OxyContin Dosage and Administration

This controlled release version of oxycodone is very potent and should be taken as prescribed by a doctor. Increasing the dose or how often you take OxyContin can cause serious complications including overdose. It's important to pay close attention to the prescription label and insert. Both will include directions on safe use and how to take OxyContin to avoid risks.

OxyContin is meant to treat moderate to severe pain that is around the clock and expected to continue for a long period. It's not meant to be taken on an as-needed basis. Many patients are started out with non-narcotic pain relievers and switched to prescription painkillers if they aren't getting adequate pain relief. Purdue Pharma, which manufactures the drug, says some strengths of OxyContin are meant only for people who are already opiate tolerant. The company says it should be used only by people who take 60 mg, 80 mg, 160 mg. or a daily dose greater than 80 mg. Otherwise, they could suffer fatal respiratory depression.

OxyContin is an opioid agonist that has a high potential to be abused and diverted. The controlled release formula is meant to release medication every 12 hours. Tablets of this drug are meant to be swallowed whole and not crushed, broken or chewed. This could result in a potentially fatal dose of OxyContin flooding the system. OxyContin therapy should always be tailored to patients' needs and medical history. When appropriate, doctors are urged to start patients on the lowest possible dose of the medication. Doctors will most likely do follow-ups with the patient to see how the medication is working and whether adjustments to dosage need to be made.

Who Is A Good Candidate for OxyContin Therapy?

There are some factors a doctor may consider when deciding to initiate OxyContin therapy for a patient. They include: age, medical status, medical history, prior history of analgesics, prior opioid use and what the benefits and risks for the patient will be. Because OxyContin interactions are possible, a doctor will also want to assess other medications that patients are taking. OxyContin is a central nervous system depressant, so it can be dangerous to take it with other substances that have this effect. These include other opioids, alcohol, tranquilizers, barbiturates and sedatives.

Prolonged use of OxyContin could lead to the development of a tolerance, meaning that patients will need increasingly larger doses to achieve pain relief. It's important that patients talk to the doctor if the medication stops working. Increasing the dosage without a doctor's consent can be very dangerous and could lead to opioid overdose. Taking this drug for an extended period can also cause physical dependency, meaning that withdrawal symptoms will develop if use is stopped. The presence of both physical and psychological dependence can indicate an addiction has developed. Patients should be carefully tapered from their medication if a doctor decides to cease therapy with OxyContin.