Oxycodone Is an Opioid Used for Pain Management

A Detailed Look at the Opioid Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a painkiller medication
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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 thus providing relief.

Oxycodone may be used for short-term or long-term control of pain, depending on how it is formulated. Oxycodone 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 with other drugs.

These other drugs that oxycodone can be combined with include NSAIDs, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Oxycodone may also be called:

  • OxyContin, a longer acting form of Oxycodone
  • OxyIR
  • Roxicodone
  • Oxydose

Oxycodone and acetaminophen together is known as the following:

Oxycodone and aspirin together is known as the following:

  • Endodan
  • Percodan
  • Roxiprin

Oxycodone combined with ibuprofen is known as Combunox.

Oxycodone Adverse Effects

Oxycodone controls pain pretty effectively. However, because oxycodone is a powerful pain killer, it also has some potential adverse effects. These adverse effects include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness and/or drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Itching, flushing and sweating

You may experience one or more of these adverse effects at some point while taking oxycodone. These adverse effects are usually benign. However, if these adverse effects become bothersome, please immediately inform your physician.

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

Oxycodone Dependence 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 dependent a drug.

Painkiller dependence can usually be avoided by following your physician’s instructions. Never take more oxycodone than the dosage that your doctor prescribes. Don’t combine oxycodone with other depressants, such as alcohol or sleep aids. Finally, never crush or chew your oxycodone, which can release more medication all at once. This quick release could not only predispose you to dependence but also can result in a potentially deadly overdose.

Further Information on Addiction and Overdose

Will I Become Addicted to Opioids?

Will I Overdose on Opioids?

Oxycodone Withdrawal

As with many pain medications, withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop taking opioids. Some symptoms of opioid withdrawal include the following:

  • 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 physician about the best way to wean off of the painkiller.


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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