Oxycodone is a narcotic used to relieve moderate and severe pain.
OxyContin is a time-release oxycodone brand manufactured by PurduePharma, which works up to 12 hours.
The drug belongs to a class of drugs called opioid analgesics; they work by changing how your brain and nervous system react to pain.
Oxycodone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1976.
The drug is available in liquid form, tablets, capsules and extended-release tablets. Extended-release tablets are used for patients who need a 24-hour anesthetic.
Like all opioid pain killers, oxycodone has been given more attention by law enforcement officers, health care providers and government officials because of its potential for abuse.
More than 100 000 deaths in the US were caused by prescription opioids, such as oxycodone.
Oxycodone is available alone or in combination with other substances, including acetaminophen, Bayer, Bufferin and Advil, Motrin, Mydol.
Combined preparations of oxycodone and acetaminophen have brand names such as Vicodin and Lortab. You should read about all the ingredients if you are taking a combined product that contains oxycodone.
There are serious health risks associated with the use of oxycodone, including severe or life-threatening breathing problems, especially during the first 72 hours of treatment and at any time the dose increases.
Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had asthma, lung disease, head trauma, kyphoscoliosis (bending of the spine, which can cause breathing problems).
Taking other drugs with oxycodone may increase the risk of breathing problems. Tell your doctor about all medications, including supplements that you are taking.
Keep oxycodone out of the reach of children and adolescents, as the medicine can harm them or even lead to death.
Tell your doctor if you have or have ever had seizures, low blood pressure, Addison’s disease, enlarged prostate, heart problems, liver, kidneys, pancreas, thyroid or esophageal cancer.
People sometimes abuse oxycodone to achieve the euphoric effect that it can provide.
Oxycodone can also be addictive. Take it exactly as your doctor prescribed.
Tell your doctor if you or a family member have a history of alcohol, drug abuse, or have ever had a mental illness.
Abuse of oxycodone by other analgesics can lead to serious side effects, including unconsciousness, breathing problems, including respiratory arrest and death.
To avoid withdrawal symptoms, medical experts advise gradually to reduce the dosage of oxycodone instead of suddenly stopping the use of the drug.
Do not stop taking oxycodone without first talking to your doctor because of the risk of withdrawal symptoms.
Oxycodone and pregnancy
Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, you can get pregnant or breast-feed before taking oxycodone.
Your child may experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if you are using oxycodone during pregnancy.
A small amount of the drug excreted in breast milk can also cause side effects in infants.
Oxycodone: side effects
Oxycodone can cause several side effects. You should tell your doctor if any of the following symptoms is serious or does not disappear:
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Mood Changes
Serious side effects
Seek immediate medical attention or seek emergency medical help if you experience the following serious symptoms:
- Thoracic pain
- Fast or irregular heartbeat
- Swelling of the face, tongue, throat, lips, eyes, feet, hands, ankles or legs
- Difficulty breathing or swallowing
- Severe drowsiness
Tell your doctor about all the medicines that you take.
The following drugs are among the many that can interact with oxycodone:
- Such as Biaxin and E-Mycin, Erythrocin
- Antifungal drugs, including Itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox), Nizoral and Voriconazole (Vfend)
- Carbamazepine (Carbatrol, Epitol, Equitro, Teryl)
- Indinavir (Crixivan), Nelfinavir (Viracept), and Ritonavir (Norvir)
- Other narcotic drugs
- Muscle relaxants
- Phenytoin (Fenitek)
- Rifabutin (Mycobutin)
- Rifadin, Rimactane, Rifamate
- Sleeping Pills
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI), such as Isocarbozid (Marplan), Fenelzin (Nardil), Tranylcypromine (Parnate), Selegiline (Eldepril) and Procarbazine (Matulane)
Alcohol and oxycodone
Drinking alcohol while taking oxycodone may increase the risk of serious, life-threatening side effects.
Oxycodone can also cause you drowsiness. Do not drive until you learn how the medicine affects you.
Immediate release form: 5 mg to 15 mg every four to six hours
Form of controlled release: 10 mg every 12 hours
Immediate release form: 10 mg to 30 mg every four hours.
Form of controlled release: from 20 mg to 640 mg per day for patients with cancer pain. The average total daily dose is about 105 mg per day.
If you are taking oxycodones with a prolonged action, swallow the tablets whole. Do not chew, crush or dissolve.
If you take a concentrated form of oxycodone, your doctor may advise you to mix it with a small amount of juice or semi-solid foods, such as pudding or apple sauce.
If you suspect an overdose, immediately contact a poison control center or an emergency room.
Symptoms of an overdose include:
- Slow or weak breathing
- Stop breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
The missed dose of oxycodone
If you forget to take oxycodone, take the missed dose as soon as you remember.
However, if it’s time for the next dose, skip it and continue with your usual schedule.
Do not increase the amount of medication taken to compensate for the missed dose.