A Review of Oxymorphone Hydrochloride (Numorphan*) Analgesia Employed for General Surgery

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THIS paper presents a clinical evaluation of the synthetic analgesic, oxymorphone hydrochloride (Numorphan*), when used for preoperative medication, as a supplementary agent during general anesthesia, and for the relief of postoperative pain.

Chemical and Physical Properties of Numorphan

Numorphan hydrochloride is a colorless salt that has one molecule of water of crystallization. It is freely soluble in water and sparingly soluble in alcohol. The base melts in a temperature range from 248 to 249 C., and is readily soluble in acid and alkaline solutions. It is also soluble in chloroform and in acetone, and moderately soluble in ethanol and in benzene. The solution of the hydrochloride is stable at room temperatures and is not decomposed by light. It is miscible with atropine and thiopental and sodium without precipitation.

Figure 1 shows the chemical structure of Numorphan. It is an alkaloid, differing from dihydromorphinone by the addition of a hydroxyl group at the fourteenth position of the phenanthrene ring.

Pharmacologic Properties of Numorphan Experimentally Deduced

In an experimental study Eddy and Lee1 established that in humans, 1.02 mg. of Numorphan is equivalent to 10 mg. of morphine. Blumberg, Carson, and Stein2 found that in mice doses exceeding therapeutic concentrations produced bradycardia. Blumberg and Carson3 reported that Numorphan was not so constipating as morphine administered in equivalent doses. They2,3 reported that N-allyl-normorphine hydrochloride (Nalline*) reversed the respiratory depression induced by Numorphan.

It is postulated4 that Numorphan possesses a certain amount of the so-called “tranquilizing” effect of such compounds.

Operative Administration in Humans



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