Is OxyContin An Opiate?

OxyContin is often referred to as both an opiate and an opioid. This is because, generally, people confuse the two terms and use them interchangeably. Though this is not technically correct, it is generally accepted. The term "opiate" is more popular and used more often than "opioid."

Opiates are a subgroup of opioids and are direct derivatives of the opium poppy plant. These include codeine, morphine and thebaine. There are three other subgroups of opioids. They include semi-synthetic opioids, which are derived from natural opiates, fully synthetic opiates that are fully manmade and endogenous opiates, which are created by the body.

What Is OxyContin And How Is It Used?

OxyContin contains the active ingredient oxycodone, a semi-synthetic opioid agonist that is derived from thebaine. The pharmacological effects of oxycodone include analgesia, sedation, relaxation, respiratory depression, constipation, pupil constriction and cough suppression. OxyContin is meant to treat moderate to severe pain that is around the clock in nature.

This medication is long acting and meant to be taken twice a day. It comes in several strengths, ranging from 10 mg to 160 mg. Anything over 60 mg is meant for patients who are already tolerant of opiates. Taking too high of a dosage without being sufficiently tolerant to opiates could result in overdose or death.

Many people rely on OxyContin to deal with the pain of diseases such as cancer. It can be taken safely and successfully under the close supervision of a physician. There are certain problems that can arise if OxyContin is misused in any way.

Abuse Of OxyContin Can Lead To Overdose And Death

OxyContin has quickly become one of the most abused prescription medications out there. Opiates, as a class, have a huge potential for abuse and misuse. It's incredibly dangerous for people to use these drugs for recreational purposes. Opiates are prolific on the black market, but the cost often turns those who are addicted toward cheaper alternatives such as heroin. Risks of OxyContin abuse include fatal overdose.

OxyContin addiction is dire and requires immediate professional treatment to ease patients through opiate withdrawal. This can be a very difficult time, and dangerous as well. Patients who are medically managed in some way during OxyContin withdrawal have a much better chance at a safe and lasting recovery.