Opana (Oxymorphone) Addiction & Abuse

Oxymorphone is a prescription drug classified as an opioid analgesic. Opioid analgesics are also called narcotics, and this drug class treats pain by changing how the brain and body respond to pain signals. Oxymorphone can be prescribed to treat pain that’s moderate to severe, in people who don’t receive pain relief from other medications or who can’t tolerate them. Oxymorphone is usually prescribed as a tablet, and it is taken as needed. Someone prescribed oxymorphone may take it every four to six hours, and their doctor will usually start them on the lowest possible dose and then go upward from there if needed. Oxymorphone is a semi-synthetic opioid, and in 2017, the FDA asked for the product to be removed from the U.S. marketplace because of the opioid epidemic. That FDA request led to Endo International removing Opana ER, a brand-name of oxymorphone, from the market. Generic, extended-release versions of oxymorphone are still available by prescription in the U.S.

Oxymorphone is used not only as a pain reliever but also sometimes as something given to patients before an operation to help alleviate anxiety or fear. 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 and drowsiness. These are the common side effects, but there are other more serious negative effects possible with oxymorphone as well, including fatal respiratory depression.

Oxymorphone is usually given in tablet form. A five mg dose of oxymorphone hydrochloride is printed with E794 5 and is blue and round. A ten mg dose of oxymorphone is red and round, with the imprint E795. There is also a ten mg dose of oxymorphone hydrochloride that’s round and white and printed with 54 814. Some versions of oxymorphone are elliptical or oval-shaped and are printed with different numbers to represent the dosage. Brand names of oxymorphone have included Normorphan, which is a suppository and injectable solution as well as Opana ER, which was removed from the market. There’s also Opana IR, which is an immediate-release version of oxymorphone.
Oxymorphone is extremely addictive, which is why the FDA requested it be removed from the market. Oxymorphone binds to opioid receptor sites found throughout the brain and body. Opioids like oxymorphone can create a euphoric response in patients, which can lead to addiction. With extended-release opioids such as Opana ER, the risks can be even more dangerous. People crush extended-release versions of oxymorphone and other opioid drugs and then either snort them or dissolve them, so they’re injectable. That delivers the full potency of the drug all at one time, which creates a stronger high but also increases the chances of overdosing. Along with addiction, oxymorphone can cause physical dependence as well.

There is a black box warning issued with oxymorphone regarding the risks of addiction, dependence, and overdose. Before someone gets prescribed oxymorphone, their doctor should go over their medical history and any history they might have of substance misuse. Oxymorphone is also a Schedule II controlled substance in the U.S. This highlights the fact that the DEA and the federal government see oxymorphone as having a high potential for severe dependence, physically and psychologically.

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Most people who have an addiction problem, particularly if it’s moderate to severe, require professional treatment. There are several main treatment options for oxymorphone addiction symptoms. Most addiction treatment begins with medical detox. Then, a patient can begin an inpatient or outpatient rehab program. Many rehab programs have different components. For example, someone might start with a medical detox and then complete inpatient rehab, and an outpatient treatment plan may follow that.

While the lengths of treatment vary, all inpatient rehabs require patients live in the treatment facility. A short-term oxymorphone rehab usually lasts for 28 days or more. A long-term inpatient or residential oxymorphone rehab may last for anywhere from six to 12 months. During long-term inpatient rehab, patient’s treatment plans focus not only on the addiction but also on how they can change their lifestyle, behavioral, and thought patterns to live a productive life. Most long-term inpatient rehab programs offer in-depth services, including supportive therapies and employment training. The commonality between all forms of inpatient oxymorphone rehab is the highly structured, supervised environment. Patients don’t have the ability to come and go as they please, and their days are highly regimented. This level of structure and supervision can be beneficial for many people who are struggling with addiction.

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