(Adds details on the drug)
Oct 11 (Reuters) - People who abuse the prescription paindrug Opana ER by injecting it into their bloodstream riskdeveloping a serious blood disorder that could result in kidneyfailure or death, U.S. health regulators warned on Thursday.
Opana, a powerful opioid painkiller containing oxymorphone,is produced by Endo Pharmaceuticals .
The blood disorder, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura,resulted in kidney failure requiring dialysis in some cases andat least one death, the Food and Drug Administration said.
The disorder causes clots to form in small blood vesselsthroughout the body, limiting or blocking blood flow to theorgans.
Platelets, a certain type of blood cell, help the clottingprocess. When this disorder occurs, however, platelets clumptogether in the blood clots, making fewer platelets available inthe blood in other parts of the body to help clotting there.
This can lead to bleeding under the skin and purple-coloredspots called purpura, or to bleeding inside the body.
Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura can cause death or leadto other complications with permanent damage, including braindamage and stroke, in addition to kidney failure.
The FDA said problems appear to occur with Opana ER onlywhen it is abused and injected intravenously. Opana ER is meantto be taken orally and should be taken only when prescribed andas directed.
Prescription drug abuse leads to more deaths in the UnitedStates than heroin and cocaine combined, and rural residents arenearly twice as likely to overdose on pills than people in bigcities, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Law enforcement officials are alarmed by the rise of Opanaabuse, which they said started after Oxycontin was changed inlate 2010 to make that drug more difficult to snort or injectfor a heroin-like high. Oxycontin is a brand of oxycodone.
Opana abuse can be deadly because it is more potent, permilligram, than Oxycontin and users who are not familiar withhow strong it is may be vulnerable to overdosing.
Opana, known by such street names as "stop signs," "the Obomb," and "new blues," is crushed and either snorted orinjected. Crushing defeats the pill's "extended release" design,releasing the drug all at once.
(Reporting by Debra Sherman in Chicago; Editing by Dale Hudsonand Andre Grenon)
Keywords: OPANA WARNING/