Oxymorphone is classified as a schedule II opioid analgesic drug. Opana and Opana ER are the brand names for oxymorphone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), oxymorphone is a prescription opioid known as a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic.
Examples of semi-synthetic opioid analgesic prescription drugs include oxycodone (Oxycontin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, and hydromorphone. These types of opioid medications are typically used to treat severe pain.
The Difference Between An Opioid & Opiate
The CDC states that opioids refer to all-natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic opioids. Opiates, however, only refer to the opioids that occur naturally, such as morphine or heroin.
Pain medications such as oxymorphone may be used to treat those suffering from chronic pain but can lead to substance abuse, causing a wide range of side effects to occur. Both natural opioids (opiates) and synthetic opioids can be habit-forming.
Side Effects Of Opioids
Opioids affect the central nervous system (CNS) by activating opioid receptors in the brain. This causes a sedative effect which can help with pain relief.
The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved oxymorphone hydrochloride for both immediate-release and extended-release tablets. Therefore, side effects can vary depending on the type of use and prescribed pain management.
Short-term side effects of opioids include:
- dry mouth
- decreased urination
Those who take opioids for long-term use may experience the following side effects:
- mental health problems such as mood swings, anxiety, and depression
- irregular breathing
- intense stomach pain or severe constipation
More serious side effects and complications can arise when a person develops a physical dependence to opioid medications like oxymorphone.
Since opioids such as oxymorphone are CNS depressants, it’s important to inform the doctor prescribing your medication of any other medications you take.
When taken with oxymorphone or other opioids, CNS depressants such as benzodiazepines and alcohol can lead to serious adverse effects such as an overdose.
One of the complications that can occur when opioids are abused is an overdose. Because opioids can be misused and abused, those addicted to the drug may begin taking it in higher doses. If you suspect that an overdose has occurred, contact 911 right away.
Symptoms of an oxymorphone overdose can include:
- respiratory depression
- cardiac arrest
- circulatory collapse
- decrease in blood pressure
- clammy skin
- constricted pupils
- decrease in heart rate
Opioid overdoses can occur more easily depending on if the person is injecting, snorting, or ingesting the drug. Ingestion of a single dose has a half-life of 7-9 hours, which means the drug remains in your system during this time.
Those addicted to oxymorphone can develop withdrawal symptoms such as:
- watery eyes
- back pain
- runny nose
- loss of appetite
- fast heartbeat and breathing
Oxymorphone Addiction Treatment
An opioid addiction can become severe and may require specific treatment options suggested by addiction treatment specialists or your healthcare provider.
The detoxification process must be completed before initiating certain medications to treat the addiction to opioids. A medical detox program helps stabilize and monitor patients during opioid withdrawal.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a buprenorphine/naloxone combination (Suboxone), as well as an extended-release naltrexone formulation, can be effective in treating opioid addiction.
Another approved medication for treating opioid use disorder is methadone. Any medication prescribed as part of a medication-assisted treatment program is likely combined with group therapy and peer support.
To learn about outpatient treatment options, including medication-assisted treatment, please contact us today.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Prescription Painkiller Overdoses
- Dove Medical Press: Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management — Review of oral oxymorphone in the management of pain
- Food & Drug Administration — Oxymorphone (marketed as Opana ER) Information
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Opioids
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxymorphone
- Pharmacy and Therapeutics — Oxymorphone Extended-Release Tablets (Opana ER) For the Management of Chronic Pain
Northeast Addition Editorial Team
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