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Alternatives to Opana?

AnonymousUserAAnonymousUser Posts: 49,550
edited 06/11/2012 - 7:34 AM in Pain Medications
Hello Everybody,

I moved to Opana last year up from OxyContin which I hated because of the side effects. From reading other forums, It seems to me that there are two camps when it comes to the Opana v OC question: Those who feel that Opana does nothing at all and would much rather have Oxycontin, and those who get great relief from Opana- everybody's different. For me Its Great- saved my life. I had terrible side effects with OC and couldn't sleep- and got badly, badly depressed. It also only gave me about 3 hours of real relief when Opana gives me more like 5.

Anyways Opana is ridiculously expensive; my insurance won't pay for what I need, and I'm looking for generic alternatives.

As far as I can see, There's: MSContin which seems to be pretty expensive. This is what I've talked with My PM Dr about. There has to be something else.

So any input would be appreciated as far as MSContin or any other generic med experiences (not OC). Especially from those who can compare it to Opana and from those who were happy with Opana.

Also- once when I was at the pharmacy I noticed the guy in front of me picking up a prescription for generic Morphine sulphate- not ER. I saw that he was paying like 9.00$ for 90 pills. I dont know if this would be an alternative- havent asked my DR about it. but I would like to hear about anybody's experience with stepping back from an extended release pill to something like this.

Thanks alot- also thank you all for previous posts. this forum has been very helpful over the past couple of years for me in navigating this nightmare.


  • I'd love to give you some suggestions, but would you mind giving a few details as to your situation first? I.E. problem, duration of problem, meds used, how long on Opana, any other meds taken concurrently, and any abuse history (Rx only) or lack thereof, very helpful. You can PM me these things if you'd like to keep it off the board and I will reply with my honest suggestions, or, feel free to post publicly here if you are so inclined.


  • Hi, Yeah-

    I have herniations at c3-4,c4-5,c5-6 with annular tears at 4-5 and 5-6, and nerve impengment on the right side. The condition was originally degenerative beginning about 10 years ago- giving me sporadic problems lasting 5 days-3 weeks- never took anything for it then- Became very serious and chronic with Trauma in August of 2007- my whole life changed. Currently taking Opana ER with Percocet for breakthrough pain although lately im more likely to deal with breakthrough pain than to deal with side effects of oxycodone mentioned above- would switch to Opana IR if not for insurance. I've No history of substance abuse. I went through the standard course of steroids- epidurals- tigger points- My Orthopedic surgeon said he could do 2 level fusion at 4-5 and 5-6, but this is not something that I want. I continue Physical Therapy rigorously and am seeing improvements.
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  • Welcome to SH :H Well, I've never taken Opana but I can tell you about MS Contin. It comes in generic and goes by Morphine Sulfate. I pain around $90.00 for 90 60mg pills out of pocket because of being in the doughnut hole.

    Fentanyl patches are very expensive so you need to check with your insurance company. I was charged $420.00 for 100mcg GENERIC patches. The brand name is called Duragesic and I heard it runs around $700. Keep in mind that there is different pricing according to the strength (micrograms). The lower the strength, the less it costs out of pocket. Of course if you are getting it through your insurance, you'll be charged according to their copay. Extended release narcotics usually fall under Tier III.

    There is also Methadone which is the cheapest narcotic of all. It costs around $20.00 if you don't have insurance, and it's super cheap if you have coverage.

    As far as effectiveness, I did well with Fentanyl patches but my body grew tolerant to it gradually. By the time I reached the max dose, it just wasn't helping me anymore. Now I'm on 80mg of Oxycontin a day and take oxycodone for breakthrough pain. So far I've done well and don't have any side effects. I used to be on MS Contin but I'm allergic now, and it made me really tired during the day. I had to take a lot of it (180mg MS ER, and 60mg of the immediate release a day) because it is less potent than Fentanyl. Fentanyl is 80x's stronger than morphine.

    I had a fusion at L4-S1 for a variety of problems (see below). I know this is a very difficult decision to make because it is major surgery. What made me go ahead with it is that my pain was constant and severe no matter what I did or didn't do, and despite taking strong narcotics.

    Well, I hope you the right treatment for your pain. Take care
  • Hi Thank you all for the info.

    Thanks alot for bringing up methadone. I forgot that my PM dr mentioned this a while ago, but it was before i was having such bad insurance problems so i never really paid attention.

    I really worry about loosing my insurance. I'm in a bad situation where i could loose it. The industry seems to be pretty much seized up anyways, and it will be changing soon for better or worse.

    I'd like to hear about anybody's experience with methadone too.

    Why is it so cheap? also Its not an Extended release pill, right? how is it taken?

    Thanks again.

  • Thanks for the replies on my questions.

    Methadone is the best, cheapest, most effective long lasting pain med I've ever used. It has no 'high', lasts for a ridiculously long time, and is dirt cheap. Of course this is just my opinion, but I have used Oxycontin, Opana ER, fentanyl patches, morphine ER, you name it. It's very old (over 50 years) hence the low price. It's not an extended release pill, but it IS still in pill form. It has an extremely long half life, which means it stays in your system for days, so although not time released, it works as if it was. It takes an hour or so to 'kick in' and the pain relief effects last well over 8 hours, with twice daily dosing a regular thing. Not every pain doc is comfortable with it, but in my opinion it is the #1 med to look into if you are without insurance, or on a painfully tight budget.

    Definitely talk to your doc, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask. If your doc ever decides to switch you over, make SURE they taper you slowly onto the methadone, it is a must for safety reasons, and for finding your appropriate dose for pain relief.


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  • Thanks again for the info.

    What about side effects with methadone. I've heard that there's more side effects like tiredness and weight gain. Did you have any problems like this?
  • No problems. It felt a little funny when I first started taking it, for a week or two, but nothing uncomfortable just, different. Since then it's been extremely transparent; I can't tell how much I've taken unless I check my notes or my daily container. No sleepiness. As far as weight gain, my answer is no, but I do have to say that as a 'general' rule, almost all chronic pain patients have poor or inconsistent diets, often consisting of too many sugars and not enough proteins. Weight gain or loss while on these meds can usually be attributed to changes in level of activity/exercise and changes in diet.

    As always your mileage may vary, but it's been a wonder drug for me. Good luck!


  • Hey. Thanks again for the info. Hopefully my insurance company will come through and I wont have to make any changes. It was so hard to get to the right dosage, and I cant imagine starting all over- or having to chart my progress against a new drug. Anyways its good to be able to talk to some people who understand that pain medicine is not necessarly a luxury. My insurance company has kind of taken this standpoint to avoid paying. Its impossible to understand chronic pain without having experienced it.
  • Exactly. Good luck, seriously.. I can relate to all of your points.
  • Well, I'm coming into this thread a little late but, I just joined this forum and this is exactly what I was hoping to find?

    I was just prescribed Opana ER 30mg. yesterday for my Spinal Stenosis and for the first time in many months, I was completely 100% pain free! No kidding!

    I took my first pill last evening at 8:00p and it didn't take long to kick in at all. That was terrific, I thought? It only lasted about 9 hours and I wasn't allowed to take the second pill until 8:00a today so... I was left for a couple hours in pain again???

    Now, when I took my next pill this morning as directed, not only did it kick in just like it had last evening and relieving the pain once more but, I became extremely nauseated this time and very light-headed??? Is this normal and I need to get use to the medication or what???

    Thanks in advance.
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