April 2, 2024

Oxycodone: Side Effects, Addiction Risk, & FAQs

image representing oxycodone

Oxycodone is a potent opioid that’s prescribed to manage severe pain when less intensive pain relievers prove ineffective. It works by inhibiting pain signals in the brain to provide short-term relief. Like all opioids, though, oxycodone pills have a strong abuse potential. Read on to learn more about the benefits and dangers of this opioid painkiller.

What Is Oxycodone?

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An opioid pain medication used to treat moderate and severe pain, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance due to its high potential for dependence and addiction. Oxycodone works by binding to mu-opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system to reduce pain sensations. It’s available in various forms, including immediate-release and extended-release tablets, and is often prescribed when other pain relief methods are not effective.

Due to its potency and the risk of dependence, the use of oxycodone should be monitored closely by healthcare providers, and it’s typically prescribed only for short-term use or under strict medical supervision for the management of chronic pain.

man looking away representing oxycodone side effects

Oxycodone Side Effects

The side effects of oxycodone can vary from person to person, but they may include:

  • Pain relief
  • Euphoria
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Impaired concentration
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Restlessness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Sweating and flushing
  • Itching

If you experience any of the following oxycodone adverse effects, contact your prescribing physician immediately:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Faintness
  • Confusion
  • Unusual thoughts and behaviors
  • Nausea, vomiting, appetite loss
  • Rapid heart rate and hallucinations

Oxycodone Addiction Risk

Oxycodone can be highly addictive, even when the medication is used as prescribed. Over time, the body becomes accustomed to opioids like oxycodone. This is described clinically as tolerance.

With ongoing use, physical dependence can develop, meaning that the body begins to rely on oxycodone for normal functioning, triggering the presentation of oxycodone withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.

Oxycodone addiction – opioid use disorder – is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use regardless of negative consequences. Addiction to oxycodone is a chronic and relapsing disorder that’s incurable but treatable – read on to find out how you can connect with evidence-based treatment.

image representing oxycodone withdrawal symptoms

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal from opioids like oxycodone can be aggravating and uncomfortable due to the physically and psychologically addictive properties of this class of medication.

Physical withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Cold flashes
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Sweating

Psychological symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Cravings for oxycodone

Symptoms may manifest within a few hours of the last use of oxycodone, persisting for a few days to several weeks, depending on the scope and duration of use. Seek medical assistance for opioid withdrawal to streamline the process and minimize complications.

Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction

Treating oxycodone addiction requires a broad-based approach that addresses physical dependence alongside the psychological aspect of addiction.

Medical detoxification

The first step in treating addiction to oxycodone normally involves a medically supervised detox to safely manage withdrawal symptoms. This process helps the body gradually adjust to the absence of opioids under controlled conditions.

MAT (medication-assisted treatment 

MAT can include medications like buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for someone to focus on recovery.

Talk therapies

Various forms of talk therapy (psychotherapy) like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), motivational interviewing, and family therapy, are used to help people understand the root causes of their addiction, develop coping strategies, and repair relationships affected by substance use.

Holistic interventions

Many treatment programs also incorporate holistic interventions like yoga, meditation, and acupuncture to support overall well-being and stress management.

Addiction support groups

Participation in support groups like NA (Narcotics Anonymous) or other community support meetings can provide ongoing encouragement and a sense of belonging, helping people maintain their recovery journeys after rehab.

Aftercare planning

All effective addiction treatment integrates a robust aftercare plan which may involve ongoing therapy, support group meetings, and lifestyle changes to help prevent relapse and support long-term recovery.

No two opioid addictions are alike, so effective treatment for oxycodone addiction usually involves a combination of these approaches, tailored to the person’s specific needs and circumstances, to promote long-term abstinence from opioids.

Oxycodone FAQs

What does oxycodone do?

Oxycodone is a powerful opioid painkiller that works by changing how the brain and central nervous system respond to pain. The medication can significantly reduce moderate to severe pain but also has a high potential for addiction and dependence.

Is there an oxycodone shortage?

Periodic shortages of oxycodone can occur due to manufacturing delays, regulatory issues, or increased demand. It’s best to check with pharmacies or healthcare providers for the most current information on availability. There is a shortage of oxycodone and acetaminophen tablets, and also a shortage of oxycodone immediate-release tablets in the United States since February 2024.

How long does oxycodone last?

The effects of oxycodone can last from 4 to 6 hours, depending on dosage and individual metabolism. Extended-release formulations of oxycodone are designed to provide pain relief for up to 12 hours.

How do I detox from oxycodone?

It’s advisable to detox from oxycodone under medical supervision to manage withdrawal symptoms safely. Treatment may include medications to reduce the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms, support from addiction counselors, and ongoing therapy to address the psychological side of opioid addiction.

An image of a woman using addiction hotline's to learn about what is oxycodone

Call Addiction Hotline for Oxycodone Withdrawal & Addiction Treatment

If you need help with oxycodone withdrawal and addiction treatment, it can be challenging to know where to begin.

Start your search for help by reaching out to Addiction Hotline any time of day or night. You can speak in confidence with a trained and compassionate professional ready to help you connect with the care you need.

Staff can refer you to medical detox centers and inpatient rehabs, enabling you to detox from opioids under close supervision and with access to medications. We can also help you find outpatient rehabs and addiction support groups.

Call 855-701-0479 today for guided assistance addressing oxycodone and alcohol addiction.

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Compassionate Care for Substance Abuse Treatment

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