OxyContin Misuse or Abuse of Any Kind Can Lead to Opioid Overdose
Accidental overdoses and deaths attributed to OxyContin have troubled medical personnel since the drug was released in the U.S. in 1996. This potent opioid painkiller depresses the Central Nervous System and effects of the drug can be heightened if other CNS depressants are used at the same time. Other substances that have this effect include alcohol, other narcotics (prescription and illegal), tranquilizers, sedatives, hypnotics and barbiturates.
A person can also suffer an opioid overdose if they take too much OxyContin. For this reason, it's extremely important that patients take the medication exactly as directed. If serious side effects occur when OxyContin therapy is started, patients should speak to the doctor about adjusting the dose or other possible alternatives.
OxyContin comes in tablets that are controlled release, meaning the medication is delivered into the system every 12 hours. Higher doses of the drug are meant only for patients who are already tolerant to opioids. People who are not opioid tolerant but take these high dosages could suffer a fatal overdose.
Patients Should Never Take More OxyContin Than What's Prescribed
OxyContin contains oxycodone, a Schedule II Controlled Substance that classifies it as a medication with a high abuse potential. Many people misuse or abuse this medication for the "high," sedation or euphoria it can produce. This is extremely dangerous. The medication, whether taken recreationally or for a legitimate chronic pain condition, can cause a tolerance to develop. This is when the drug becomes ineffective and the body requires increasingly higher doses to achieve the desired effect. People should never take more OxyContin than what's prescribed because of the risk for overdose.
OxyContin misuse can also resort in an overdose. The tablets are meant to be taken whole, by mouth. Crushing, chewing or otherwise breaking the tablet to inject or snort it can cause a potentially fatal dose to flood the system.
OxyContin Overdose: Treatment and Signs
Early treatment for an OxyContin overdose is essential. If you suspect that you or someone you know is overdosing, seek immediate medical attention. If caught early enough, medical personnel can pump the stomach, induce vomiting, give activated charcoal to prevent the drug from absorbing or administer a drug that can counteract the drug (naloxone).
Signs of an OxyContin overdose include: *Slowed heart rate *Shallow or difficult breathing *Limp muscles *Cold, clammy skin *Low blood pressure *Extreme drowsiness that can progress to coma *Cardiac arrest *Death