Oct 11 People who abuse the prescription pain
drug Opana ER by injecting it into their bloodstream risk
developing a serious blood disorder that could result in kidney
failure or death, U.S. health regulators warned on Thursday.
Opana, a powerful opioid painkiller containing oxymorphone,
is produced by Endo Pharmaceuticals.
The blood disorder, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura,
resulted in kidney failure requiring dialysis in some cases and
at least one death, the Food and Drug Administration said.
The disorder causes clots to form in small blood vessels
throughout the body, limiting or blocking blood flow to the
Platelets, a certain type of blood cell, help the clotting
process. When this disorder occurs, however, platelets clump
together in the blood clots, making fewer platelets available in
the blood in other parts of the body to help clotting there.
This can lead to bleeding under the skin and purple-colored
spots called purpura, or to bleeding inside the body.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura can cause death or lead
to other complications with permanent damage, including brain
damage and stroke, in addition to kidney failure.
The FDA said problems appear to occur with Opana ER only
when it is abused and injected intravenously. Opana ER is meant
to be taken orally and should be taken only when prescribed and
Prescription drug abuse leads to more deaths in the United
States than heroin and cocaine combined, and rural residents are
nearly twice as likely to overdose on pills than people in big
cities, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Law enforcement officials are alarmed by the rise of Opana
abuse, which they said started after Oxycontin was changed in
late 2010 to make that drug more difficult to snort or inject
for a heroin-like high. Oxycontin is a brand of oxycodone.
Opana abuse can be deadly because it is more potent, per
milligram, than Oxycontin and users who are not familiar with
how strong it is may be vulnerable to overdosing.
Opana, known by such street names as "stop signs," "the O
bomb," and "new blues," is crushed and either snorted or
injected. Crushing defeats the pill's "extended release" design,
releasing the drug all at once.