Oxymorphone is a Schedule II controlled substance classified as an opioid. Opioid drugs are also called narcotics, and this drug class includes prescription pain medications as well as the illicit street drug heroin. Oxymorphone is intended to be prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and to reduce anxiety before surgeries. Oxymorphone activates opioid receptors found throughout the body and changes how pain signals are sent. As with other opioids, it also slows the central nervous system and has a potential for misuse and dependence. While oxymorphone is effective as a pain reliever, it has many risks along with the misuse potential. Risks of oxymorphone can include changes in heart rate, breathing and blood pressure. Before someone is prescribed a drug like oxymorphone, their doctor will typically go over their medical history. Someone with a history of substance misuse might not be a good candidate to be prescribed an opioid. People with certain medical conditions including respiratory depression might not be prescribed oxymorphone either.
Alcohol is something commonly used by many Americans. It might not represent a problem if someone occasionally has a drink, but it can become a problem when alcohol is mixed with certain medications. There are prescription drugs that when mixed with alcohol can be deadly. Oxymorphone is one of those. First, when mixing alcohol and oxymorphone, the side effects of each substance are similar, and together they can amplify one another. Some of the common side effects of mixing alcohol and oxymorphone can include nausea, vomiting, lack of judgment, confusion, fainting, loss of coordination and overall impairment. Memory impairment and blackouts are likely when someone mixes alcohol and oxymorphone also. Someone who mixes alcohol and oxymorphone might seem significantly more impaired than they would otherwise.
Even more serious than the above side effects is the risk of respiratory depression. Both alcohol and oxymorphone depress the central nervous system, which controls breathing. Alcohol can increase the concentration of oxymorphone in the bloodstream of the patient. When the two are used together, respiratory depression can become significant to the point that someone overdoses or ultimately dies. If someone does experience respiratory depression, it can cause brain damage, coma or other complications as well as the risk of death.
If someone mixes alcohol and oxymorphone and they do overdose, it can be more difficult to treat. The oxymorphone overdose has to be treated separately from the alcohol, and both substances have to be removed from the body. While naloxone is used to reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose, it does not affect alcohol. Someone may have to be given naloxone as well having their stomach pumped to deal with the alcohol. Even if someone doesn’t overdose, mixing alcohol and oxymorphone can represent a polysubstance addiction problem. This can require specialized medical detox protocols and a specific course of treatment.
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