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Oxycodone Addiction: Effects, Uses And Treatment

Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic painkiller used for pain management, anesthesia, breakthrough cancer pain, or for round-the-clock pain management. Oxycodone is sold under trade names Tylox®, Percodan®, OxyContin®.

Oxycodone a potent opioid agonist, was developed in the 1950s to fill a need for strong and rapid analgesia. Because of these characteristics, fentanyl is commonly used to treat chronic cancer pain or in anesthesia. Fentanyl is related to other opioids like morphine and oxycodone.

OxyContin is the instant release version of Oxycodone and has a high potency has also made it a commonly abused drug. In 2017, 47600 overdose deaths in the United States involved some opioid (over 2/3 of all overdose deaths).

Opioid overdoses kill an average of 11 Canadians daily. Oxycodone was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1995. OxyContin is classified as Schedule II on the DEA drug list.

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What Drug Schedule Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a Schedule II drug which means it is at a high risk of being abused. Other narcotics on the Schedule II drug list include hydromorphone (Dilaudid®), methadone (Dolophine®), meperidine (Demerol®), oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®), and fentanyl (Sublimaze®, Duragesic®). Other Schedule II narcotics include morphine, opium, codeine, and hydrocodone.

What is the Chemical Structure Of Oxycodone?

Oxycontin chemical structure moleculeThe chemical formula is 4, 5α-epoxy-14-hydroxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-one hydrochloride. Oxycodone is a white, odorless crystalline powder derived from the opium alkaloid, thebaine.

What Is Oxycodone Made Out Of? (components & Structure)

Oxycodone is a synthetic opioid that is a class of drugs that are naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some opioids are made from the plant directly, like heroin while others, like OxyContin, are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure (semi-synthetic or synthetic).

That means that oxycodone is similar to morphine & heroin because it is in the same opiate category but it is different because it is not derived directly from the poppy plant, rather it is produced in a lab and is actually 50 to 100 times more potent. It is a prescription drug that is also made and used illegally.

Lifespan Of Oxycodone In The Human Body

The half-life of Oxycodone means the amount of time that stays in your system before it is fully absorbed. The half-life of Oxycodone is about 90 minutes, meaning that it is very quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and metabolized.

Its onset of action is less than 60 seconds with a half-life of 90 minutes and a duration of action near 30–60 minutes. The peak effects of Oxycodone occur in 2–5 minutes. Since the lifespan is fairly short, that also affects how long it stays in your system.

Oxycodone Doses And Strengths

Extended-release oxycodone in oral tablet come in the following mg: 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, and 80 mg.

  • 10 mg film-coated extended-release tablets (round, white-colored, bi-convex tablets debossed with OP on one side and 10 on the other)
  • 15 mg film-coated extended-release tablets (round, gray-colored, bi-convex tablets debossed with OP on one side and 15 on the other)
  • 20 mg film-coated extended-release tablets (round, pink-colored, bi-convex tablets debossed with OP on one side and 20 on the other)
  • 30 mg film-coated extended-release tablets (round, brown-colored, bi-convex tablets debossed with OP on one side and 30 on the other)
  • 40 mg film-coated extended-release tablets (round, yellow-colored, bi-convex tablets debossed with OP on one side and 40 on the other)
  • 60 mg film-coated extended-release tablets (round, red-colored, bi-convex tablets debossed with OP on one side and 60 on the other)
  • 80 mg film-coated extended-release tablets (round, green-colored, bi-convex tablets debossed with OP on one side and 80 on the other)

These doses do not contain oxycodone and acetaminophen they are pure oxycodone. A higher oxycodone dosage has a higher risk of oxycodone overdose.

What Are Common Adverse Reactions To Oxycodone?

The most common adverse reactions (≥5%) reported by adult patients in clinical trials comparing Oxycodone with placebo are constipation, nausea, somnolence, dizziness, pruritus, vomiting, headache, dry mouth, asthenia, and sweating.

Oxycodone Statistics

Oxycodone Overdose Statistics
  • Opioids were involved in 68,630 overdose deaths in 2020 (74.8% of all drug overdose deaths)
  • Overall, drug overdose deaths rose from 2019 to 2020 with 91,799 drug overdose deaths reported in 2020. Deaths involving synthetic opioids other than methadone (primarily fentanyl) continued to rise with 56,516 overdose deaths reported in 2020

What Is The Primary Difference Between Oxycodone and Other Painkillers?

Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic used in anesthesia, for breakthrough cancer pain, or for round-the-clock pain management it is different from other painkillers because of how strong it is and fast acting. Many other painkillers like Percocet and Vicodin have time releases and do not have the immediate onset that comes from OxyContin.

What is The Best Treatment For Oxycodone Addiction?

Oxycodone addiction is difficult to overcome without medical detox. Effective treatment involves a clinical and medical approach to recovery followed by maintenance and continued therapy. The levels of care typically involved in oxycodone rehab include the following:

  • Medical Detox
  • Inpatient Rehab
  • Outpatient Rehab
  • Maintenance and Peer Recovery

The best outcomes occur when participants are willing and ready to change their behavior patterns and fully participate in therapy. If you are seeking help for oxycodone or opiate addiction, our admissions team is standing by 24/7 to help.


Oxycodone Questions and Answers

How is Oxycodone used?

Oxycodone is taken orally every 12 hours if taken according to prescription. Many individuals misuse oxycodone and snort it, smoke it, or shoot it intravenously (IV).

How Does Oxycodone Become Activated?

Fentanyl produces strong analgesia through its activation of opioid receptors. It has a duration of action of several hours and a wider therapeutic index as patients develop tolerance to opioids. Oxycodone is associated with a risk of addiction and abuse and should not be mixed with alcohol or benzodiazepines.

What is The Difference Between Oxycodone and Fentanyl?

According to the DEA, Fentanyl is 50 times more potent than heroin. Oxycodone is less potent than Fentanyl but it is still an opioid that is not mixed with any filler substances and can be extremely powerful.

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Medical Advice Disclaimer

Magnified Health Systems aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

This content is verified and moderated by Dr. Brendan Bickley

Dr. Bickley graduated from U.C. Irvine with honors: Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Cum Laude. He has been featured on national radio and print media. He is also a frequent lecturer at National Conferences. He holds an A.S. degree in Drug & Alcohol Studies, and two B.A. degrees in Criminology & Psychology, and masters and doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology. He is a licensed California Drug & Alcohol Counselor Level II, a licensed Clinical Supervisor and is certified in treating Eating Disorders.

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