Oxycodone Facts

Oxycodone: Description

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic that provides analgesia and has properties that also include cough suppression, respiratory depression and euphoria. This opioid has been used clinically since 1917. Oxycodone hydrochloride comes in tablet form and is the immediate release form of the drug, indicated for moderate to severe pain. OxyContin is the controlled-release form of oxycodone and is intended for moderate to severe chronic pain. It is designed to release medication every 12 hours.

Patients should be cautious when taking this potent opioid painkiller because there are certain risks that can present themselves. The medication can be taken safely and has the ability to provide relief from unrelenting pain. The most important step to take before beginning therapy with oxycodone or OxyContin is to read all pertinent information that accompanies the prescription. Important information includes:

  • Oxycodone Dosage and Administration
  • Oxycodone Precautions
  • Oxycodone Side Effects
  • Oxycodone Possible Interactions
  • Oxycodone Adverse Reactions
  • Oxycodone Warnings
  • Oxycodone Tolerance and Physical Dependence
  • Oxycodone Drug Abuse and Dependence
  • Oxycodone Overdose

Oxycodone and OxyContin Are Considered Drugs of Abuse

Oxycodone is a Schedule II Controlled Substance, classified as such based on its medical use and high potential to lead to abuse. Oxycodone is considered a drug of abuse and is often diverted through theft, prescription theft and doctor shopping. Abuse of OxyContin can involve the disabling of the time-controlled mechanism by chewing or crushing the tablets. Some people then snort, inject or smoke the drug in order to facilitate rapid absorption. This creates a powerful high that can lead to the release of a potentially fatal dose.

It's important to know exactly how to take oxycodone. Safe use can mean the difference between life and death. Serious complications can arise, including physical and/or psychological addiction. This has become a national epidemic which first appeared in rural parts of the U.S. and has since spread throughout urban centers and surrounding suburbs. Oxycodone abuse and addiction can seriously impact the health and wellbeing of people, families and entire communities. It has been linked with countless instances of personal and property crimes, along with accidental deaths and overdoses.

Doctors are often encouraged to try non-narcotic options for pain relief when possible. Less potent opioids may also be explored. If oxycodone is prescribed, doctors should start patients on the lowest possible dosage. It can be adjusted later if it's determined to be too low or too high.

Oxycodone can be taken safely by most patients but it can become habit forming. The United States classifies oxycodone as a Schedule II Controlled Substance based on its medical use and high abuse potential. In order to avoid problems while taking oxycodone, it is very important that people take it exactly as prescribed. Illicit use of oxycodone has dramatically increased in recent years but is highly discouraged. This is because oxycodone misuse or abuse can lead to physical dependence, addiction and a potentially fatal overdose.

A prescription for oxycodone should come with an insert that clearly outlines how the medication should be used and how to avoid complications. It will include guidelines for safe use, warnings, precautions and information about side effects, interactions and allergic reaction.

Side Effects and Certain Reactions Are Possible when Taking Oxycodone

The side effects associated with oxycodone can depend on a number of variables but generally include: constipation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, sweating, weakness and feelings of sedation and relaxation.

More serious side effects can include: confusion, fainting, difficult urination, hallucinations, changes in heartbeat, severe dizziness or drowsiness, seizures, tremors and vision changes. People who have an allergic reaction to oxycodone should get emergency medical help. They may develop signs including: rash, hives, itching, difficult breathing, tightness in the chest and swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue.

Problems With Oxycodone Can Include Interactions and Addiction

Oxycodone is a central nervous system depressant. Taking it with other substances that have this effect can be dangerous. These include alcohol, other opiates, sedatives and hypnotics. Respiratory arrest can develop, so patients taking opioids should avoid alcohol, other opiates, benzodiazepines, sedatives and hypnotics. Oxycodone can cause impairments. People who take it should avoid operating heavy machinery or doing tasks that require alertness until they know how the drug affects them. Breastfeeding is discouraged because the drug can be passed in breast milk. Doctors should weigh benefits and risks when prescribing oxycodone.

Oxycodone addiction has skyrocketed in the last several years. The availability of this drug through legal and illegal means has spurred diversion and other crimes in communities throughout the nation. This has in turn spurred a dramatic increase in heroin use and abuse. Heroin is considered a natural form of opioids such as oxycodone. It produces many of the same effects. People who can't find or afford oxycodone on the streets often turn to heroin, which is cheaper.