Oxycodone is a potent opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain. Unfortunately, the prescription pain reliever can cause many unwanted side effects.
Minor side effects of oxycodone may include itching, nausea, flushing or a dry mouth. But the drug can also cause serious and even life-threatening reactions. People who take too much oxycodone or mix it with other drugs can stop breathing.
The drug is also habit forming. Oxycodone addiction and dependence can occur suddenly. It may even develop in someone who’s been using the drug as directed.
Oxycodone is sold under dozens of brand names, including Percocet, Tylox and OxyContin. Tylox and Percocet contain a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. OxyContin is an extended-release version of oxycodone.
The side effects of oxycodone are the same as those of other opioids.
Minor side effects of oxycodone can include:
Other, more serious reactions to the drug can also occur.
Between 2010 and 2016, poison control centers received nearly 19,500 reports of serious adverse events associated with opioids, according to a 2018 analysis in the journal of Drug Safety. More than three-quarters of those reports involved the use of oxycodone or hydrocodone, a similar opioid drug. The reported events included major reactions, hospitalizations and death.
If you experience any of these symptoms while taking oxycodone, call your doctor and seek emergency medical treatment:
Chronic use of oxycodone can also lead to addiction. A person who is addicted to oxycodone will use the drug compulsively, despite its negative effects and consequences.
Oxycodone depresses the central nervous system and can dangerously slow a person’s heart rate and breathing. These effects are especially common during the first one to three days of use. But they can also occur when you increase your dose.
The elderly have a greater risk of developing breathing problems. People with other health problems are also more susceptible.
Signs and symptoms of an oxycodone overdose include:
Crushing OxyContin bypasses the drug’s built-in time release mechanism. This increases the risk of an accidental oxycodone overdose.
Unintentional overdoses of oxycodone products that contain acetaminophen can cause liver injury. The common combination has been associated with numerous cases of liver failure.
If you suspect someone has overdosed on oxycodone, call 911 immediately. A life-saving medication called naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose if administered in time.
After calling 911, stay with the person until help arrives. If the person is unresponsive and not breathing sufficiently, you will need to administer rescue breaths.
How to give rescue breaths:
Mixing oxycodone and alcohol increases the risk of an overdose. Mixing oxycodone and Xanax is also dangerous. To prevent complications, never combine oxycodone with a central nervous system depressant and use only as directed.
Most people become physically dependent on oxycodone after using it for two weeks. With continual use, the drug changes your brain and you won’t be able to function normally without it.
Quitting oxycodone suddenly or reducing your dose may bring on uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These flu-like symptoms may include nausea, body aches and stomach upset. Some people find the symptoms so distressing that they’re unable to quit using the drug.
Symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal may include:
Withdrawal symptoms tend to be more severe if you are taking higher doses of the drug. More potent versions of the drug, such as OxyContin, can also worsen withdrawal.
Oxycodone withdrawal tends to set in around the time a person would have taken their next dose of the drug. Symptoms worsen over two to three days and usually resolve within five to seven days.
Medical detox can make oxycodone withdrawal easier. Health care professionals can provide medications that ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. They will monitor you to ensure your safety and comfort and address any complications that arise.
Once you are feeling better physically, a drug treatment program can help you overcome your oxycodone addiction. There are a variety of treatment plans that can help you achieve a sober and better life. Help is just a call away.
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