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Oxycodone for Pain Management

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Updated September 24, 2009

What Oxycodone Is:

Oxycodone is an opioid painkiller, otherwise known as a narcotic painkiller. It is used to treat moderate to severe forms of both acute and chronic pain. Oxycodone works by changing the brain’s perception of pain, providing relief.

Oxycodone may be used for short-term or long-term control of pain, depending on how it is formulated. It is available in tablet, capsule and liquid forms.

Other Names for Oxycodone:

Oxycodone is the generic term for the drug on its own, however oxycodone also may be combined other drugs. These include NSAIDs, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Oxycodone may also be called:

  • OxyContin, a longer acting form of Oxycodone
  • OxyIR
  • Roxicodone
  • Oxydose
Oxycodone and acetaminophen may be called: Oxycodone and aspirin may be called:
  • Endodan
  • Percodan
  • Roxiprin
Oxycodone combined with ibuprofen is known as Combunox.

Oxycodone Side Effects:

Oxycodone controls pain pretty effectively. However because it is a powerful pain killer, it also has some potential side effects. These include:
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness and/or drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Itching, flushing and/or sweating
You may experience one or more of these side effects at some point while taking oxycodone. They are considered normal, however if they become bothersome, talk to your doctor.

If you experience severe side effects such as confusion, difficulty breathing or staying awake, seek immediate medical attention.

Oxycodone Addiction and Overdose:

Oxycodone is in the news from time to time. Because it is a narcotic painkiller, it has potential to become habit-forming. It should be noted, however, that there is a difference between building up a tolerance and becoming addicted to a drug.

Painkiller addiction can usually be avoided by following your doctor’s instructions. Never take more oxycodone than your doctor prescribes. Don’t combine it with other depressants, such as alcohol or sleep aids. Finally, never crush or chew your oxycodone, which can release more medication at once. This could lead not only to addiction, but to a potentially deadly overdose.

Further Information on Addiction and Overdose:

Oxycodone Withdrawal:

As with many pain medications, withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop taking opioids. Some symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
  • Restlessness, often in the legs
  • Difficulty sleeping and insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Chills and cold sweats
  • Vomiting
To avoid withdrawal symptoms, it is best not to stop your medication cold turkey. If you want to stop taking oxycodone, talk to your doctor about the best way to wean off of the painkiller.

Sources:

Medline Plus. Oxycodone. Accessed 9/2/09. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a682132.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Treating Prescription Drug Addiction. Accessed 9/2/09. http://www.nida.nih.gov/ResearchReports/Prescription/prescription7.html

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Research Report Series - Prescription Drugs: Abuse and Addiction. Accessed 9/2/09. http://www.nida.nih.gov/Researchreports/Prescription/prescription2.html

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