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Opana ER Dosage

Dosage form: tablet, extended release
Drug class: Opioids (narcotic analgesics)

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Oct 2, 2023.

2.1 Important Dosage and Administration Instructions

OPANA ER should be prescribed only by healthcare professionals who are knowledgeable in the use of potent opioids for the management of chronic pain.

  • Use the lowest effective dosage for the shortest duration consistent with individual patient treatment goals [see Warnings and Precautions (5)].
  • Initiate the dosing regimen for each patient individually, taking into account the patient's severity of pain, patient response, prior analgesic treatment experience, and risk factors for addiction, abuse, and misuse [see Warnings and Precautions (5.1)].
  • Monitor patients closely for respiratory depression, especially within the first 24-72 hours of initiating therapy and following dosage increases with OPANA ER and adjust the dosage accordingly [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

Instruct patients to swallow OPANA ER tablets whole, one tablet at a time, with enough water to ensure complete swallowing immediately after placing in the mouth [see Patient Counseling Information (17)]. Crushing, chewing, or dissolving OPANA ER tablets will result in uncontrolled delivery of oxymorphone and can lead to overdose or death [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3)].

Administer on an empty stomach, at least 1 hour prior to or 2 hours after eating.

OPANA ER is administered orally every 12 hours.

2.2 Initial Dosing

Use of OPANA ER as the First Opioid Analgesic

Initiate treatment with OPANA ER with the 5 mg tablet orally every 12-hours.

Use of OPANA ER in Patients who are not Opioid Tolerant

The starting dose for patients who are not opioid tolerant is OPANA ER 5 mg orally every 12 hours.

Patients considered opioid tolerant are those taking, for one week or longer, at least 60 mg oral morphine per day, 25 mcg transdermal fentanyl per hour, 30 mg oral oxycodone per day, 8 mg oral hydromorphone per day, 25 mg oral oxymorphone per day, 60 mg oral hydrocodone per day, or an equianalgesic dose of another opioid.

Use of higher starting doses in patients who are not opioid tolerant may cause fatal respiratory depression.

Conversion from OPANA to OPANA ER

Patients receiving OPANA may be converted to OPANA ER by administering half the patient's total daily oral OPANA dose as OPANA ER, every 12 hours.

Conversion from Parenteral Oxymorphone to OPANA ER

The absolute oral bioavailability of OPANA ER is approximately 10%. Convert patients receiving parenteral oxymorphone to OPANA ER by administering 10 times the patient's total daily parenteral oxymorphone dose as OPANA ER in two equally divided doses (e.g., [IV dose x 10] divided by 2). Due to patient variability with regards to opioid analgesic response, upon conversion monitor patients closely to evaluate for adequate analgesia and side effects.

Conversion from Other Oral Opioids to OPANA ER

Discontinue all other around-the-clock opioid drugs when OPANA ER therapy is initiated.

While there are useful tables of opioid equivalents readily available, there is substantial inter- patient variability in the relative potency of different opioid drugs and products. As such, it is preferable to underestimate a patient’s 24-hour oral oxymorphone requirements and provide rescue medication (e.g., immediate-release opioid) than to overestimate the 24-hour oral oxymorphone requirements which could result in adverse reactions. In an OPANA ER clinical trial with an open-label titration period, patients were converted from their prior opioid to OPANA ER using Table 1 as a guide for the initial OPANA ER dose.

Consider the following when using the information in Table 1:

  • This is not a table of equianalgesic doses.
  • The conversion factors in this table are only for the conversion from one of the listed oral opioid analgesics to OPANA ER.
  • This table cannot be used to convert from OPANA ER to another opioid. Doing so will result in an overestimation of the dose of the new opioid and may result in fatal overdose.


Prior Oral Opioid

Approximate Oral

Conversion Factor











To calculate the estimated OPANA ER dose using Table 1:

  • For patients on a single opioid, sum the current total daily dose of the opioid and then multiply the total daily dose by the conversion factor to calculate the approximate oral oxymorphone daily dose.
  • For patients on a regimen of more than one opioid, calculate the approximate oral oxymorphone dose for each opioid and sum the totals to obtain the approximate total oxymorphone daily dose.
  • For patients on a regimen of fixed-ratio opioid/non-opioid analgesic products, use only the opioid component of these products in the conversion

Always round the dose down, if necessary, to the appropriate OPANA ER strength(s) available.

Example conversion from a single opioid to OPANA ER:

Step 1: Sum the total daily dose of the opioid oxycodone
20 mg BID 20 mg former opioid 2 times daily = 40 mg total daily dose of former opioid

Step 2: Calculate the approximate equivalent dose of oral oxymorphone based on the total daily dose of the current opioid using Table 1
40 mg total daily dose of former opioid x 0.5 mg Conversion Factor = 20 mg of oral oxymorphone daily

Step 3: Calculate the approximate starting dose of OPANA ER to be given every 12 hours. Round down, if necessary, to the appropriate OPANA ER TABLETS strengths available.
10 mg OPANA ER every 12 hours

Conversion from Methadone to OPANA ER

Close monitoring is of particular importance when converting from methadone to other opioid agonists. The ratio between methadone and other opioid agonists may vary widely as a function of previous dose exposure. Methadone has a long half-life and can accumulate in the plasma.

2.3 Titration and Maintenance of Therapy

Individually titrate OPANA ER to a dose that provides adequate analgesia and minimizes adverse reactions. Continually reevaluate patients receiving OPANA ER to assess the maintenance of pain control and the relative incidence of adverse reactions, as well as monitoring for the development of addiction, abuse, and misuse. Frequent communication is important among the prescriber, other members of the healthcare team, the patient, and the caregiver/family during periods of changing analgesic requirements, including initial titration. During chronic therapy, periodically reassess the continued need for the use of opioid analgesics.

If the level of pain increases, attempt to identify the source of increased pain, while adjusting the OPANA ER dose to decrease the level of pain. Because steady-state plasma concentrations are approximated within 3 days, OPANA ER dosage adjustments, preferably at increments of 5-10 mg every 12 hours, may be done every 3 to 7 days.

Patients who experience breakthrough pain may require a dose increase of OPANA ER, or may need rescue medication with an appropriate dose of an immediate-release analgesic. If the level of pain increases after dose stabilization, attempt to identify the source of increased pain before increasing OPANA ER dose.

If unacceptable opioid-related adverse reactions are observed, the subsequent dose may be reduced. Adjust the dose to obtain an appropriate balance between management of pain and opioid-related adverse reactions.

2.4 Safe Reduction or Discontinuation of OPANA ER

Do not abruptly discontinue OPANA ER in patients who may be physically dependent on opioids. Rapid discontinuation of opioid analgesics in patients who are physically dependent on opioids has resulted in serious withdrawal symptoms, uncontrolled pain, and suicide. Rapid discontinuation has also been associated with attempts to find other sources of opioid analgesics, which may be confused with drug-seeking for abuse. Patients may also attempt to treat their pain or withdrawal symptoms with illicit opioids, such as heroin, and other substances.

When a decision has been made to decrease the dose or discontinue therapy in an opioid-dependent patient taking OPANA ER, there are a variety of factors that should be considered, including the dose of OPANA ER the patient has been taking, the duration of treatment, the type of pain being treated, and the physical and psychological attributes of the patient. It is important to ensure ongoing care of the patient and to agree on an appropriate tapering schedule and follow-up plan so that patient and provider goals and expectations are clear and realistic. When opioid analgesics are being discontinued due to a suspected substance use disorder, evaluate and treat the patient, or refer for evaluation and treatment of the substance use disorder. Treatment should include evidence-based approaches, such as medication assisted treatment of opioid use disorder. Complex patients with comorbid pain and substance use disorders may benefit from referral to a specialist.

There are no standard opioid tapering schedules that are suitable for all patients. Good clinical practice dictates a patient-specific plan to taper the dose of the opioid gradually. For patients on OPANA ER who are physically opioid-dependent, initiate the taper by a small enough increment (e.g., no greater than 10% to 25% of the total daily dose) to avoid withdrawal symptoms, and proceed with dose-lowering at an interval of every 2 to 4 weeks. Patients who have been taking opioids for briefer periods of time may tolerate a more rapid taper.

It may be necessary to provide the patient with lower dosage strengths to accomplish a successful taper. Reassess the patient frequently to manage pain and withdrawal symptoms, should they emerge. Common withdrawal symptoms include restlessness, lacrimation, rhinorrhea, yawning, perspiration, chills, myalgia, and mydriasis. Other signs and 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. If withdrawal symptoms arise, it may be necessary to pause the taper for a period of time or raise the dose of the opioid analgesic to the previous dose, and then proceed with a slower taper. In addition, monitor patients for any changes in mood, emergence of suicidal thoughts, or use of other substances.

When managing patients taking opioid analgesics, particularly those who have been treated for a long duration and/or with high doses for chronic pain, ensure that a multimodal approach to pain management, including mental health support (if needed), is in place prior to initiating an opioid analgesic taper. A multimodal approach to pain management may optimize the treatment of chronic pain, as well as assist with the successful tapering of the opioid analgesic [see Warnings and Precautions (5.15), Drug Abuse and Dependence (9.3)].

2.5 Dosage Modifications in Patients with Hepatic Impairment

OPANA ER is contraindicated in patients with moderate or severe hepatic impairment.

In opioid-naïve patients with mild hepatic impairment, initiate treatment with the 5 mg dose. For patients on prior opioid therapy, start OPANA ER at 50% lower than the starting dose for a patient with normal hepatic function on prior opioids and titrate slowly. Monitor patients closely for signs of respiratory or central nervous system depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Use in Specific Populations (8.6) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.6 Dosage Modifications in Patients with Renal Impairment

In patients with creatinine clearance rates less than 50 mL/min, start OPANA ER in the opioid-naïve patient with the 5 mg dose. For patients on prior opioid therapy, start OPANA ER at 50% lower than the starting dose for a patient with normal renal function on prior opioids and titrate slowly. Monitor patients closely for signs of respiratory or central nervous system depression [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Use in Specific Populations (8.7) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)].

2.7 Dosage Modifications in Geriatric Patients

The steady-state plasma concentrations of oxymorphone are higher in elderly subjects than in young subjects. Initiate dosing with OPANA ER in patients 65 years of age and over using the 5 mg dose and monitor closely for signs of respiratory and central nervous system depression when initiating and titrating OPANA ER to adequate analgesia [see Warnings and Precautions (5.3), Use in Specific Populations (8.5) and Clinical Pharmacology (12.3)]. For patients on prior opioid therapy, start OPANA ER at 50% lower than the starting dose for a younger patient on prior opioids and titrate slowly.

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