Is Opana Abuse Taking Over Oxycontin Abuse?

 A headline from the USA Today from July 2012 reads “Opana abuse in USA overtakes OXYContin.” While many are familiar with Oxycontin, not much is known about Opana. Even still, the use of the prescription drug Oxymorphone, otherwise known as Opana, is on the rise. The illicit use of the prescription drug is highly addictive because of the euphoric sensation users claim to experience.

But why have people switched to Opana over Oxycontin? The abuse of Oxycontin became so rampant that the manufacturer of the drug decided to reformulate it in August of 2010.1 The new formula makes it impossible to crush, dissolve and inject.  Users quickly figured out that they could use Opana instead. Since then, Opana has also reformulated to a crush proof tablet, but earlier this year the FDA approved a generic form of the earlier Opana ER formula, so there is an expected uptick in Opana drug abuse.     

What is Opana?

Oxymorphone, otherwise known as Opana, is a prescription drug that is being sold illegally on the streets and being abused by addicts. This drug derives from the opioid and was introduced to the United States in 1959 to relieve patients of pain with fewer side effects than morphine or heroin. Opana has three brand names: Numorphan, Opana ER, and Opana IR.2 Numorphan comes in suppository form and as an injectable solution. Opana ER is a tablet with extended-release formula while Opana IR has an immediate release formula.  

The Dangerous Effects of Abusing Opana ER?

When an extended release pill is tampered with, the user is often exposed to a dosage that is lethal. Extended release pills should never be chewed, crushed or dissolved. Altering the tablet for consumption disrupts the intended dosage and the result of being exposed to a higher dosage could result in death. Drinking alcohol with Opana is also a lethal cocktail and could result in death.

What are the side effects of Opana?

There are both serious side effects and less serious side effects of Opana. It is recommended that you call a doctor if you experience shallow breathing, slow heartbeat, convulsions or seizure, clammy skin, disorientation, severe weakness or dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness.3  Less serious side effects include nausea, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, constipation, mild itching, dizziness, or drowsiness.4

How to deal with Opana addiction?

Drug addiction is like a chronic disease and needs to be treated daily, just like an illness like diabetes. There are treatments that help addicts learn how to choose a life without drugs and guide them down a path to recovery. It is recommended that you seek a recovery treatment program with both medical treatment and behavioral therapy. If you are looking to help someone you know get clean, please visit our intervention process page to learn what it’s really like.

Works Cited

1Leinwand Lege, Donna R. "USA TODAY." USATODAY.COM. USA Today, 11 July 2012. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

2Wikipedia. "Oxymorphone." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

3Cunha, John P. "Side Effects of Opana (Oxymorphone Hydrochloride) Drug Center - RxList." RxList. RxList Inc., n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.

4WebMD. "Opana ER Oral : Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing - WebMD." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 14 Nov. 2013.


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