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Article Summary


Opana (Oxymorphone) is a drug that is a powerful semi-synthetic opioid analgesic that is closely related to morphine; this medication is classified with a group of drugs that are known as narcotic pain relievers. Opana is generally used to treat individuals who are experiencing moderate to severe pain for an extended period of time; additionally, the medication may be used prior to surgery to cause sedation and to reduce anxiety. Opana works by dulling the pain perception center in the brain; at higher doses, it can affect other systems of the body, including those that control respiration and circulation.

Opana is available in tablet form and can also be administered by injection or suppository, and the extended-release form of the drug has been reported to work from anywhere from 6 to 36 hours; additionally, an oxymorphone nasal spray is in the process of being developed. Opana has a variety of slang names on the street, including Mrs. O, OM, Pink O, and The O Bomb, just to name a select few.

Opana Side Effects

The most common side effects of Opana have been reported to include, but are not limited to: constipation, nausea, vomiting and stomach pain, blurred vision, anxiety, abdominal pain, diarrhea, loss of appetite, dizziness, headache, anxiety, memory problems, and insomnia. The more serious, but less common side effects of Opana may include, but are not limited to: slow heartbeat, shallow breathing, cold and clammy skin, confusion, uncoordinated muscle movements, light-headedness, abnormal thinking, inability to urinate, memory loss, insomnia, severe weakness, fainting, convulsions, seizures and death.

Although Opana has been reported to be effective in relieving severe pain adequately, it has also been reported to impair the user's mental and physical performance. Many individuals have reported that using Opana has significantly decreased their sex drive and that the drug can also cause severe constipation; additionally, a percentage of women that have taken the powerful opiate based drug, have reported an interruption in their menstrual cycles.

Opana Abuse

Opana abuse and addiction has been reported to be among the highest, when it is compared to a large number of other types of similar drugs that are currently being used for the treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain; additionally, drug overdose rates that have been linked directly to Opana have increased dramatically over the past three years.

Oxymorphone was marketed in tablet form during the early 1970's as Numorphan, but the drug was withdrawn as the result of regulatory pressures, as it was being sought by any means necessary by some narcotic addicts. During this earlier period of time, oxymorphone tablets were popularly known as "blues," because of their light blue color. Because these tiny blue tablets had very few insoluble binders, they were especially easy to inject, and extremely potent when used intravenously;"blues" were considered to be comparable to or better than heroin. Prior to the drugs removal from the U.S. market, oxymorphone was the most sought after and well-regarded opioid of the intravenous drug using community.

Opana Addiction

Because Opana is an opiate narcotic, it has an extremely high potential for addiction; thus, tolerance and physical dependence on the drug are likely to develop rapidly. Opana (oxymorphone) has proven to be so highly addictive, that in controlled studies that compared the physiological effects of injected heroin and oxymorphone, subjects showed no preference for one drug over the other; additionally, addiction studies conducted by the same team or researchers further demonstrated that tolerance and dependence developed at a similar rate with both heroin and Opana use.

Opana addiction can quickly begin to take its toll on an user, causing a number of devastating long-term effects. As with other types of opiate based narcotics, the psychological dependence that has commonly been associated with Opana addiction can persist well beyond the typical physical withdrawal period. Long after the physical need for oxymorphone has passed; a person may still suffer from the side effects from Opana addiction that include severe depression, anxiety, insomnia, mood swings, forgetfulness, confusion, paranoia, and various other types of psychological disorders.

Opana Withdrawal Symptoms

Opana withdrawal includes both physical and psychological symptoms, which will occur as a result of abruptly stopping the use of the drug. The symptoms of Opana withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant, so much so that many people will begin to start taking the drug again in order to get relief. Opana withdrawal symptoms are usually experienced shortly before the time of the next scheduled dose, but they can occur as early as four to six hours after the last administration of the drug.

Early Opana withdrawal symptoms may include, but are not limited to, watery eyes, insomnia, diarrhea, runny nose, dysphoria, sweating and an intense craving for oxymorphone. As withdrawal from Opana progresses, the individual is likely to begin to experience more intense drug withdrawal symptoms, such as severe depression, insomnia, diarrhea, restlessness, loss of appetite, body aches, severe abdominal pain, nausea, tremors, and an even more stronger and intense craving for the drug. Opana withdrawal has been reported to be extremely similar to heroin withdrawal, and the individual will typically experience chills, kicking movements of the legs and excessive sweating. Severe muscle spasms, pains in the bones and the muscles of the back and extremities are also common Opana withdrawal symptoms.

Opana withdrawal symptoms have generally been reported to peak between 48 and 96 hours after the last dose of the drug and will usually begin to subside after about 7-10 days. It is important to note that the sudden withdrawal from oxymorphone by long term users could potentially be fatal; for this reason alone, a person should go through the Opana detoxification process under the watchful eye of trained detox professionals at a quality drug treatment center.

Opana Overdose

An Opana overdose can occur when a person accidentally or intentionally ingests more of the drug then the body is able to handle. Emergency help should be sought immediately if a person who has taken Opana experiences the following symptoms: pinpoint pupils, stupor, difficult or slow breathing, slowed pulse, nausea, vomiting, constipation, flaccid muscles, low blood pressure, extreme fatigue, blue fingernails and lips, spasms of the stomach or intestinal tract, palpitations, coma, apnea, circulatory collapse, bradycardia, hypotension, cardiac arrest or death.

Treatment for an Opana overdose should begin by immediately contacting emergency medical assistance at the first sign of a potential problem; having a sense of urgency during this situation could save an individual's life. Treatment for an Opana overdose may include, but will not be limited to, the administration of intravenous fluids, and continuous monitoring of the person's vital signs. Laxatives and activated charcoal are commonly used to treat an Opana overdose in order to try to soak up the remnants of oxymorphone in the stomach.

Opana Drug Facts

  • Consuming alcohol with Opana, particularly when it is prescribed in extended release form, could be extremely dangerous, and could potentially be fatal.
  • Opana should be used with caution when it is prescribed to elderly patients, as these individuals are likely to be much more sensitive to the drug's effects.
  • Opana was originally thought to have a lesser incidence of side effects than morphine or heroin, in that it was reported to generate less sedation and was also considered to have a lower dependence liability; although the drug has proven to have less sedative effects, it is reported to be highly addictive, even when it is being compared to other powerful opioids like morphine and heroin.
  • A 40 milligram tablet of Opana has been reported to be equal to 200 milligrams of Oxycontin, which is creating a major concern in relation to drug overdoses when the drug is combined with alcohol and various other types of illicit or prescription drugs.
  • Opana is not restricted in availability to larger metropolitan areas; instead, this powerful opiate based drug has been netted in drug sweeps within communities such as Beatrice, Nebraska, which has a population of slightly over 12,000 people.
  • According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), over 200 deaths that were reported during the first half of 2010 were attributed to Opana use.
  • Opana, unlike Oxycontin, does not give the user a sedated feeling; instead, the euphoric effects of this powerful opioid are reported to last much longer than Oxycontin.
  • There have been numerous reports of heroin user's throughout the United States switching to Opana, because they could get higher on this prescription opioid than they could on heroin.
  • Opana is estimated to be from five to eight times more powerful than morphine, and is reported to be extremely popular with young people, giving them a potent way to get high.
  • Opana became popular during 2010 when the makers of OxyContin reformulated their pills so they couldn't be crushed and snorted; currently in the United States; the makers of Opana are promising to do the same thing.
  • Opana (Oxymorphone) was originally developed in Germany, and then was later patented in the United States by Endo Pharmaceuticals.

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