval-shaped and printed with different numbers to represent the dosage.

Oxymorphone is only available as a generic drug. Brand names of oxymorphone have included Opana and Opana ER but were removed from the market.

Opana (Oxymorphone) Addiction

Because oxymorphone is a Schedule II controlled substance, it carries a high risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. Addiction has many dangers, including the potential for overdose. Friends and loved ones are often the first to notice a budding Opana addiction.

Is Oxymorphone Addictive?

Opioids like oxymorphone are extremely addictive because they bind to mu-opioid receptors throughout the brain and body. This can create a euphoric response in patients, leading to addiction. With extended-release opioids, the risks can be even more dangerous. Some people crush and snort extended-release versions of oxymorphone; others dissolve them so they’re injectable. These methods deliver the full potency of the drug all at once, creating a stronger high and increasing the chances of overdosing.

Oxymorphone is a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. This means the federal government sees oxymorphone as having a high potential for abuse, addiction and dependence. Oxymorphone also has a boxed warning informing people about the risks of addiction, dependence and overdose. Before prescribing oxymorphone, doctors often review their patient’s medical history and history of substance use to minimize risk.

Effects of Opana Addiction

Chronic use of Opana can cause serious side effects, including:

  • Constipation: Opana can slow down the digestive system, leading to constipation. This can be a very uncomfortable and even painful condition.
  • Breathing problems while sleeping: Opana can depress the central nervous system, leading to breathing problems while sleeping. This is called sleep apnea, which can be dangerous and even fatal.
  • Bone fractures: Opana can weaken bones, which can increase the risk of fractures. This is especially a concern for older adults and people with osteoporosis.
  • Hormone problems: Opana can affect the production of hormones, such as testosterone and estrogen. This can lead to problems, including infertility, sexual dysfunction and mood swings.
  • Overdose: Opana overdose is a serious and potentially fatal condition. Overdose symptoms can include slow breathing, shallow breathing, pinpoint pupils, cold and clammy skin and loss of consciousness.

Opana (Oxymorphone) Overdose

Oxymorphone can cause a life-threatening overdose if a too large dose is taken. Knowing what to do if you suspect an overdose can help avoid a fatal outcome.

Signs and Symptoms of an Oxymorphone Overdose

The primary symptom of an oxymorphone overdose is slow, shallow breathing. The overdose victim’s breathing may seem labored or stop altogether. Other signs and symptoms of an oxymorphone overdose can include:

  • Unresponsiveness
  • Nodding off or losing consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Slow pulse
  • Irregular breathing
  • Lips or fingernails that appear purple
  • Gurgling or snoring sounds
  • Being awake but unable to talk
  • Limpness in the body
  • Vomiting

Common Opana Overdose Risk Factors

Risk factors for an oxymorphone overdose include:

  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Continuing to take it even when pain is no longer an issue
  • Taking it more often than instructed
  • Using oxymorphone without a prescription
  • Combining oxymorphone with alcohol
  • Using oxymorphone with other central nervous system depressants, such as benzodiazepines
  • Using multiple opioids simultaneously
  • Detoxing from opioids and then taking them again after detox (the person’s tolerance would likely be lower, which would make them more susceptible to an overdose)
  • Injecting or snorting oxymorphone

Mixing Alcohol and Oxymorphone

Mixing alcohol and oxymorphone is dangerous. Oxymorphone is a powerful opioid pain medication that can depress the central nervous system. When alcohol and oxymorphone are mixed, the effects of each substance are amplified, which can lead to serious side effects, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lack of judgment
  • Confusion
  • Fainting
  • Loss of coordination
  • Memory impairment
  • Blackouts
  • Respiratory depression

Respiratory depression is a serious condition when breathing slows down or stops. This can be fatal if it is not treated. Alcohol can increase the concentration of oxymorphone in the bloodstream, which can make respiratory depression more likely.

If you are taking oxymorphone, it is important to avoid alcohol altogether.

Opana (Oxymorphone) Withdrawal and Detox

Withdrawal occurs as a part of the detox process, which is the body’s elimination of substances. If a person struggles with Opana addiction, their body has become dependent on the drug. Because their body relies on the drug to function, someone can feel ill if they go without the substance. This sick feeling is withdrawal, characterized by physical and psychological symptoms accompanying the body adjusting to a lack of the drug.

Some symptoms of Opana withdrawal can include:

  • Sweating
  • Tears
  • Chills
  • Big pupils
  • Watery eyes
  • Restlessness
  • Yawning
  • Irritability
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Joint pain
  • Insomnia

Opana Withdrawal Timeline

The acute phase of Opana withdrawal usually lasts up to five days. Initial symptoms can feel like a mild case of the flu and may also include anxiety, insomnia, agitation and drug cravings. During the peak of withdrawal, a person may feel sick, have chills and experience cravings. Symptoms usually start going away after a week, but symptoms can sometimes last longer. This is known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Someone with PAWS can experience depression or anxiety for weeks or months after their last dose.

Opana withdrawal timeline generally follows the same schedule:

  • Within 24 hours: Withdrawal symptoms can start within 12 hours after the last dose of Opana and within one to three days after the last dose of Opana ER.
  • Within 48 hours: Withdrawal symptoms peak 24–48 hours after the last Opana dose and around three to eight days after the last Opana ER dose.
  • Within one week: Symptoms improve after the first 48 hours, then resolve over the next three to five days after the last Opana dose and can last more than a week after the last Opana ER dose.
  • Within the next few months: PAWS can lead to mental changes, depression, anxiety and cravings for weeks or months after quitting Opana or Opana ER.

Oxymorphone Detox

The detox process, including managing withdrawal symptoms, is best completed under the supervision of a medical professional. For example, doctors may reduce the drug dose slowly. This is tapering, which can help someone avoid uncomfortable and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Medical detox can also be used as the first step of addiction treatment. This is especially important for those with co-occurring mental health problems and those who use multiple substances. People should avoid trying to detox at home without proper help. Oxymorphone withdrawal can be dangerous and cause extreme discomfort, which could increase the risk of relapse.

Can I Just Quit Opana Cold Turkey?

Quitting Opana cold turkey without medical help is not recommended. This can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to avoid relapse and lead to complications like dehydration.

Can I Quit Oxymorphone Without Rehab?

Staying off Opana long-term without rehab is unlikely. Undergoing a rehab program for at least 90 days is the best way to stay off Opana long-term.

How Long Does Opana (Oxymorphone) Stay In Your System?

The time oxymorphone can be detected in the system by a drug test varies depending on the type of test and the individual’s metabolism. In general, oxymorphone can be detected in urine and saliva for up to three days, in a hair sample for up to 90 days and in blood for up to 9.5 hours.

The half-life of oxymorphone can be more than 11 hours. Because it takes about five half-lives for the drug to be eliminated from the body, it can take more than two days to clear the drug completely.

Treatment for Opana (Oxymorphone) Addiction

Opana addiction can be overwhelming and scary, but recovery is possible with help. The first step to Opana recovery is medical detox, in which you are slowly weaned off the drug while under inpatient medical supervision. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with buprenorphine or methadone may be used if medically appropriate. Following medical detox, rehab begins: options include both inpatient and outpatient rehab.

Inpatient Oxymorphone Rehab

Inpatient rehab programs are designed to give you a safe and supportive place to live on-site while focusing on your recovery. Each program is specifically designed to increase independence as you prepare to reenter the outside world. Treatment options include:

  • Intensive inpatient rehab: This high level of care is for those still experiencing withdrawal symptoms or other complex medical issues.
  • Residential rehab: This program is designed for those requiring an inpatient sober living environment and includes those with co-occurring disorders such as mental health issues.
  • Partial hospitalization: This program acts as a bridge to prepare you for the transition to outpatient rehab.

Outpatient Oxymorphone Rehab

Outpatient rehab programs offer increasing independence and allow you to reenter the outside world while still getting the needed support from rehab. Multiple outpatient treatment options exist, including:

  • Intensive outpatient rehab: This program allows you to live off-site in a sober living environment while maintaining your rehab time at the facility.
  • Outpatient rehab: This program allows you to start reentering the outside world and taking care of work or school responsibilities while attending rehab. Teletherapy options may be available.

Following outpatient rehab, aftercare programs are available to help keep you focused on your recovery through participation in alumni and support groups.

Get Help for Oxymorphone Addiction Today

If you or someone you love is struggling with oxymorphone use, help is available. The Recovery Village works with people ready to recover from addiction and regain control of their lives. Contact us today to learn more about addiction treatment plans and programs that can work well for your needs.

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Editor – Theresa Valenzky
Theresa Valenzky graduated from the University of Akron with a Bachelor of Arts in News/Mass Media Communication and a certificate in psychology. She is passionate about providing genuine information to encourage and guide healing in all aspects of life. Read more
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Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more

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Medical Disclaimer

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.