Oxycodone FAQs

1) What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an opioid agonist that is available by prescription and is intended for moderate to severe pain. Popular medications that contain oxycodone include Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) and OxyContin, a controlled release medication for around-the-clock pain. Oxycodone is a Schedule II Controlled Substance based on its medical use and high potential for abuse.

2) Is Oxycodone an Opiate?

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. An opiate is an alkaloid found naturally in the opium poppy plant. Naturally active opiates found in opium include morphine, codeine, thebaine and papaverine. Semi-synthetic opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone and hydromorphone. Opiates and opioids are used clinically for the purposes of pain relief. Some are also able to suppress a cough. Oxycodone and all other opioids can be habit forming and may lead to opioid dependence or addiction if taken over a prolonged period or misused in any way.

3) What is the Best Method to Detox from Oxycodone?

People who become physically and/or psychologically dependent upon oxycodone may have difficulty if they try to stop taking it. Opioid withdrawal can develop within a few hours of last use and can be very debilitating, even dangerous. Symptoms can include severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, strong cravings, body tremors, agitation and insomnia. In severe cases, seizures may develop and could lead to unconsciousness or coma. For this reason, oxycodone home detox is strongly discouraged. Most people benefit from medical and psychological support during oxycodone detox. Different rehab and detox facilities specialize in opioid detox with different approaches and required lengths of stay. Opiate replacement therapy with Suboxone or methadone is another possibility. These are designed to help control symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal. These medications are also opioids and may eventually lead to dependence. Rapid opiate detox is another option that allows patients to detox quickly in a medically supported environment.

4) What are the Possible Side Effects of Oxycodone?

People may experience different side effects when taking oxycodone, based on the length of use, the dosage, the person's unique chemistry, his or her weight and the level of opioid tolerance. Constipation is a top complaint for people taking oxycodone and other opioids. Other possible side effects include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, headache, sweating and weakness. It can also cause feelings of sedation and relaxation. Signs of an allergic reaction include rash, hives, itching, difficult breathing, tightness in the chest and swelling of the mouth, face, lips or tongue. Other potentially serious side effects include confusion, fainting, difficult urination, hallucinations, changes in heartbeat, severe dizziness or drowsiness, seizures, tremors and vision changes.

5) What is the Most Important Information I Should Know About Oxycodone?

Oxycodone can be taken safely and successfully but absolutely needs to be taken as directed. There are many warnings and precautions that accompany a prescription for oxycodone. Taking too much oxycodone, or taking it more often than prescribed, can be dangerous. Misuse or abuse of any kind can cause potentially serious complications. These can include oxycodone dependence, addiction or overdose.

6) What Should I Discuss With My Healthcare Provider Before I Take Oxycodone?

Ask a doctor any questions you may have before beginning a prescription with oxycodone. It's important to talk to your doctor about all medical conditions and any medications, vitamins or supplements you are taking. Your doctor will also want to know if you have had any prior issues with drug or alcohol addiction. There are some substances and medications that could interact with oxycodone, so check the prescription label before taking it.

7) How Should I Take Oxycodone?

This medication needs to be taken exactly as directed to avoid complications. Taking more oxycodone than what's prescribed can be dangerous. The prescription label includes pertinent information about precautions, warnings and interactions. This medication is a central nervous system depressant, so taking it with other substances that have this effect can be dangerous. Respiratory arrest can develop, so patients taking opioids should avoid alcohol, other opiates, benzodiazepines, sedatives and hypnotics.

8) What Happens If I Miss a Dose?

The drug's manufacturers say that anyone who misses a dose of oxycodone should take it as soon as he or she remembers. If it is almost time for this patient to take the next dose of OxyContin, he or she should skip the missed dose and resume the regular dosing schedule. Patients should never double up on doses of this medication because effects could be fatal.

9) What Happens If I Overdose?

An opioid overdose can be fatal. In order to avoid this complication patients should always take oxycodone as directed. People who do not have a prescription for it should not take it. Oxycodone overdose can happen if a person takes too much of the drug, mixes it with other substances that depress the central nervous system or takes too high a dosage without being opioid tolerant. Signs of an overdose can include trouble breathing, dizziness, faintness, cold or clammy skin, slowed heart rate and convulsions. Serious respiratory depression could result in cardiac arrest, coma or death.

10) What Should I Avoid While Taking Oxycodone?

Other central nervous system depressants should be avoided, including alcohol, other opiates, sedatives and hypnotics. Combining these substances could lead to profound sedation, respiratory depression or death. People who take oxycodone 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.

11) What Other Drugs Will Affect Oxycodone?

Oxycodone can interact with other substances. These can cause an intensification of effects or lead to dangerous complications. These include alcohol, other narcotics, anesthetics, antihistamines that cause drowsiness, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, MAO inhibitors, protease inhibitors and beta-blockers.