Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller commonly referred to by its brand names OxyContin, Percocet and Roxicodone. All brand names of the drug contain oxycodone, which is an opioid, or narcotic, pain medication that is prescribed for the long-term management of moderate to severe pain. However, these medications can created addiction in their users, prompting the need for oxycodone addiction treatment.

People who have chronic, severe pain are typically good candidates for the extended-release version of oxycodone, which is intended to provide people with daily, around-the-clock treatment for managing chronic pain. Some forms of oxycodone are combined with a non-narcotic painkiller such as acetaminophen (e.g., Percocet).

Methods Of Administration

Oxycodone is available as a regular and extended-release tablet or capsule that is administered orally once every 12 hours. It is also available as a solution administered via injection into a vein or muscle. The extended-release form of oxycodone is released slowly into the bloodstream for a period of up to 12 hours. Doses of oxycodone range from 10 to 80 milligrams, depending on the patient’s severity of pain.

How Does Oxycodone Work?

Oxycodone helps to reduce a person’s perception of and emotional response to pain by acting on the central nervous system (CNS). Opioids such as oxycodone bind to naturally occurring opioid receptors located in the spinal cord, brain, gastrointestinal tract and organs throughout the body to reduce a person’s sensation of pain.

Side Effects

Prescription opioids such as oxycodone can produce powerful pain-relieving effects. When abused by taking high doses or larger doses than prescribed, oxycodone can produce effects similar to heroin, including euphoria, pleasure and a sense of well-being in users. Common side effects of oxycodone include dizziness, lightheadedness, depressed breathing, nausea and vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, itching, sweating and headaches.

More serious side effects of oxycodone include:

  • Irregular heart rate
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Depressed or irregular breathing
  • Heart attacks
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Tremor
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Increased pressure of cerebral and spinal fluid
  • Overdoses, which can lead to hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain), permanent brain damage, coma and death)
  • Death

Hydrocodone Versus Oxycodone

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are both opioid analgesics used to treat patients with moderate to severe pain. Unlike hydrocodone, oxycodone is intended to be taken around the clock and has a lower risk of dependence. Hydrocodone is also more likely to cause stomach pain and constipation compared to oxycodone.

Oxycodone Abuse

Due to its high abuse and addictive potential, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified oxycodone as a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). In 2010, a new formulation of oxycodone became available to reduce the abuse potential of the drug, yet people have continued to find ways to bypass the time-release function. For example, people who abuse oxycodone destroy the time-release of the tablet or capsule by diluting it in water.

Long-term Effects

People who abuse oxycodone can affect the body’s natural pain-reducing abilities and can cause the death of nerve cells (neurons). Oxycodone can cause attention problems, restlessness and hyperactivity when abused over time. It can also contribute to judgment lapses, loss of coordination and low testosterone levels, and increase a person’s sensitivity to pain, called hyperalgesia.

Other long-term consequences of oxycodone abuse include:

  • Physical dependence
  • Addiction
  • Compromised immune system
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Death

Withdrawal Effects

Oxycodone is highly addictive and can lead to physical dependence on the drug. When people who have oxycodone dependence try to reduce their dosage or try to stop taking the drug, they can experience unpleasant, and sometimes severe, withdrawal effects such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches
  • Watering eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Fevers
  • Flu-like symptoms
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Oxycodone Addiction

Similar to other opioid drugs, oxycodone can quickly produce tolerance in users, meaning a higher dose will be needed to feel its effects. People can develop physical dependence if they take oxycodone for longer periods of time than it is intended to be taken, or if they take the drug without a prescription.

Compulsive drug use, drug cravings and drug-seeking behavior may occur when a person develops oxycodone addiction, commonly referred to as an opioid use disorder. People who develop an opioid use disorder due to oxycodone have a physical dependence on the drug and will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can make it difficult for them to stop on their own, necessitating professional oxycodone treatment.

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

Sovereign Health of Arizona’s all-female oxycodone treatment facility in Chandler, Arizona, provides women with opioid use disorders with comprehensive treatment for oxycodone addiction. A combination of group and individual therapy, evidence-based, complementary and experiential treatments, along with specialized oxycodone rehab treatments are designed to provide women with oxycodone recovery.

For further information about our treatment for oxycodone addiction at Sovereign Health of Arizona’s Chandler facility, please call our 24/7 helpline to speak with a member of our admissions team.

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