Numorphan Drug Facts | A Center for Addiction Recovery

Talk to a Counselor Now

1 (800) 570-4562

Information provided below is courtesy of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

Numorphan Overview

Numorphan Addiction TreatmentNumorphan (oxymorphone hydrochloride, USP), a semi-synthetic opioid substitute for morphine, is a potent analgesic. Numorphan is a Schedule II opioid and is subject to the Federal Controlled Substances Act. Numorphan, as with other opioid drugs, can produce tolerance, psychological dependence, and physical dependence and has the potential for being abused. The addiction potential of the drug appears to be about the same as for morphine. Numorphan should be used with caution in elderly and debilitated patients and in patients who are known to be sensitive to central nervous system depressants, such as those with cardiovascular, pulmonary, renal or hepatic disease. Caution should also be exercised in patients with hypothyroidism, acute alcoholism, delirium tremens, convulsive disorders, Addison’s disease, gallbladder disease or gallstones, prostatic hypertrophy or urethral stricture, recent gastrointestinal or genitourinary tract surgery, inflammatory bowel disease, diarrhea secondary to poisoning until the toxin is eliminated, diarrhea secondary to pseudomembranous colitis, cardiac arrhythmias, increased ocular pressure, and toxic psychosis. Debilitated and elderly patients and those with severe liver disease should receive smaller doses of Numorphan.

Numorphan Signs of Abuse

All patients treated with opioids require careful monitoring for signs of abuse and addiction, since use of opioid analgesic products carries the risk of addiction even under appropriate medical use. Drug abuse is the intentional non-therapeutic use of an over-the-counter or prescription drug, even once, for its rewarding psychological or physiological effects. Drug abuse includes, but is not limited to the following examples: the use of a prescription or over-the counter drug to get ”high”, or the use of steroids for performance enhancement and muscle build up.

Drug addiction is a cluster of behavioral, cognitive, and physiological phenomena that develop after repeated substance use and include: a strong desire to take the drug, difficulties in controlling its use, persisting in its use despite harmful consequences, a higher priority given to drug use than to other activities and obligations, increased tolerance , and sometimes a physical withdrawal. "Drug seeking" behavior is very common to addicts and drug abusers. Drug-seeking tactics include emergency calls or visits near the end of office hours, refusal to undergo appropriate examination, testing or referral, repeated claims of loss of prescriptions, tampering with prescriptions and reluctance to provide prior medical records or contact information for other treating physician(s). "Doctor shopping" (visiting multiple prescribers) to obtain additional prescriptions is common among drug abusers and people suffering from untreated addiction.  Preoccupation with achieving adequate pain relief can be appropriate behavior in a patient with poor pain control.

Effects of Numorphan Abuse

As with all potent opioid analgesics, possible physiological effects when using Numorphan include:

  • Central Nervous System: Drowsiness, sedation, lightheadedness, unusual tiredness or weakness, headache, dysphoria, euphoria, miosis, diplopia, blurred vision, nervousness, restlessness, confusion, mental clouding, trouble sleeping, paradoxical CNS stimulation, hallucinations, mental depression.
  • Gastrointestinal System: Nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, biliary tract spasm, cramps or pain, loss of appetite, paralytic ileus or toxic megacolon in patients with inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Cardiovascular System: Hypotension, orthostatic hypotension particularly in ambulatory patients, tachycardia, bradycardia, palpitations, flushing.
  • Respiratory System: Respiratory depression, atelectasis, allergic bronchospastic reaction, allergic laryngeal edema, allergic laryngospasm.
  • Genitourinary System: Ureteral spasm, urinary hesitancy or retention, antidiuretic effect.
  • Dermatologic : Itching, sweating, injection site reaction, allergic reaction (such as skin rash, hives, and/or itching, swelling of the face).
  • Serious overdosage with Numorphan is characterized by respiratory depression, (a decrease in respiratory rate and/or tidal volume, Cheyne-Stokes respiration, cyanosis), extreme somnolence progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, and sometimes bradycardia and hypotension. In severe overdosage, apnea, circulatory collapse, cardiac arrest and death may occur.

Numorphan Withdrawal Symptoms

The opioid abstinence or withdrawal syndrome is characterized by some or all of the following: restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, mydriasis. Other symptoms also may develop, including: irritability, anxiety, backache, joint pain, weakness, abdominal cramps, insomnia, nausea, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased blood pressure, respiratory rate, or heart rate. In general, opioids used regularly should not be abruptly discontinued.

For information about prescription drug rehab, please contact us at 1 (800) 570-4562