Opana is the brand name for the drug oxymorphone hydrochloride. The medication is available in tablet form, in varying strengths.
Opana (oxymorphone hydrochloride) tablet is considered an opioid agonist drug. This means it contains opium, which is a substance derived from the opium poppy (Papaver somniferum).
These types of drugs can cause addiction; for this and other reasons it is considered a Schedule II controlled substance, and can (or should) only be obtained with a prescription.
Why Is Opana Prescribed?
Opana is prescribed for pain that is considered moderate to severe, but is of such a nature that it requires continuous management. For this reason, Opana is most often prescribed in an extended-release form, so that it will work longer.
People who need pain management and control on a continuous basis include those suffering from diseases such as end-stage cancer or other severely debilitating diseases. Opana is not intended for use as a "needed" analgesic; that is, one that is prescribed for only a short period of time (such as after surgery or an injury.)
Statistics Relating To Opana
Because Oxymorphone (the generic name for Opana) does contain opioids, it tends to be easily abused, and, again, can be addictive. And, even though it is a prescription drug, meaning that written authorization must be obtained by a licensed or authorized health care professional in order to obtain it, this still does not mean it can't be abused.
Statistics reveal that approximately 7.0 million of the U. S. population has used some form of prescription drug considered as a psychotherapeutic drug. Of these 7.0 million people, painkillers were the "drug of choice" for 5.2 million. This figure has increased from 4.7 in 2005.
The figures above were derived from a survey taken of Americans age 12 and older, and it represents prescription drug use during the month prior to the survey being taken. For many of these people, there was no medical reason for needing oxymorphone.
One may wonder if certain drugs such as Oxymorphone are only available by prescription, how a person would be able to obtain them. Within the past 12 months of the survey time, 55.7% of the people who reported using prescription drugs, including painkillers, stated they were able to obtain them from a relative or friend, and did not have to pay for the drug.
How Is Opana Abused?
Because oxymorphone is an extended-released drug, it is very important that the tablet be swallowed whole and not broken, chewed, dissolved, crushed, or have its composition changed in any way. Doing this will cause the oxymorphone dosage to be released too rapidly, which can cause an overdose.
However, because some people want to experience the effects of opioid drugs as quickly as possible, this is exactly what they do. Some of those who dissolve the drug go so far as to inject it into the body so that it can get into the bloodstream faster.
Other ways that Opana can be abused is by taking more of the drug than has been prescribed or taking it more often than it is meant to be. It should be remembered that this is an extended-release drug, and small amounts of it are constantly in the body. Taking too much or taking it more often can also lead to overdose, just as changing the composition of the tablet can.
Even when taken in the prescribed dosage, with dosage instructions being followed exactly, Opana can still have certain effects on the body. These include, but are not limited to:
- Suppressed breathing. This can occur faster or become worse in patients who already have difficulty breathing because of a pre-existing condition such as emphysema or other problems.
- A sharp decrease in blood pressure.
- Obstruction in the gastrointestinal tract. Again, this may occur more rapidly or worsen in patients who are suffering from gastrointestinal blockage caused by disease, injury, or some other circumstance.
Opana Abuse Treatment Options
Treatment options include using non-narcotic pain relievers when pain is being well-controlled, or prescribing other narcotic drugs that can aid in "round-the-clock" pain control and management but may be less addictive.
If it is determined that abuse of or addiction to Opana exists, a person can be helped by admittance to a drug rehab facility. This admittance can come as a result of referral from a medical professional or because the patient realizes there is a problem, and seeks treatment in such a referral on a voluntary basis.