Oxymorphone (Oral)

Available as both a standard and an extended-release tablet, oral oxymorphone affects the central nervous system of patients experiencing high, recurring levels of pain.

Overview

Oral oxymorphone is designed to reduce pain in people suffering from a range of conditions. As a narcotic analgesic, it changes the processes of the central nervous system to ultimately reduce the amount of pain a person experiences.

This medication is not usually prescribed to those who suffer from a low level of pain, or to those who are successfully using a non-narcotic medication. It should not be used to treat occasional pain or pain caused by specific circumstances like accidents or surgery, but instead to treat long-running, chronic conditions.

This medication is only available with a prescription from a physician, and it comes in two forms - a tablet, or an extended-release tablet.

This medication has a number of brand names in the USA, which means you may see it referred to in this way on marketing materials, on information leaflets and in other similar places. These brand names are Opana and Opana ER.

Conditions Treated

  • Pain

Type Of Medicine

  • Narcotic analgesic

Side Effects

Many medications can cause a number of unwanted effects while also treating the underlying condition. In the case of oral oxymorphone there is a risk that, while the medication can manage problems related to pain, a number of unwanted extra symptoms known as side effects can arise.

  • The first category of potential side effects which may experienced when taking oral oxymorphone contains those which indicate that symptoms of an overdose may be occurring. In the event that you or someone you are taking care of is taking this drug and they experience any of these symptoms, you should attend a local emergency room and explain to the staff that oral oxymorphone is being taken.

The side effects in this category include problems with the skin, such as low temperature or a clammy feeling. Problems like a low blood pressure, a low pulse, weakness in the muscles and excessive sleeping (or feeling drowsy) are all included. In addition, conditions such as particularly slow breathing or less responsiveness than usual are also on the list.

Finally, a change in the size of the black part of the eye known as the pupil to the point where it is pinpointed or severely constricted is considered a potential overdose symptom.

  • The next category of potential side effects associated with taking oral oxymorphone is for those which are not necessarily symptoms of overdose but which require you to consult your physician right away.

Some of the potential symptoms in this category include those which are considered rare. Many problems related to urine are in this category. A drop in the amount of urine produced, for example, is considered a side effect, while experiencing difficulties with the act of urinating or problems holding it in are also included.

Pain in the torso, and in particular the stomach and chest, are included in this category. Other relevant possible side effects are hyperventilation, disorientation, hallucination, particularly bad vomiting, experiencing a feeling of restlessness, and more. Skin issues such as redness, rashes or swelling around the eyelids, lips or tongue are also included.

  • In addition to the above, some potential side effects of this medication which require attention from your physician are considered less common rather than rare, which means there is a higher chance you will experience them.

Symptoms included in this category include problems with the skin, such as wrinkling, swelling around areas like the hands and feet, and excessive sweating. Some problems with vision and co-ordination are also included, such as a feeling of dizziness, blurring of the vision, experiencing confused sensations and feeling nervy are also included.

Some miscellaneous potential side effects found in this category include excessive thirst, headaches, sinking of the eyes, a pounding sound in your ears and more.

  • Finally, some potential side effects of taking oral oxymorphone do not usually require medical attention. This is because they are low level natural responses by your body to the medication entering your system, and as a result they will ordinarily cease of their own accord. If you experience some of these, you will only need to pay a visit to a medical professional if they are causing you lots of problems or if they do not go away.

Some side effects in this category are considered more common, which means you are relatively more likely to experience them. These include unusual sensations such as a feeling of movement or spinning all around you, difficulty in passing stools when using the toilet, problems like nausea or vomiting, and more.

However, some possible side effects in this category are considered to be less common. These include some mental health issues such as a feeling of sadness or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities previously carried out. Some digestion and food-related issues are also included, such as diarrhea, a drop in appetite levels or overall body weight, high levels of gas or acid in the stomach, a feeling of being bloated, heartburn and more.

Meanwhile, other symptoms like redness around the face and arms, swelling in the abdomen or difficulty concentrating are also included.

Finally, some possible unwanted symptoms of taking oral oxymorphone are listed as rare, and while it is unlikely you will experience them, you should still be aware of the possibility that they will occur.

A lot of skin problems are included in this category. These include itchy, scaly or dry skin, as well as problems like blisters, crusts or dryness emerging. Eyesight problems like double vision and issues perceiving colour are also included, as are perceiving halos around light sources or loss of vision altogether. Problems during sleep, such as experiencing nightmares or dreams which are particularly vivid, may also be experienced.

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    • Remember, this list of potential side effects is not exhaustive. You should consult your physician or the information booklet which is provided with your medication in order to find out more about how this medication might affect you.

In addition, it is important to bear in mind that not all potential side effects will affect all patients, and you should not expect to experience - or not experience - any particular one.

Dosage

As with all medications, you should always follow the dosage amount instructions provided by your physician when you first get prescribed oral oxymorphone.

In addition, you should always follow the instructions regarding other aspects of your dosage, such as the required frequency for taking the medication.

Sticking to the prescribed dosage is important for everyone, but particularly for older patients as the effects of drugs prescribed to treat pain can be sometimes be more pronounced in this age group.

It is advised that you take this medication on an empty stomach. Usually, it should be taken two hours or more after a meal or one hour or longer before the meal.

That said, there is some information available on standard dosages which has been published for general information purposes only. These standard dosages should never overrule the instructions of a physician, but instead should be used as guidance only.

  • For adults who will be taking extended-release tablets to treat moderate to severe pain and who are not currently taking any medicines with a narcotic element the dosage will usually begin at five milligrams (mg), taken once every twelve hours. For children who are prescribed this medication, the precise dosage will usually be worked out and arranged by a doctor.
  • For those who are switching from Opana to Opana ER, the dosage may be slightly different. The Opana ER dosage will usually be half of the total dosage of Opana which you were previously taking per day, now delivered once every twelve hours. Your doctor may adjust the dose as necessary. For children, the dosage will usually be determined by a physician.
  • Some patients may be switching from oxymorphone injection format to Opana ER. For adults in this situation, the dosage will usually be ten times the dose of oxymorphone injection you received per day, this time divided into two doses of the same amount. Again, a physician may later change the dose as necessary. For children, the usage and dosage will usually be worked out by a doctor.
  • For those adult patients who are moving from use of oral opioids to Opana ER, the dosage will often begin as half of the previous full daily dosage, and this will be given once every twelve hours. Your physician once again may choose to adjust this in the future, and again the dosage for children will be worked out by a physician instead.
  • Finally, those adults who are taking oral oxymorphone in its standard tablet format to treat pain will usually be prescribed five milligrams (mg) once per each period of four to six hours. A physician may change this dose when needed. For children, the dose will often be worked out by a physician.
  • If you miss a dosage of this medicine, you should take it as soon as you can. In the event that it is almost time for your next dose when you discover that you have missed your dose, though, you should skip the missed dose, take the next one and return to your normal schedule.
  • There are some special instructions for those who are taking the extended-release version of oral oxymorphone. When taking the tablet, you should ensure that you swallow it whole and that you only swallow one tablet at a time. You should make sure you drink enough water while taking the tablet to swallow it completely as soon as you've placed it into your mouth.

In addition, it is vital that you do not break this tablet in any way before consuming it, such as by dissolving, licking, biting or chewing it. You should also refrain from crushing it or cutting it up.

In the event that parts of this medication come out in your stools, you should not worry as this is a normal occurrence when taking extended-release oral oxymorphone.

Interactions

As with all medications, this drug can cause serious interactions with other substances once it is inside your body.

For that reason, your physician will usually ask you to provide them with a full and comprehensive list of all medications you are currently taking, including both drugs prescribed to you and those purchased over the counter.

This is so that they can make an accurate decision about whether or not it is safe for you to take this drug, or whether or not your current medication arrangements need to be altered. It is therefore important that you be fully upfront about the medications you take so that your physician can ensure your safety.

  • Some medications which interact with oral oxymorphone can cause serious effects, and if you take any of these then your physician will usually exercise caution before going ahead and prescribing this medication to you. Common drugs in this category include fentanyl transdermal system (known technically as fentanyl), hydromorphone, flexeril (known technically cyclobenzaprine), and hydrocodone. In addition, valium (also known as diazepam), methadone, as well as morphine, naltrexone and its related drugs such as morphine sulfate ER are included too.
  • Other medications which interact with oral oxymorphone can cause less severe effects, and are moderate in their impact. Some commonly taken drugs included in this category are neurontin (technically known as gabapentin), cymbalta (also known as duloxetine) and lyrica (also known as pregabalin).
  • Finally, there are some drugs which do interact with oral oxymorphone but often only cause minor rather than strong problems. Popular medications which are contained in this category include Tylenol (whose technical name is acetaminophen), Celebrex (also known as celecoxib), Nexium (known sometimes as esomeprazole) and Adderall (made up of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine). In addition, popular painkillers such as ibuprofen and low strength aspirin are included in this category.

Warnings

This medication comes with a number of warnings. These are published in the information booklet which comes with the supplies of tablets, and you should retain this for the entire duration of your treatment in case you need to refer back to it later. Even if you are unsure as to whether or not any of these warnings will apply to you, you should read the information booklet in full so that you don't miss any which are relevant.

If you will be taking this medication for an extended period, a physician should check in with you on a regular basis to ensure that the medication is working as expected and is not causing you problems.

In some cases, this medication can substantially increase the risk that you will experience breathing difficulties. As a result, you should consult your physician in the event that you experience symptoms such as pale lips, unusually fast, slow or non-regular breathing, or similar symptoms.

The effects of any medications or substances which cause your central nervous system to change may be exacerbated by oral oxymorphone. While many of the substances in this category are medications such as hay fever treatments, tranquilizers, pills to help you sleep, antihistamines and more, other substances - such as alcohol - are included in this category too. If you wish to take any of these substances, you should check with your physician prior to doing so as they could cause you serious problems. If you are about to undergo dental surgery, you should inform the dental staff as there is a risk that some substances used as anaesthetics for this kind of procedure will interact with your oral oxymorphone.

A major warning associated with this medication is that it may become addictive or habit-forming. Although worries about the medication becoming addictive should never prevent you from going ahead and taking this medication if you and your physician believe it will have a positive effect on your condition, you should still speak to your physician to clarify any concerns you have about its addictive qualities.

In the event that this medication is not working well, you should not take more of it. Instead, you should consult a medical professional for advice on what to do.

When used over an extended period of time, oral oxymorphone can cause problems related to your stools. In particular, it can cause you to experience severe constipation. As a result, you may find that your physician asks you to make some lifestyle changes to mitigate this problem, such as consuming a higher amount of fiber or increasing the amount of water you drink.

If you are pregnant when you take this medication, it can cause your baby to suffer from a problem known as neonatal withdrawal syndrome. For that reason, you should always inform your doctor if you fall pregnant while taking this medication, or if you are planning to conceive. In the event that you do give birth, you should inform your physician if your baby experiences symptoms such as diarrhea, highly pitched crying, weight loss or inability to add weight, or vomiting.

This list of warnings is not exhaustive and is for information purposes only. As a result, you should check the full list provided in the information booklet which comes with this medication.

Storage

As oral oxymorphone brings with it a number of side effects which can cause serious problems to those who have never taken the medication before or who are not having their usage of it supervised by clinical staff, it is vital that this medication is kept well out of the reach of anyone who has not been prescribed it.

In particular, it is important that your oral oxymorphone is kept out of the reach of children and pets. Even if you do not have any pets or children living with you at your home, please keep this medication stored somewhere where it cannot be accessed by any children or pets who may visit your home in the future.

Your oral oxymorphone should be stored in a location where it will not experience problematic environmental conditions that might cause it to become damaged. For example, it should not be exposed to too much light, moisture, heat or other problems. Please store your oral oxymorphone in a container, and keep it closed and at room temperature.

You should not stop taking this medication unless you are advised to by a medical professional. However, in the event that you do find yourself with an excess amount of it once your course of treatment has ended, you should dispose of it in the correct way. If you do not know how to do this, you should consult a medical professional for advice. Do not keep any unused oral oxymorphone when it is no longer needed.

Summary

Oral oxymorphone is used to treat chronic pain by changing the processes of the patient's central nervous system. This medication has a number of brand names in the US, and it can only be accessed via a prescription from a physician.

This medication can cause a range of side effects. While there is no guarantee that you will or will not experience particular ones, you should become familiar with them so that you know in advance of starting the treatment. Some side effects, such as a low pulse or muscle weakness, indicate that overdose may have occurred and require emergency medical attention. Others, such as difficulties passing urine or pain in the chest, are not as serious but do require you to visit your physician. Finally, some side effects - such as headaches or a pounding sensation in the ears - are usually just natural responses to the medication entering your system and only require medical attention if they cause lots of problems or do not go away on their own.

The exact dosage of this medication you will need to take will be worked out by your physician, and you should always follow their instructions. Some general information on standard dosages does exist, but it should be used for information purposes only. Those taking the extended release version of this tablet need to follow specific instructions for consumption. If you miss a dose, you should take it again unless it is close to the time of your next dose, in which case you should skip the missed dose and return to your normal plan.

This medication can interact with a number of other substances, so it is vital that you inform your physician of all the drugs you are currently taking in order to prevent any clashes. This includes over the counter drugs as well as prescribed drugs. Your physician may choose to alter the arrangement of drugs you currently take based on this information.

This medication comes with a number of warnings, and as a result you should closely consult the information booklet which accompanies the medication in order to see if any of the warnings apply to you.

As this is a powerful drug, you should ensure that both when you store it at home and when you dispose of it you make sure it is kept well away from locations where children or pets could access it, both now or in the future. In addition, you should never keep any of this medication after you are finished using it. If you are unsure how to dispose of it properly, you should consult a healthcare professional. Ensure you keep your oral oxymorphone in a location where it is free from conditions like high heat, light and more. You should keep it in a closed container which is stored at room temperature.