Opana and Percocet Shortage?

I was reading my Internal Medicine newsletter today, mostly because it reminds me of how much happier I am treating addiction than I was when I practiced Internal Medicine, and I came across an article about commonly abused opioids. (1)

The FDA forced the plant that makes Opana ER to close down because of a malfunction of their machinery. The plant, owned by Novartis, is the only facility that makes Opana ER for Endo Pharmaceuticals. Opana ER may be in short supply in coming months. Endo is asking doctors to refrain from starting any new patients on their Opana ER to reduce the risk of affecting the supply for patients already on this medication.

The Novartis plant also makes over the counter medications like Excedrin, No-Doz, Bufferin, and Gas-X. Officials said the plant’s machinery could have inadvertently dropped opioid pills or pill fragments into bottles of these over the counter medications. As a result, all of these products with an expiration date prior to 12/20/2014 have been recalled.

Endo also makes Percocet, Percodan, oxymorphone, morphine sulfate extended release, Endocet, and Endodan. It’s possible these medications may be in short supply, though facilities manufacture these Endo opioids.

For patients who are being prescribed an Endo opioid, the manufacturer’s website provides pictures of opioid medications, so that patients can confirm their medication looks like that pictured on the website: http://endo.com

For opioid addicts, the price of these medications on the black market will rise if opioids become harder to obtain, according to the principles of supply and demand. Perhaps the increased price will tip the decisional balance scales toward entering treatment. That’s my hope.

  1. Internal Medicine News, Vol. 45, No.2, February 1, 2012, p 7.

5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by craig on February 19, 2012 at 7:16 am

    Hi I’ve been prescribed opana er for about a year after several severe incidents in a short time period you I know of the factory mix up but can’t find anything about the projected length of the factory closure or an estimate on when the factory may reopen this medication has been extremely difficult to obtain if you have heard anything on this topic please reply


  2. Posted by Bob on February 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    If you have any additional questions or concerns, you can contact customer service at 1-800-462-3636.
    This is the number to Endo’s customer service.


  3. Posted by Jess on July 4, 2017 at 8:10 pm

    I am extremely uspet that my Dr is taking me off of zanex, because I also have to take pain medicine. I’ve been on 3 mg of zanez for almost 2 years because of my husband committing suicide. He told me that too many people are dying from taking both medications together. I have never ever had a problem with abusing either medication. And I have tried every other anxiety meds out there,alot of them have way worse side effects. I have blacked out on a few of them and don’t remember a thing I did during the night. I don’t think this is at all fair to the ones who don’t miss use medication. I have begged him to let me stay on just one mg of zanex a day,but he refused. Anyone have any idea of what else I can do,or try. I’m so affraid of going through the withdrawals also. Pls help. I don’t think that we should just let them do this to us


    • Drugs like Xanax can be helpful in the short term, but can have serious adverse effects in the long run. For example, benzodiazepines have been shown to interfere with the grief process, and make PTSD worse. Such medications, if taken long-term, increase your risk of falls, auto accidents, and possible dementia.
      I think as long as your doctor works with you and does a gradual taper, you may actually feel better once you are off it.
      Please hand in there – it sounds like your doctor is trying hard to do the right thing.


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