Opana is the brand name of a drug that contains oxymorphone hydrochloride. Oxymorphone is an opioid analgesic, and Opana delivers it orally in 5 mg and 10 mg tablets. Opana is also available in an extended-release version, which presents additional risks for those who abuse it. According to the US National Library of Medicine (NLM), doctors typically prescribe oxymorphone to treat moderate to severe pain.
Opana is habit-forming, and even people who take it as prescribed can develop a dependence on it over time. Because it can produce a mild euphoric effect, some individuals take Opana for nonmedical reasons, which can lead to a dangerous cycle of abuse. Street names for Opana include biscuits, blue heaven, octagons, stop signs, and O bomb. People typically abuse Opana by chewing and swallowing it, snorting it, or injecting it.
Risks of Abusing Opana
There are a variety of risks of abusing Opana, and each administration method has additional complications of its own. For example, people who inject Opana risk infection at the injection site, as well as blood infections, HIV, hepatitis C, and overdose. The more general risks of taking Opana include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Shallow breathing
- Severe weakness
People who abuse Opana also risk overdosing, which can be fatal without immediate medical intervention. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of overdose deaths caused by opioid prescription painkillers has increased fourfold since 1999. An overdose can occur after an individual develops a tolerance to oxymorphone and continues increasing the dose in order to feel the same euphoric effects.
Mixing Opana with other substances can also have devastating consequences. For example, because oxymorphone is a respiratory depressant, it can be especially dangerous to mix with alcohol. Combining Opana with alcohol can result in low blood pressure, fainting, coma, and even death.
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 1.9 million people had a substance use disorder related to prescription pain relievers in 2014. There are many effective treatment options available, however. The first stage of recovery is undergoing medical detox, which helps the body readjust to life without Opana. During detox, individuals go through withdrawal, which can be uncomfortable at times. Tapering off Opana slowly with the help of a doctor can help manage these symptoms, as can taking other medications that affect the body in the same manner oxymorphone does without producing a powerful high.
General Opana Withdrawal Timeline
The duration and intensity of Opana withdrawal depend on a variety of factors, including the individual’s typical dosage, administration route, and overall health. There is no way to predict how oxymorphone withdrawal will affect people until they actually stop taking it, which is why entering a detox program is so important. In a detox program, clients are monitored for any complications that might arise, and they have access to medication that can ease the worst of the withdrawal symptoms.
According to a review originally published in Science & Practice Perspectives, many individuals continue abusing opioids because they do not want to go through withdrawal, making it one of the most powerful factors driving addictive behaviors. It is important to remember that though Opana withdrawal may be uncomfortable and even painful at times, its symptoms are manageable in the right setting. Indeed, it is entirely possible to overcome oxymorphone withdrawal without substantial discomfort, thanks to medical assistance, and go on to lead a fulfilling life of sobriety.
When it comes to Opana withdrawal, symptoms typically start within 12 hours of the last dose, peak a few days after that, and then subside within one week. Some individuals may also experience protracted withdrawal, which can also be managed with the help of medication and therapy.
The general timeline for Opana withdrawal is:
- 12 hours into sobriety: The first two days following the last dose of Opana are typically the hardest for most people, and it is at this stage that many people relapse. Symptoms like anxiety and agitation may arise within 12 hours of the last dose. Muscle aches and pain will also develop since oxymorphone is no longer blocking pain receptors in the brain.
- 24 hours into sobriety: Detox is exactly what it sounds like: The body is ridding itself of the toxins that have built up from consistent Opana use. That means many people will experience excessive sweating and diarrhea one day into sobriety as the body tries to flush its system. Some people also lose their appetite and have trouble sleeping at this stage of withdrawal.
- 48 hours into sobriety: The body continues flushing itself of Opana, and individuals may develop a runny nose and other general cold systems. Anxiety from day one persists, and panic attacks may occur as well.
- 72 hours into sobriety: By the third day of withdrawal, the most painful symptoms have usually peaked. Some physical symptoms may persist into the fourth and fifth days, but the worst is usually over. Individuals may experience shivers, abdominal cramping, and vomiting during this time.
- 5 days into sobriety: Once the stomach has settled down a little, it is important to start eating well in order to keep the body nourished. By day five, most people are exhausted, but healthy snacks can help them regain their strength until they are ready to start eating full meals again.
- 6 days into sobriety: By day six, nearly all of the physical symptoms of Opana withdrawal will have subsided. Some people may still have a little nausea at this stage, but most will be ready to start focusing on the psychological symptoms of withdrawal, like anxiety, depression, and intense cravings.
Complications of Opana Withdrawal
According to NLM, opioid withdrawal may be uncomfortable, but its symptoms are rarely life-threatening; however, complications that require medical intervention can arise during the detox phase. For example, persistent vomiting and diarrhea can lead to severe dehydration, and some people need intravenous fluids in order to remain hydrated during the early stages of withdrawal.
Aspiration, or inhaling the stomach contents into the lungs after vomiting, can also occur. Aspiration can lead to infection, pneumonia, respiratory distress, and in severe cases, even death.
Relapse is another potential complication of Opana withdrawal. When individuals try to quit oxymorphone on their own, they do not have access to drugs like methadone, buprenorphine, clonidine, or naltrexone, which can help to ease the worst of the physical symptoms and minimize cravings. So when the symptoms get too painful, they turn back to Opana instead. Relapsing during withdrawal is especially dangerous because the body loses some of its tolerance to oxymorphone during detox, which means individuals are at risk of overdosing if they take Opana in the same dosage that they did before starting withdrawal.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, relapse rates are fairly high among individuals who abuse opioids. In fact, they approach 90 percent within six months of detoxification; however, with long-term treatment and the use of medications like buprenorphine, individuals are much less likely to relapse.
Advantages of Ambulatory Detox
Individuals should not attempt to quit Opana on their own, and many find success in an ambulatory detox program. Ambulatory detox provides treatment for withdrawal symptoms in a safe environment, where clients have access to healthcare professionals who are experienced in treating Opana withdrawal.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, ambulatory detox provides many of the same benefits of intensive medical detox, but it gives client a little more freedom and flexibility. Services include medical evaluations, detoxification and assistance during the withdrawal phase, and referrals to subsequent treatment programs. Medical detox may not necessarily shorten the duration of withdrawal because the body can only rid itself of Opana so fast, but it can minimize its symptoms, making it far more manageable, safe, and effective at contributing to continued sobriety.