Oxycodone: A Review of the Pain Medication
Oxycodone: A Review of the Pain Medication
Oxycodone was a medical breakthrough when it was first introduced in the early 19th century as a less addictive opioid analgesic. However, the reality turned out to be different.
Today, more than 13 million Americans abuse oxycodone. Let’s take a look at this opioid analgesic, which has helped a lot of patients manage their pain, yet many others fell prey to its addictive properties.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is commonly prescribed to individuals with moderate to severe pain. It belongs to the group of opioid analgesics and is derived from thebaine – a minor constituent of opium.
After massive cutbacks on the production of heroin due to increasing cases of misuse, oxycodone was introduced as an alternative with less dependence and having an analgesic activity similar to morphine and heroin.
Types of oxycodone
Oxycodone is manufactured in various forms including tablets, capsules, suppositories, and liquids. All of these forms are available in a variety of strength. The common brand names of oxycodone are as follows:
Oxycodone is also available in combination with other analgesics. For example, oxycodone + acetaminophen is marketed as Oxycet, Roxicet, Xartemis XR, and Percocet. A combination of oxycodone and aspirin is available as Percodan.
The dosage form for combination drugs is different from oxycodone used alone.
Many individuals also abuse oxycodone and use slang names for it, e.g., oxy, hillbilly heroin, and OC and O.
What is Oxycodone Used For?
Oxycodone alters the way our nervous system responds to pain. It is used to treat moderate to severe pain in individuals who do not benefit from non-opioid analgesics and need pain control around the clock for a long time.
What Are The Effects Of Oxycodone?
Drugs are created to prevent and treat ailments and control the associated pain, but along with their desirable effects, all medicines have some undesirable effects too.
It is your physicians’ job to measure if benefits outweigh the undesirable effects, but once your doctor prescribes oxycodone, you need to know of the effects, which include pain relief – of course – tiredness, restlessness, dizziness, constipation, dry mouth, and others.
The detailed effects are mentioned in the side effects section.
Recommended Oxycodone Dosage
The dosage of oxycodone varies based on the type of medicine and age of the patient. In the case of immediate-release tablets, starting dose for adults (ages 18-64 years) may range from 5 – 15 mg given every 6 hours, whereas for older individuals (ages ≥ 65 years) a comparatively lower dose is prescribed due to slow processing of drugs in seniors.
Your doctor will adjust the dose based on your body’s response.
In the case of extended-release tablets, two doses of 10 mg are given 12 hours apart.
Never stop taking your opioid drugs immediately. Your doctor will slowly taper off the dose until it’s safe to stop taking the medicine. Moreover, if you switch from oxycodone to another opioid analgesic, do not take the same dosage for this new drug. Your healthcare provider will determine the correct dose in light of your previous dosage.
The dose of Oxycodone is also adjusted based on the medical history of the patient. For individuals with liver disease, the recommended dose is one-third or one-half of the usual dose, which is later adjusted to body’s response.
How Long Does Oxycodone Stay In Your System?
There is no straight answer to this question. Generally speaking, oxycodone stays in the blood for about 24 hours, but it can still be detected in urine, saliva, and hair for a longer duration. After the last dose of oxycodone, it can be detected in saliva for 1-4 days, in urine for 3-4 days, and in hair for up to 90 days.
Often, people look at the half-life of the drug to determine the time a drug will take to clear from the system. Half-life, as the name indicates, is the time taken to eliminate half of the drug from the body.
The value of half-life differs for different medicine; for oxycodone immediate-release tablets, it’s 3.2 hours, whereas the half-life for extended-release tablets is 4.5-5.6 hours.
Keep in mind that it takes more than two half-lives to eliminate a drug completely. Moreover, a drug loses its potential after a certain amount is eliminated from the system. Therefore, one needs to take more than one tablet in a day.
Various factors influence the clearing time of oxycodone from your system. Some of these factors are given below.
- Age: Elder people take more time to eliminate oxycodone fully. The blood concentration of oxycodone has been discovered to be 15 percent higher in seniors (above 65 years) as compared to others.
- Gender: According to information on OxyContin package insert, the concentration of oxycodone in healthy females was found to be 25 percent higher than their male counterparts. Similar observations were made in the case of Xtampza ER. The reason, however, was unclear.
- Liver & kidney function: The half-life of oxycodone increases in patients with liver dysfunction or kidney problems. It takes longer for these individuals to clear the drug.
- Duration of intake: Oxycodone takes more time in elimination if a person has been using the drug for a long time.
- Use of other medicines: Medicines that inhibit the CYP3A4 pathway also slow down oxycodone removal from the body. Taking oxycodone with macrolides, azole antifungals, and protease inhibitors can result in severe side effects of taking oxycodone including respiratory depression. On the other hand, certain drugs, such as rifampin, can decrease the effect of oxycodone.
Comparison With Other Opioids
Below is how Oxycodone compares with a large number of opioids out there in the marketplace.
Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone
Both of these drugs are potent opioid analgesics and are categorized as schedule II medicines. The major differences lie in their side effects.
Oxycodone vs OxyContin
Oxycodone is available as immediate-release and extended-release tablets. The immediate-release form is produced under the brand name Oxaydo and Roxicodone, whereas the only brand name for extended release form is OxyContin.
Oxycodone vs Tramadol
The Oxycodone Side Effects
Drugs are created to prevent and treat ailments and their outcomes. But they also have some undesirable effects. Like other opioid analgesics; oxycodone too has some side effects.
Common Side Effects
- Dry mouth
- Stomach pain
- Mood changes
- A headache
- Lightheadedness on changing position
Serious Side Effects
If you experience the following serious side effects, immediately report to your doctor:
- Chest pains
- Slow pulse
- Excess sweating
- Difficulty in breathing or swallowing
- Extreme drowsiness
- Blurred vision
- Irregular menstruation
- Severe muscle stiffness
May Cause Severe Breathing Problems
Oxycodone can cause slow or shallow breathing. This is especially relevant in the case of people who have breathing issues, like asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Oxycodone can cause severe breathing problems in such individuals.
The Effects Of Mixing Oxycodone And Alcohol
Alcohol, when mixed with oxycodone, makes a dangerous combo. It increases your risk of experiencing severe side effects of oxycodone like respiratory depression and cardiac failure.
Buying Oxycodone Online
Under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), opioids, including oxycodone, are categorized as schedule II drugs. Medicines in this schedule have a high potential for abuse, physical/psychological dependence, and addiction.
You may not be able to order oxycodone online due to strict federal and state regulations. It is best to buy these drugs from a pharmacy where you will be asked for a prescription form.
Oxycodone Addiction And Abuse
The abusive potential of oxycodone is linked to the increased dopamine activity with its intake. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that plays many important roles and is associated with the reward system of your brain. Any activity that enhances dopamine has a potential for repetition. Abuse of oxycodone can, therefore, lead to addiction.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Signs And Symptoms
Prolonged use of oxycodone can lead to dependence, which results in opioid withdrawal syndrome in case a person quits the drug. This is the reason why doctors taper off the dose slowly and gradually instead to asking the patients to stop taking opioids at once. The symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal are given below.
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle pains
- Increased heartbeat
- A runny nose
- A cough
The duration of withdrawal varies according to the dose, duration, and frequency of oxycodone use. The signs and symptoms of withdrawal appear within 6-24 hours of taking the last dose and last for about a week.
Based on their high potential for abuse, opioids may not be a good choice for everyone. Moreover, many individuals with chronic pain are not comfortable with taking opioids. For them, there are many oxycodone alternatives.
Your doctor may also prescribe other opioid analgesics. Examples include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Hydrocodone (Dilaudid)
- Oxymorphone (Opana)
- Morphine (Kadian, Avinza)
Other than opioids, you can also opt for options like non-opioid analgesics or non-drug treatments. These include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Physical therapy
- Injections or nerve blocks using local anesthesia
CBD: The Natural Pain Medication
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a chemical compound found in cannabis (marijuana). The use of CBD for medicinal purposes is a highly debated topic, but it has various health benefits. It is these benefits that CBD is legal in many states in the US. CBD is generally benign in terms of toxicity and side effects, and unlike tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it doesn’t get a person high.
How CBD Helps With Pain
Among many health benefits of CBD is its pain relieving properties. Research shows that CBD may potentially relieve pain by inhibiting neurotransmitters in the pain pathways. A 2007 meta-analysis showed that a combination of CBD and THC was effective in reducing neuropathic pain in patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS); the same pain can be debilitating in up to 70 percent of the MS patients.
Where To Buy CBD
The laws on the use of CBD have been evolving since the last century. Products containing CBD are legal in 17 states, but each of these states has specific requirements and conditions that a person needs to follow if he is to use CBD legally. Buying CBD is easier if you live in an area where it’s legal.
You can order CBD products online as well as purchase them from a local store. Medical cannabis industries also sell CBD oil. When buying online, make sure you check the customer reviews and company reputation.
Why Choose CBD Over Oxycodone?
You may not be willing to take a drug with greater side effects and high potential for abuse. In this case, CBD may be an appealing option for your pain relief.
Oxycodone is a highly effective opioid analgesic for moderate to severe pain. It is a controlled substance and cannot be acquired without a prescription. There are many alternatives which may be considered should a person desires to avoid the side effects of oxycodone.
Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purpose only. The sections on side effects and withdrawal may not contain every detail. Consult your doctor for complete information. Additionally, we do not support the non-prescription sale of Oxycodone.