Oxycodone In Brief

What Is It?

Oxycodone is a prescription drug used in the treatment of pain. It belongs in the class of drugs referred to as opioids. Usually it is prescribed where the pain levels range from moderate to high. Oxycodone is also the active ingredient in OxyContin. Although oxycodone is used medically, it is still a highly controlled substance due to the high potential for it to be abused. Many people who’ve taken the drug have ended up developing serious physical and psychological dependence on it. People who abuse drugs such as oxycodone are much more likely to end up using heroin.

Short Term Effects Of Oxycodone

When a person takes oxycodone, the most immediate desirable effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Reduced pain perception
  • Less anxiousness
  • Complete relaxation

There are other less desirable effects i.e. side effects, when a person takes oxycodone such as:

  • Feeling nauseous or vomiting
  • Feeling constipated
  • Becoming confused
  • Dryness of the mouth and loss of appetite
  • Headaches, dizziness and drowsiness
  • General body weakness

There are more serious side effects and others may even be deadly such as:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pains
  • Hives, excessive itchiness or rashes
  • Swelling
  • Breathing and swallowing difficulties
  • High level of drowsiness and feeling lightheaded
  • Orthostatic hypotension

Should you notice any of these severe side effects then you should consult a physician as quickly as possible. These side effects can be even more severe if the drug is mixed with alcohol.

Long Term Effects Of Oxycodone

The one positive long term effect of oxycodone is that it provides relief for people who suffer from chronic pains. However, using the drug for an extended period is also known to cause serious addiction. It may also lead to failure of the liver or the kidneys. When used in combination with other drugs such as acetaminophen, the potential to cause liver failure becomes much higher.

Dependence

Oxycodone dependence usually occurs on two levels. People usually become psychologically dependent on the drug and they may also become physically dependent on it. The psychological dependence comes from wanting to experience the drug’s euphoric effects. Some people actually up the intake in an attempt to maximize the effect. With physiological dependence, a person’s body can become accustomed to having the drug in the system and may therefore adapt itself to the presence of the drug. Tolerance will follow which means the person taking the drug has to take more of it to attain the desired effects.

Oxycodone Withdrawal And Treatment

When a person who has developed a dependence on oxycodone stops taking the drug, they can experience side effects that include:

  • Symptoms similar to flu
  • Nausea
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Muscle Cramping
  • Loss of appetite and
  • Increased heart rate

Since these withdrawal symptoms and others are usually part of the detoxification process, it is important that the detoxification is done under medical supervision to prevent a relapse.

Treatment for oxycodone dependence starts with detoxification followed by counselling. Other medication may also be provided to you to help with the withdrawal symptoms and to reduce the cravings.

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