Roxanol Addiction and Abuse

Roxanol is a brand name for morphine sulfate. It is also known as rectal morphine. Roxanol is used for immediate pain relief, used to help someone with severe pain right away. It is often used for cancer patients or others that are terminally ill. This is because it’s so incredibly addictive, it wouldn’t make sense to give it to a patient otherwise. However, sometimes doctors do give it to patients that aren’t terminally ill. There are situations where Roxanol is stolen from a medical setting and makes its way onto the streets.

Roxanol does help patients with severe pain but it quickly causes dependency and addiction. As morphine being the main ingredient, the brand Roxanol changes how the body and mind see pain. It is prescription only and when someone becomes addicted to it, it’s important to go through detox and rehabilitation. This makes a big difference in how the withdrawal, overdose, and recovery goes.

What is Roxanol?

Roxanol is essentially morphine sulfate which is associated with narcotic pain relievers. It’s used mostly for chronic and acute pain. This could be anything from pain due to cancer, a heart attack or someone in labor. It’s extremely addictive and using it long term can lead to withdrawal syndrome when you stop using it. Roxanol is available in immediate-release and extended-release. When you take extended-release, it is taken once per day and works for 24 hours.

Even when a patient takes the drug as directed, it can become habit forming. If it’s abused, it can quickly lead to dependence. Roxanol is used in the hospice emergency kit so when someone is dealing with extreme pain, it can be administered. Many patients don’t want to take the drug because they know how addictive it is. In an end-of-life care situation, it’s an efficient way of managing pain. Tragically, the person may be at their rock bottom with dependency to Roxanol while they’re in the last days of their life. However, when someone is going through severe pain, it’s a fast acting pain medication.

When someone is terminally ill, the benefits of how effectively Roxanol relieves pain may outweigh the addictive nature of the medication. Drug dependence is reduced when the drug is managed properly. This involved a scheduled narcotic program as opposed to giving a patient the drug whenever they say they’re in pain.

Heroin Addiction

Roxanol Addiction

Morphine Sulfate is a Schedule II controlled substance as per the FDA. This indicates that Roxanol is at high risk of being abused. It’s risky to give patients this drug if they’re not hospitalized. The likelihood of a patient increasing their dosage is likely because patients will build a quick tolerance which leads to the potential of abuse. It doesn’t take long before a person is addicted. When they try to stop, intense withdrawal symptoms may lead them back to Roxanol within a few days. Due to the powerful effects of morphine on the body, you should taper from the drug.

Roxanol is heavily controlled but that doesn’t mean it isn’t stolen in some way or another. For someone addicted to morphine, heroin, or other opioid prescription medications, Roxanol gives an addict the necessary means to avoid withdrawal symptoms. If they have access to it, their heroin addiction becomes a Roxanol addiction. All opioids are interchangeable for abuse in the midst of addiction.

Roxanol™ contains:

Morphine Sulfate...................................... 20 mg

Chemically, Morphine Sulfate is, Morphinan-3,6-diol, 7,8-didehydro-4,5-epoxy-17-methyl-,(5α,6α)-, sul-fate(2:1)(salt), pentahydrate

Sometimes, Roxanol is stolen from a hospital setting. It’s available on the streets for those who often use heroin or other opioids that become available. The street names include:

  • Miss Emma
  • Morpho
  • Dreamer
  • Monkey
  • White Stuff
  • Hows

Roxanol comes in oral doses of 10 to 30 mg and is usually given every 4 hours as needed. Roxanol also comes in a suppository form that is put into the rectum for dosing. This medication also is given up to every four hours for pain management. For someone who is having a hard time taking pills or injections, rectal morphine is beneficial. When a patient is given Rectal morphine, they should receive it at the same time every day. It may start to work less over time in which case a doctor can assess what to do.

Roxanol Side Effects

When taking Roxanol daily, some side effects can occur. As a highly concentrated solution of morphine, it has similar effects to using heroin. Some of the common side effects include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting
  • Pain in the stomach
  • A lack of appetite leading to weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Anxiety
  • You may feel flush
  • You may have problems remembering things
  • Insomnia
  • Night terrors when you do get sleep 

There are dangers to using any form of morphine. Narcotic analgesics depress the central nervous system which is what governs your respiratory system. Your heart can slow down to a dangerous level or you can stop breathing altogether. Other hazards that have occurred include:

  • Circulatory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Shock
  • Cardiac arrest 

Within the central nervous system, reactions can include:

  • Euphoria
  • Dysphoria
  • Weakness in the body
  • Agitation
  • You may become disoriented
  • You may experience visual disturbances or hallucinations 

Within the gastrointestinal system, reactions can include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Sphincter spasm
  • Anorexia may occur 

Within the cardiovascular system, reactions can include:

  • Bradycardia
  • Palpitation
  • You may feel faint

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For pregnant woman, it’s not known whether it’s safe to use morphine. There is no known research that has proved or disproved it can cause a fetus harm. Morphine of any kind should only be given to pregnant women if absolutely necessary. What they do know is morphine crosses the placental barrier when administered during childbirth. Morphine has also been detected in human milk so women breastfeeding shouldn’t be administered morphine.

If you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, it’s important to get help right away. This can happen when you take Roxanol. Symptoms include an increase in body temperature, agitation, fever, sweating, a quickened heart rate, muscle stiffness, loss of coordination, twitching, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Roxanol can cause more serious side effects and are more likely in older adults or patients that are malnourished or debilitated.

Roxanol Overdose

Opioid medications of any kind can slow down or stop your breathing. You may fall into a coma or there’s a risk of death. Roxanol is a powerful opioid containing morphine so the risk of overdose is high. Overdose occurs from depressed respiratory, you can fall into a coma and death is a risk. When someone crushes and snorts, chews, or injects Roxanol, there is a greater risk of overdose. When the drug is abused, it causes too much Roxanol to be released into the body at the same time.

Here are some of the most common overdose symptoms with Roxanol:

  • Shallow breathing or a weakened, slow heart rate.
  • Pain in the chest.
  • Fast, pounding heartbeat.
  • Drowsiness that makes the person feel as though they will pass out.
  • Low levels of cortisol that can cause nausea, vomiting, dizziness, further tiredness, lack of coordination and weakness.

While Roxanol is not in the picture as the kind of drug that has ruined lives, morphine has been in the limelight. Roxanol is pure morphine in a suppository form. It is used mainly for patients who are terminally ill. For this reason, it’s not a drug of concern. However, the risks are there. If Roxanol was more available, it would surely pose the same issues as morphine has. There have been some celebrities in Hollywood that abused morphine or become addicted. Here are their stories.

River Phoenix

At just 23 years old, River Phoenix died in front of Johnny Depp’s Viper Room in Hollywood. It’s already been 25 years since Phoenix died from taking speedballs. He died on the side of the road in front of the club. The coroner found a high amount of cocaine, morphine, and heroin in his system. There was also Valium, marijuana, and ephedrine found in his system. He had battled addiction to opioids and cocaine for quite some time. He had never talked about it or received help because he was worried it would ruin his career.

Jamie Lee Curtis

You probably wouldn’t have known Curtis ever had a problem throughout her career. She was quiet about her problems with morphine. It started with a cosmetic operation she had done on her eyes. This procedure was painful and she was given prescription painkillers to help her manage the pain. She would eventually become addicted to the painkillers given to her. She became psychologically dependent on morphine to help her escape reality.

She managed to get past her addiction when she realized it was out of control. Many celebrities don’t have the scope to get help. They have so much to lose when it comes to being honest about a problem like addiction. If these drugs help someone do their job, people in the industry will get them what they need and the money to obtain drugs are unlimited. Jamie Lee Curtis was lucky to have overcome her addiction of morphine before it ruined her life or killed her.

Michael Jackson

The death of Michael Jackson couldn’t be solely attributed to prescription drugs but it was a contributing factor. After his hair caught fire while doing a Pepsi commercial, he started taking prescription painkillers. He was given them long term and it started to influence his career. Sometimes, he was unable to perform. Throughout the time he was addicted to prescription opioids, he was also going through a lot of stress and trauma in his life. He was over medicating all the time and it ultimately killed him.

Heath Ledger

Roxanol has never been known to cause death by overdose when taken alone. There are many instances where someone is a polydrug user. These drugs feed off of each other and makes it more likely for the heart to slow down to dangerous levels or even stop altogether. Some may believe that prescription drugs are harmless. In the case of Heath Ledger, this proves just how dangerous they can be.

Ledger was found dead in his apartment in 2008 from an accidental overdose. He didn’t take any of the drugs in excess but he did mix them. Drugs that were involved were opioids, anxiety medications, and sleeping pills which are all central nervous system depressants. Taking Roxanol, morphine, or any other type of opioid with other drugs can be deadly.

This excellent TED Talk involves a talk with Travis Rieder explains what opioid dependency and addiction feels like. After taking opioid painkillers for two months due to an accident that caused a foot injury, he became hooked. He went through acute opioid withdrawal with no real help because doctors were ill equipped. He talks about the early stages of withdrawal. How they feel like the flu. The pain in his foot came back exponentially. He says he would cry for no reason and with no warning. When they called the doctor, the doctor recommended that he go back on the drugs and try again later.

Travis Rieder didn’t really want to do that but he knew he needed a plan to get past his opioid addiction. He was highly depressed, felt desperate, and hopeless. He recounted all of the painful withdrawal symptoms he experienced. He also talked about how quick the doctors and pain management teams were to give him medications. However, he had a hard time getting the same people to help him wean off opioids.

If you’re dealing with Roxanol withdrawal, this video is an excellent guide for the symptoms you can expect. Tapering off Roxanol would have made Rieder’s journey much easier and this may be a conclusion you come up with too. If you are dealing with morphine withdrawal, seek a rehab program that can help you.

Shelby Kreger has gone through a lot in her short life. She has had an addiction to opioids since she was quite young. She got herself clean just a few months before getting pregnant. She stayed clean the whole time she was pregnant and into her daughter, Adrianna’s first year. Then she relapsed.

When this happened, her mom called Child Protective Services and caused her daughter to lose custody. Adrianna is currently living with Kreger’s mom in Everett. Shelby is in recovery in Yakima, WA.  If Shelby continues to show she is recovering, she’ll get Adrianna back later this year. Shelby Kreger began using heroin at age 15. During her pregnancy, she was on Subutex which is one of the treatments for opioid addiction. Shelby was lucky that there were very little consequences for her child due to her addiction to opioids.

Kreger recounts a relative who abused heroin during her pregnancy. She ended up overdosing which required an emergency C-section. The baby was almost to term but she had to stay in the hospital and go through detox. Shelby’s mother said it was heartbreaking to call Child Protective Services on her own daughter. She was unwilling to enable her daughter to continue abusing opioids and destroy her life.

Roxanol, being a CNS medication should not be mixed with other drugs that also do the same. When two substances that suppress the nervous system are used simultaneously, they can cause the heart to slow down or stop completely.

Roxanol can interact with the following substances and shouldn’t be taken together:

  • Alcohol
  • Other pain medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Sedatives or tranquilizers
  • Muscle relaxants
  • Drugs like cimetidine, buprenorphine, pentazocine, or water pills.

Roxanol Short and Long Term Side Effects

Taking Roxanol for a long time can affect your ability to have children both in men and women. Currently, it’s unknown if the effects on your fertility are permanent. Side effects for long term use include:

  • Chronic dizziness and exhaustion
  • Constipation
  • Profuse sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Psychoses
  • Addiction
  • Risk of fatal overdose 

Some short term effects of using Roxanol include:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Urinary retention
  • Headaches
  • Convulsions
  • Constipation

Roxanol Withdrawal Symptoms

When you take more Roxanol than recommended or if the doctor’s give you too much of the medication, it can lead to dependency. Morphine withdrawal symptoms will often include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flu-like symptoms like chills, fever, diarrhea, and joint pain
  • Stomach pain
  • Watery eyes
  • Convulsions
  • Anorexia
  • An increase in blood pressure, breathing rate, and heart rate 

Apart from physical and psychological dependence on Roxanol, it can lead to tolerance. You’ll need more of the drug to feel the effects. Withdrawal treatment of Roxanol is necessary to get past the extreme withdrawal symptoms you face. This is known as detox where you’ll likely taper off the drug with medical assistance.

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Addiction Treatment for Roxanol

Roxanol addiction is challenging to get over. However, it is treatable. Getting professional help through a rehab program can make all the difference. Firstly, if you notice that you’re having to take more of the drug to get the effects, you should tell your doctor. In a situation where you’re being hospitalized, they will be paying close attention to the amount of pain you’re in. However, if someone has access to Roxanol and are taking it recreationally, addiction can happen so fast. A tell tale sign of addiction potential is the tolerance level.

Addiction to Roxanol can be indicated by needing to take it more over time. It may become hard to focus on your life, especially if you don’t have the drug in your system. If you take Roxanol even as directed, you can develop a dependence. When this happens, a tapering program may be necessary. You will slowly take less of the drug as time goes on. This prevents the extreme withdrawal symptoms and lets the body adjust slowly. If the tapering process isn’t working or you’re not willing to stop taking Roxanol, addiction treatment is necessary.

Roxanol detox will include decreasing the dosage over time. Buprenorphine is one of the treatments that may be given. It is FDA approved for opioid addiction treatment. Buprenorphine is an opioid too. It binds to your opioid receptors, blocking other opioids from binding. As it’s a partial agonist, it doesn’t have the same pleasurable effects as Roxanol. It is strong enough to prevent withdrawal symptoms however. It can lessen the amount of time you’re in detox and is also used as part of a long-term maintenance plan.

Methadone is also used as a medication for getting people off Roxanol. It’s been used since the 1970’s as an opioid addiction treatment. It is also good for pain management. For those who are still managing pain, this might be the right option.

Roxanol Rehab

When you’ve gone through detox, you’ll then want to deal with the psychological reasons for your addiction. You don’t necessarily have to go to rehab after detox but it has been shown that you’re more likely to relapse if you don’t. Rehab can be done through an inpatient or outpatient facility. You can spend 28 days in a rehab inpatient program. You immerse in your recovery, solely focusing on getting clean for good. You’ll receive the most up-to-date methods that have been proven to help addicts recover.

An outpatient program gives you greater flexibility to continue on with your responsibilities. You’ll visit a facility daily and get intensive treatments. There are also outpatient programs that are available. They are usually best as a step down program or for a mild addiction. If you have a Roxanol addiction, an Intensive Outpatient Program or Inpatient Program is recommended.

Maintenance is necessary to keep you on the right path. After rehab, you’ll go home but the work isn’t done. Aftercare is a process that will last a lifetime. At first, you may wish to seek out an addiction counselor in your area. There are also Narcotics Anonymous meetings available in every city and town across the US. Here, you’ll find a community of recovering addicts that offer you necessary peer support. Even if your family offers understanding and support, they aren’t going through what you are. Talking with other addicts in a safe environment makes you feel less alone. You can work through your emotions and talk about your challenges.

An addiction to Roxanol isn’t easy to get past but it is possible. With professional rehab, you’ll gain the tools you need to deal with the difficulties. You can get past the withdrawal symptoms holistically or medically. Northpoint, the Evergreen at Bellevue is an Intensive Outpatient Facility. We have helped many addicts move on past their addictions and enjoy a quality life. We offer a warm environment. Our staff is compassionate and highly experienced in addiction treatment. We can help you start your recovery journey today. Find out if your insurance covers our program or feel free to contact us with any of your questions.

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