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. Before taking this drug, it’s important to be aware of the many risks involved. The following provides an overview of how Opana can lead to addiction, what the drug looks like and the potential risks it carries.

What Is 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 possible as well, including fatal respiratory depression.

What Does Oxymorphone Look Like?

Oxymorphone is available in tablet form. However, because there are many different doses and manufacturers for the drug, 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 these were removed from the market.

Is Oxymorphone Addictive?

Opioids like oxymorphone are extremely addictive because they bind to mu-opioid receptor sites found throughout the brain and body. This can create a euphoric response in patients, which can then lead 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 one time, which creates a stronger high but also increases the chances of overdosing.

Oxymorphone is a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. This means the DEA and federal government see oxymorphone as having a high potential for severe physical and psychological dependence. Oxymorphone also has a Black Box Warning that warns people about the risks of addiction, dependence and overdose. Before prescribing oxymorphone, doctors are advised to go over their patient’s medical history and history of substance use.

If you or someone you love is struggling with oxymorphone use, help is available. The Recovery Village works with people who are 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 – Jonathan Strum
Jonathan Strum graduated from the University of Nebraska Omaha with a Bachelor's in Communication in 2017 and has been writing professionally ever since. 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

U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Oxymorphone (marketed as Opana ER) Information.” February 6, 2018. Accessed September 12, 2021.

Endo Pharmaceuticals. “OXYMORPHONE HYDROCHLORIDE extended-relea[…], for oral use, CII.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, January 2015. Accessed September 12, 2021.

Drugs.com. “Oxymorphone.” June 25, 2020. Accessed September 12, 2021.

Drugs.com. “Oxymorphone Pill Images.” Accessed September 12, 2021.

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.