Oxymorphone is a narcotic pain reliever (also called opiate analgesics) similar to morphine. Narcotics such as oxymorphone are effective in treating pain because they change how the body responds to pain. The medicine is most commonly used to treat pain that ranges from moderate to severe, though it is not usually prescribed to manage post-operative pain. Instead, it is often prescribed in an extended release formula for 24-hour pain management.
Preventing Oxymorphone Addiction
Oxymorphone is a powerful drug that may be habit-forming. For this reason precautions should be taken. Begin by never sharing the medicine with another person. Only the person to whom it was prescribed should take oxymorphone. Once the bottle is opened, keep careful count of how many pills you have used. The temptation may be great for someone else to take tablets but by keeping track of your pills you will always know if someone has done so. Finally, store the medicine in a safe and secure place.
Always follow the directions on the prescription label. Doctors will typically start patients on a low dose and then increase dosages over time until the proper level of pain management is achieved. If at any point the medicine no longer relieves pain, alert the prescribing physician. Under no circumstances should a patient increase their dosage without a doctor’s recommendation. When it is time to decrease dosages, the same slow process will be observed in reverse. Avoid suddenly stopping the medication.
Oxymorphone is most often prescribed in extended release tablets. Patients should take the pill whole with a glass of water one to two hours before eating. It is important to avoid chewing or crushing the tablet because the coating is responsible for time release action. Breaking the time release coating will release too much medication into the body.
Special Considerations when Taking Oxymorphone
Narcotics and alcohol do not mix. Do not consume alcohol when taking oxymorphone. Doing so could result in dangerous side effects including death. Be careful to check food and medicine labels for alcoholic content. Even over-the-counter cough and cold medicines may contain alcohol, so show due diligence in checking labels.
Reasons to avoid taking oxymorphone include:
- Allergy to oxymorphone (Allergic reactions might include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling in the facial area including lips, tongue or throat.)
- Severe liver disease
- Asthma attack
- Bowel obstruction called paralyticileus
- Allergy to narcotics such as codeine, morphine or methadone
Taking oxymorphone can cause impaired thinking and ability to react. Avoid driving when taking the medication. Other restrictions may similarly apply.
If after taking oxymorphone a patient experiences any of the following symptoms they should immediately seek medical care:
- shallowness of breath and/or slowed heartbeat
- skin that feels cold or clammy to the touch
- severe weakness, dizzy sensation or fainting
If a person takes too much oxymorphone they should go to the emergency room immediately. Overdose of oxymorphone is fatal. Your physician should always be aware of all medications that you are currently taking since mixing medicines may have serious effects. Hospital attendants will also need to be apprised of all medications currently being taken.