Severe pain can make everyday activities unbearable or even impossible. Even more frustrating is having severe pain and turning to medications for relief, only to have the drugs not work. If this happens, take heart. There are stronger medications available that may ease your pain even after other drugs failed to work. These include the prescription drugs Opana and Roxicodone.

Opana and Roxicodone are both in a class of drugs called opiate analgesics or narcotics. They’re used to treat moderate to severe pain after other drugs haven’t worked to ease the pain. Both medications work on the opioid receptors in your brain. By acting on these receptors, these drugs change the way you think about pain. This helps to dull your feeling of pain.

The following table gives you a side-by-side comparison of some of the features of these two drugs.

Brand name Opana Roxicodone
What is the generic version?oxymorphoneoxycodone
What does it treat?moderate to severe painmoderate to severe pain
What form(s) does it come in?immediate-release tablet, extended-release tablet, extended-release injectable solutionimmediate-release tablet
What strengths does this drug come in?immediate-release tablet: 5 mg, 10 m,
extended-release tablet: 5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 m
extended-release injectable solution: 1 mg/mL
5 mg, 7.5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg
What is the typical dosage?immediate release: 5-20 mg every 4-6 hours,
extended release: 5 mg every 12 hours
immediate release: 5-15 mg every 4-6 hours
How do I store this drug?store in a dry place between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C)store in a dry place between 59°F and 86°F (15°C and 30°C)

Opana is the brand-name version of the generic drug oxymorphone. Roxicodone is a brand name for the generic drug oxycodone. These medications are also available as generic drugs, and both come in immediate-release versions. However, only Opana is also available in an extended-release form, and only Opana comes in an injectable form.

The length of your treatment with either drug depends on your type of pain. However, long-term use is not recommended to avoid addiction.

Both medications are controlled substances. They’re known to cause addiction and can be abused or misused. Taking either medication not as prescribed can lead to overdose or death.

Your doctor may monitor you for signs of addiction during your treatment with Opana or Roxicodone. Ask your doctor about the safest way to take these medications. Don’t take them for longer than prescribed.

At the same time, you should also never stop taking Opana or Roxicodone without talking to your doctor. Stopping either drug suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • restlessness
  • irritability
  • insomnia
  • sweating
  • chills
  • muscle and joint pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • increased blood pressure
  • increased heart rate

When you need to stop taking Opana or Roxicodone, your doctor will slowly lower your dosage over time to decrease your risk of withdrawal.

Opana and Roxicodone are both available as generic drugs. The generic version of Opana is called oxymorphone. It’s more expensive and not as readily available at pharmacies as oxycodone, the generic form of Roxicodone.

Your health insurance plan will likely cover the generic version of Roxicodone. However, they may require you to try a less-powerful drug first. For brand name versions, your insurance may require a prior authorization.

Opana and Roxicodone work in the same way, so they cause similar side effects. The more common side effects of both drugs include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • headache
  • itching
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness

The following table highlights how the more common side effects of Opana and Roxicodone differ:

Side effectOpanaRoxicodone
Sleeping troubleX
Lack of energyX

The more serious side effects of both drugs include:

  • slowed breathing
  • stopped breathing
  • cardiac arrest (stopped heart)
  • low blood pressure
  • shock

Opana and Roxicodone share similar drug interactions. Always tell your doctor about all prescription and over-the-counter drugs, supplements, and herbs you take before you start treatment with a new medication.

If you take either Opana or Roxicodone with certain other drugs, you may have increased side effects because certain side effects are similar between the drugs. These side effects can include breathing problems, low blood pressure, extreme tiredness, or coma. These interacting medications include:

  • other pain medications
  • phenothiazines (drugs used to treat serious mental disorders)
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • tranquilizers
  • sleeping pills

Other drugs can also interact with these two drugs. For a more detailed list of these interactions, please see the interactions for Opana and interactions for Roxicodone.

Opana and Roxicodone are both opioids. They work similarly, so their effects on the body are also alike. If you have certain medical issues, your doctor may need to change your dosage or schedule. In some cases, it may not be safe for you to take Opana or Roxicodone. You should discuss the following health conditions with your doctor before taking either drug:

  • breathing problems
  • low blood pressure
  • history of head injuries
  • pancreatic or biliary tract disease
  • intestinal problems
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • liver disease
  • kidney disease

Both medications are highly effective at treating pain. Your doctor will choose a drug that is best for you and your pain depending on your medical history and level of pain.

If you have moderate to severe pain that won’t let up even after trying pain medications, talk to your doctor. Ask if Opana or Roxicodone is an option for you. Both drugs are very powerful painkillers. They work in similar ways, but have notable differences:

  • Both drugs come as tablets, but Opana also comes as an injection.
  • Only Opana is also available in extended-release forms.
  • Generics of Opana are more expensive than generics of Roxicodone.
  • They have slightly different side effects.