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Article Summary

A Guide To Opana Addiction

Opana is a derivative of oxymorphone. Oxymorphone, on the other hand, is an opiate painkiller in the same class as oxycodone (OxyContin), methadone (Methadose), morphine (MS Contin), and hydrocodone (Lorcet, Lortab, and Vicodin).

Some people assume that oxymorphone is less addictive than OxyContin. However, when oxymorphone is broken down in the liver for elimination from the body, this metabolism inadvertently creates oxycodone.

Due to this reaction, scientists reformulated OxyContin and came up with Opana. However, the latter became better known and is now one of the most sought-after addictive substances.

Although Opana has been around for several years now, the oral formulation only received FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approval in 2006. Since then, it has been widely prescribed, and many people are addicted to it.

Read on to find out more about Opana:

Understanding Opana

Also referred to as oxymorphone, Opana is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic used since the 1960s for managing moderate to severe pain. The substance is also a pre-operative drug used for maintaining anesthesia and reducing anxiety. It is widely available both as an extended release formula and as a regular formula.

Today, Opana is classified as a centrally-acting analgesic. This is because it works directly on the CNS (central nervous system) where it increases sociability, reduces anxiety, and causes euphoria.

Although these euphoric effects are somewhat short-lived, they still cause a pattern of constant use and reuse. These effects might also be less drastic than those got from morphine but might be intensified when you mix Opana with alcohol.

Today, Opana is considered highly potent. As such, it is highly sought after and known by the following street names:

  • Blue heaven
  • Blues.
  • Mrs. O
  • New blues
  • Octagons
  • OM
  • Oranges
  • Orgasna IR
  • Pink heaven
  • Pink lady
  • Pink O
  • Stop signs
  • The O bomb

Although it is effective and potent as an analgesic, Opana might also be intentionally abused and used recreationally by those looking for the powerful high it creates. When you use this drug, you are highly likely to experience feelings of deep relaxation and euphoria, in addition to a decrease in any pain you might be feeling.

The substance is also classified by the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) as a Schedule II drug. This means that it comes with a high potential for tolerance, dependence, abuse, and addiction.

Although doctors prescribe Opana pills for oral consumption, those who abuse the substance do so in different ways. Some crush and snort it (nasal insufflations), while others take it intravenously (by injecting the crushed powder mixed with water into the blood stream).

Opana Uses

Opana is prescribed for swallowing to medicate moderate to severe pain. However, it is also widely abused for the euphoric effects it spurs when it gets into the central nervous system.

Doctors typically recommend this medication for treating pain, and not on an as-needed basis or for occasional use. The extended release version creates effects that might last for close to 12 hours.

However, since you might be severely allergic to narcotics and are likely to die when you take the drug, your doctor may choose to introduce Opana gradually starting with a dose of 5mg to be taken after every 4 hours before they increase the dose until your pain responds to the medication.

Still, this does not reduce the risk that you might soon start abusing the drug. When this happens, Opana might slow down CNS functions related to stress response, including anxiety levels, breathing rate, blood pressure, and heart rate.

Even if you use the drug for the purpose your doctor prescribed it for (pain relief), you might still develop tolerance and start taking more of your medication for instant relief. This will undoubtedly increase your risk of becoming dependent on the drug. This risk will increase if you take Opana for non-medical reasons, such as to get high.

Opana Effects

The effects arising from taking Opana might last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours. They include but are not limited to:

  • Decreased pain
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Increased relaxation
  • Euphoria (feeling high)

The other effects arising from using this medication are similar to what you would experience if you use other narcotic painkillers. These effects include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Cough
  • Cough suppression
  • Decreased urination
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Euphoria
  • Fatigue
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache,
  • Increased sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Itching
  • Lethargy
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of anxiety
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Pounding in the ears
  • Rashes
  • Relaxation
  • Slow heart beat
  • Slowing of respiration
  • Sunken eyes
  • Swollen lips and eyelids
  • Thirst
  • Vomiting
  • Wheezing

Opana Side Effects

The medication also comes with some side effects, such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Headache
  • Light-headedness
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Slowed respiratory rate
  • Vomiting

Opana Addictive Qualities

As a morphine derivative, Opana acts directly on the CNS to produce euphoric and analgesic effects. It works on the opioid receptors in the spinal cord and the brain, which might disrupt the normal biochemistry of the brain and interfere with its neurotransmitters.

If you use Opana for a long time, you are highly likely to experience dependence, tolerance, and eventual addiction. Your brain might also adjust at the chemical level to having the drug inside the system, which will make it difficult for you to stop using the drug. This is why Opana is habit forming and might cause serious addiction after long-term use.

As a prescription drug, Opana contains oxymorphone, an active ingredient. This makes it highly potent as a narcotic. If you try experimenting with the substance for recreational purposes, you might end up getting addicted, or even suffering fatal consequences.

Due to this risk, there are many reports of Opana overdoses. As a result, the company that manufactures this drug came up with a new formulation to reduce the risk of tolerance and abuse. However, if you are already addicted, you might continue struggling with the risk of overdose, as well as a variety of devastating health issues.

Opana Overdose

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), overdose on opioids such as Opana is an epidemic. The Centers report that around 78 people die on a daily basis from an opioid overdose. Over half of these fatalities involve prescription opioids such as Opana.

This prescription painkiller is so dangerous that a milligram is more potent than Oxycontin (oxycodone) as per a recent Reuters report. If you get used to abusing Oxycontin, you might find yourself getting and using Opana. This might cause you to suffer an overdose, the signs of which include:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Chest pain
  • Circulatory collapse
  • Clammy or cold skin
  • Coma
  • Death
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle flaccidity
  • Numb legs or arms
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Stupor

Overdosing on Opana might be complicated if you use other drugs (like sleeping aids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines) at the same time. These drugs also depress the central nervous system, making them dangerous when used in combination.

In some cases, overdose might be reversible especially when the doctors use an opioid antagonist like Naloxone (Narcan). If you suspect you or someone is about to overdose on Opana, the best thing you can do is get emergency medical assistance by calling 911 immediately. Prompt medical care might decrease the risk of long term complications and death.

Opana Withdrawal

Using Opana chronically is highly likely to increase your tolerance and cause you to become physically dependent. When this happens, you might need the drug to continue functioning normally.

If you stop using the drug abruptly, you may experience the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Anorexia
  • Backache
  • Bone pain
  • Chills
  • Cold
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Hypertension, or increased blood pressure
  • Increased respiration
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Lacrimation (tearing up)
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle spasms
  • Myalgia (muscle pain)
  • Mydriasis (pupil dilation)
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Rhinorrhea (a runny nose)
  • Seizures
  • Sweating
  • Tachycardia (irregular or heightened heart rate)
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Yawning

Opana Dangers

One of the main dangers arising from abusing Opana is dependence and addiction. When this happens, you might see a cut in your relationships, achievements, motivation, productivity, and self-esteem. The drug may also shorten your lifespan.

A recent study found that the typical addict loses an average of $175 million over their lifetime in the form of lost earnings. Further, research teams following those addicted to narcotics over 33 years discover that their life expectancies were much shorter than those of non-addicts.

However, the greatest danger that arises from abusing Opana revolves is an overdose-related death. If you experience any of the signs of an overdose, you should seek emergency medical assistance.

In the most severe of cases, you might stop breathing and suffer circulatory collapse or cardiac arrest before dying suddenly.

Opioids like Opana affect the nervous system that controls heart beats, body temperature, breathing, sexual response, defecation, and other automatic bodily functions.

As such, using these types of drugs might increase your risk of developing severe lung diseases like pneumonia. Further, the side effects of appetite suppression and pneumonia might also prove to be devastating in the sense that you will only start preferring easily-digested foods and carbohydrates. This might, in turn, lead to intestinal problems such as impacted bowels and malnutrition.

While addicted to Opana, you may also develop severe skin infections and abscesses. Using these types of drugs also increases the risk of injuries and accidents. Since you won't feel pain easily, it might be harder for you to remain vigilant with anything that might be wrong with your body.

In the same way, mixing alcohol with Opana - even if the alcohol is in the OTC (over the counter) cold medications you are taking - you are highly likely to suffer an overdose reaction. Breaking the pills and taking them might also cause the entire oxymorphone volume to be released at a go, which might trigger an overdose.

Last but not least, overdosing on Opana is highly fatal, and might not be a risk you would like to take. In case you are addicted to the drug, the best thing you can do is seek medical assistance.

Signs And Symptoms Of Opana Abuse

As an opioid, the signs and symptoms of Opana use, abuse, tolerance, dependence, and addiction are quite similar to those suffered by those who are addicted to opiates like heroin.

These signs and symptoms include:

  • Constipation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Euphoria
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

The other signs that someone is abusing Opana include:

  • You look for reasons to take the drug, even when you do not need it
  • Acquiring and using the medication becomes a priority and stops you from attending to your other responsibilities
  • You repeatedly claim that you have lost your prescription
  • You exaggerate the levels of pain you are feeling while consulting your doctor hoping that they will prescribe Opana
  • Tampering with your prescription
  • Doctor shopping
  • Buying the medication over the internet when you don't have a prescription
  • Mixing the drug with other substances, such as alcohol
  • Requiring more frequent or higher doses
  • Selling drugs to support your Opana habit
  • Wearing long sleeves to conceal the sites where you inject the drug through

Treatment For Opana Addiction

Post-detoxification addiction treatment might occur on an outpatient or an inpatient basis. However, inpatient treatment might be more structured and, therefore, more effective in helping you quit Opana.

However, an outpatient program will certainly give you the flexibility and freedom to continue living at home. Occasionally, you will be required to check in with your counselor at the program to ensure that you are keeping away from the drug.

Both types of facilities come with their unique pros and cons. As such, you need to understand the differences and what you stand to gain so that you end up picking the best facility for your particular needs and requirements.

That said, you might benefit from the around the clock intensive care provided at most inpatient/residential addiction treatment centers. Since you will live at the facility, it follows that you may end up completely focusing on your recovery. The center might also provide other programs to address any underlying behavioral and mental issues that may have contributed to your Opana addiction.

The other treatments that might help expedite your recovery include group therapy, family therapy, individual therapy, healthy eating, meditation, and education, among others.

In conclusion, you are highly likely to quit Opana and start adjusting to a life without the substance. You might, for instance, be required to attend support groups while undergoing treatment to build the community that will support you in your journey to a drug-free lifestyle.

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