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Article Summary


Opana is an extremely potent prescription opioid medication that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a brand name of the opioid drug oxymorphone. There is an extended release version of the drug called Opana ER which is prescribed for around-the-clock pain relief.

Opana Withdrawal

Opana acts in those areas of the brain and central nervous system which regulate pain, pleasure and feelings of reward. So, while Opana does provide pain relief when used for legitimate purposes, it also has a high potential for abuse even at regularly prescribed doses. An individual who has been on Opana for even a short period of time can become accustomed to its effects and find it very hard to function without the drug because they will experience the effects of opioid withdrawal if they stop taking it. Someone who was using Opana regularly and stopped taking it suddenly may not know what opiate withdrawal felt like, and may not understand why they feel sick, have body aches, can't sleep, feel depressed etc. If more Opana or some other opioid prescription drug is administered, withdrawal symptoms can be alleviated. This is the cycle of dependence with these types of narcotic prescription drugs.

Opana Effects

Like all opiates and opioids medications, Opana can slow or stop your breathing. This is particularly common when someone first starts taking the drug or changes to a higher dose. The ER (extended-release) version of Opana can cause a potentially fatal overdose very easily if the pill is crushed, broken, or otherwise compromised and all of the medication is released into the system at one time. Consuming alcohol or other depressants such as sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, sedatives, tranquilizers, or antipsychotic medications while taking Opana can significantly increase the risks associated with dangerous side effects and overdose. Opana overdose symptoms may include shallow breathing, extreme drowsiness, slowed heart rate, cold and clammy skin, muscle weakness, confusion, pinpoint pupils, fainting, or coma. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms while taking the drug or witness an Opana user experiencing any of these overdose symptoms contact 911 immediately.

Opana Addiction

Opana ER (extended-release) was first approved in 2006 but was later reformulated in 2012, to make the drug less likely to be abused intra-nasally or by injection. The Food and Drug Administration later determined however that the reformulation of the drug didn't lower these risks, and declined to approve requests from its manufacturer to label the drug as having abuse-deterrent properties. Even considering the drug was reformulated to lower abuse potential, in 2015 shared needles containing Opana ER helped spread the HIV infection to over 142 people in Indiana. Recognizing the severe problem that even the reformulated version of Opana ER is causing with addiction and complications of addiction including serious disease outbreak, the FDA has recently requested its complete withdrawal from the market. The manufacturer of the drug Endo, which sold nearly $60 million dollars worth of Opana ER in 2015 is fighting this request.

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