Oxymorphone Abuse: Effects, Signs & Symptoms

Oxymorphone Abuse: Effects, Signs & SymptomsOxymorphone is an opioid painkiller known for its potency. It is generally reserved for use against chronic and/or severe pain, and has been sold only in extended-release form.

But even in extended-release formulations, oxymorphone is subject to abuse by people who crush it for snorting, smoking or injection, which delivers a formidable rush of warmth, relaxation and euphoria, plus rapid pain relief if that is desired. When used in this way—or even overused in its extended-release version—oxymorphone can be exceptionally addictive (it is three times as potent as morphine when taken orally and 10 times as potent if injected).

In response to an urgent request from the FDA, in June 2017 the pharmaceutical company Endo International agreed to remove its extended-release formulation of oxymorphone, known as Opana ER, from the market1. This is the first time an opioid medication has been pulled from distribution at the behest of a U.S. government agency, which underscores the dangers of using oxymorphone products irresponsibly. Abuse of Opana ER through crushing and injection was associated with an outbreak of a rare blood disease, and that combined with its highly addictive nature was enough to force the FDA into action.

At least for now oxymorphone is still sold in generic extended-release form, available through a doctor’s prescription, and also in instant-release and injectable forms. Unfortunately, black market versions of Opana ER will likely remain available as well, as long as there is an interest among drug users in oxymorphone’s mind-altering effects and advanced capacity for pain reduction.

If you’ve been using oxymorphone for any reason, either legally or illicitly, you could be at grave risk for dependency. At the first sign of trouble, you should seek evaluation for a substance use disorder immediately.

Symptoms and Side Effects of Oxymorphone Addiction

Oxymorphone can be taken safely if dosages are limited and consumed according to a strict schedule.

But with opioids it is easy to slip into the danger zone, especially if they are used to self-medicate for pain or for recreational purposes. People who abuse opioids like oxymorphone often combine them with other intoxicants or mind-altering substances, like alcohol or benzodiazepines, which increases the risk for addiction substantially.

If your oxymorphone use gets out of control, you’ll begin to experience a range of physical and mental health symptoms, which may include:

  • Frequent drowsiness
  • Respiratory problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Poor coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep apnea

Behavioral Signs of Oxymorphone Abuse

In response to growing cravings for oxymorphone, which will inevitably accompany addiction, your behavior may begin to change. Some of the behavioral signs of oxymorphone dependency include2:

  • Lying about health problems to get prescriptions, stealing oxymorphone from others or secretly buying supplies from illicit drug dealers
  • Frequently using oxymorphone in greater quantities than originally intended
  • Continuing to use oxymorphone despite serious financial, personal, occupational or interpersonal problems caused by drug abuse
  • Continuing to use oxymorphone despite its deteriorative effects on physical or mental health
  • Risky or dangerous behavior that occurs when under the influence of oxymorphone
  • Mixing oxymorphone with other substances to enhance its euphoric effects
  • Using heroin as a cheaper alternative to oxymorphone
  • Using oxymorphone and other drugs so heavily that it leads to an overdose (or multiple overdoses)

With opioid addiction, the threat of overdose is especially ominous. More than 72,000 Americans died from a drug overdose in 2017, including 49,000 who died from opioid overdoses and nearly 15,000 who passed away after using semi-synthetic opioid painkillers (like oxymorphone)3.

Reach Out For Help

We provide holistic care and treatment using an individualized approach specifically tailored to your needs. Our holistic care and treatment is based on the best scientific evidence available. Secondly, we help you lead a healthy, substance-free life with adaptive coping and problem-solving skills. Don’t let oxymorphone addiction control your life. Our addiction professionals can help you get on a path of recovery, significantly changing your life. Contact us today for more information on our certified staff of professionals, as well as our first-rate facilities.

  1. Yan, Jun. Opana ER Pulled from Market Due to Abuse-related Disorders.
    https://psychnews.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.pn.2017.pp7b2
  2. Joy, Kevin. How to Spot Signs of Opioid Addiction.
    https://healthblog.uofmhealth.org/wellness-prevention/how-to-spot-signs-of-opioid-addiction
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Overdose Death Rates.
    https://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
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