How long does oxymorphone stay in the body?

Learn about oxymorphone, its half-life, detection times, and risks. Minimize addiction risks and understand signs & treatment for oxymorphone use disorder.

Ophelia team
Oxymorphone pill bottle
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Fact checked by
Ashley Mazei, NP

Oxymorphone is a pain medication with a higher potency than morphine and oxycodone. Like many opioids, it has some risk of opioid use disorder (OUD), even when it's appropriately prescribed for pain management by a healthcare provider.

Healthcare providers and patients alike can minimize the risk of oxymorphone addiction by educating themselves about the medication's uses and effects, as well as the possible signs of OUD. Discover how long oxymorphone stays in your system and other essential facts below.

How long does oxymorphone stay in the body?

Oxymorphone has a half-life of 7 to 13 hours, depending on whether it's an immediate release (IR) or extended-release (ER) formula. For an IR formula, the half-life is 7 to 10 hours. For an ER formula, the half-life is 9 to 13 hours.

A drug's half-life refers to how long it takes for the substance's concentration to decrease by half in the body. Half-life is used to determine the appropriate dosage of a medication and influences details like how the drug will accumulate in the body and, subsequently, how frequently it should be dosed.

Half-life shouldn't be confused with the length of time needed to eliminate a drug from the system. In the case of Oxymorphone, it takes anywhere from 45 to 55 hours for the medication to be cleared from the body.

Exactly how long oxymorphone is detectable in a person's system depends on the type of drug test. Oxymorphone is detectable in urine for one to three days after the last dose was taken. In contrast, it can be detected in saliva for up to two days after the last dose was taken and in blood plasma for up to 9.5 hours after the last dose was taken. Finally, the medication can be detected in hair for up to 90 days since the last use.

What is oxymorphone used for?

In the United States, oxymorphone was once sold under the brand names Opana®️ or Opana ER®️, although these have been discontinued. Generic versions are still available and can be prescribed. This semi-synthetic opioid may be prescribed to treat pain. It comes in both tablet and injectable form, and is available in immediate- and extended-release formulations.

Possible side effects of oxymorphone include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Such side effects may improve as the body gets accustomed to the drug. However, as the body gets used to the medication, the risk of dependency and possible addiction increases.

Signs of oxymorphone addiction

Like many opioids, Oxymorphone carries a risk of drug dependence and addiction with it. Drug dependency occurs when a person uses a substance for an extended period of time and builds up a tolerance to the drug. As a result, the person must take a higher dosage to achieve the desired pain management. Eventually, the body develops a physical reliance on the medication, known as oxymorphone dependence. At this stage, stopping the medication can set off withdrawal symptoms.

A person can have an oxymorphone dependency without having an OUD. Dependence is different from addiction, which has an additional psychological component. When a person has an addiction to oxymorphone, they may crave it, experience personality changes, and engage in risky behaviors to acquire the medication.

Additional signs of potential opioid addiction include:

  • Weight loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in sleep or exercise habits
  • Isolating from loved ones
  • Decreased libido
  • Financial difficulties

How to minimize the risk of oxymorphone OUD

The best way to avoid oxymorphone addiction is to take the medication precisely as prescribed by a healthcare professional. That means not taking more than the dosage prescribed and not taking doses more often than prescribed. Even when a dose is missed, patients shouldn't then double up to "make up" for it but instead should inform their healthcare professional to determine what to do.

Another step patients can take to avoid addiction is to keep a pain management journal tracking symptoms and their severity. This can help determine if the body is building up a tolerance to the pain medication. Patients can use this information to communicate with their healthcare professionals and adapt their dosage as needed.

Individuals who develop an OUD because of oxymorphone may benefit from medications for  addiction treatment (MAT). This approach combines a prescription medication like Suboxone with therapy to help address both physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. MAT is considered the gold standard of care for OUD by leading healthcare advisories, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Medical Association (AMA), and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Ophelia simplifies access to MAT through online treatment options. Eligible patients can get a Suboxone® prescription called into their local pharmacy while accessing mental health support online. 


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