Oxymorphone Hydrochloride Addiction and Abuse

Oxymorphone hydrochloride is a potent semi-synthetic opioid and pain reliever. Currently, only the generic extended-release version is available by prescription in the US. The drug was removed by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017 due to its high abuse potential. Oxymorphone hydrochloride is ten times more powerful than morphine and significantly more addictive. Extended-release tablets provide pain relief for up to 12 hours following administration. Immediate-release versions last between three and four hours. The injectable version of the drug takes effect without about five to ten minutes. A rectally administered version is manufactured as well.

Oxymorphone hydrochloride achieves its effects by binding to two opioid receptors in the brain: the mu opioid receptor (MOR) and the delta opioid receptor (DOR). Oxymorphone hydrochloride is produced from thebaine, a minor constituent of the poppy plant (Papaver somniferum).

Oxymorphone hydrochloride is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It’s especially effective at alleviating pain associated with acute left ventricle failure and pulmonary edema. Oxymorphone hydrochloride is also indicated for use as a preoperative medication to relieve patient apprehension.

The extended-release version of oxymorphone hydrochloride is indicated for the treatment of chronic pain. It’s typically only prescribed to patients who are already taking less powerful painkillers. Individuals who take the extended-release version may also be administered the immediate-release version during flare-ups of severe pain.

Oxymorphone hydrochloride is an appealing drug to abuse due to its pleasure-inducing effects. It’s a powerful central nervous system depressant. By binding to opioid receptor sites, it increases relaxation and relieves pain by slowing down respiration, decreasing blood pressure, the heart rate, and by boosting levels of dopamine and other chemical messengers in the brain.

Oxymorphone hydrochloride is extremely habit-forming. When the pleasurable effects of the drug recede, the patient’s brain may crave more of the drug. As use continues and tolerance increases, the patient will need to take higher and more frequent doses to achieve the same effects.

Oxymorphone hydrochloride triggers the release of dopamine when it enters the bloodstream. This sidesteps the brain’s natural pathways. Over time, these pathways begin to deactivate in favor of the external stimulation provided by oxymorphone hydrochloride. The patient’s brain ultimately stops producing dopamine without the presence of oxymorphone hydrochloride and it can be difficult for the patient to experience pleasure without the drug.

Due to the severity of addiction that can occur with the use of oxymorphone hydrochloride, patients should never abruptly stop taking the drug. Detox should always be done under medical supervision. The prescribing doctor will gradually decrease the patient’s dosage and begin supplementing it with other opioids. Methadone and buprenorphine are long-acting opioids that are commonly prescribed for the management of oxymorphone hydrochloride discontinuation.

Other medications can be given to help mitigate specific withdrawal symptoms. Doctors may prescribe anti-nausea medications for gastrointestinal distress or sleeping pills for the treatment of insomnia. Medications may also be prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and depression that are associated with withdrawal.

If you have any questions regarding opioid abuse and detox, The Recovery Village is available to answer them. Contact our confidential helpline 24 hours a day at 352-771-2700.

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