The use of opioids, including prescription painkillers and heroin, has become so pervasive that it’s called an epidemic. Two of the most prominent painkiller opiates at the center of the opioid epidemic are oxycodone and OxyContin, both of which are potent, dangerous and deadly.
Despite the risks of OxyContin and oxycodone, they are still frequently prescribed for the treatment of pain in various situations ranging from severe, acute pain to chronic pain.
You may have heard of it, but not know exactly what OxyContin is. OxyContin and oxycodone are the same in many ways, but OxyContin is a brand name drug and oxycodone is a generic name of an active ingredient.
OxyContin is the brand name for a time-released version of oxycodone, which is a narcotic analgesic used to treat pain. It can be used for injuries, cancer pain and even arthritis.
OxyContin usually contains anywhere from 10 to 80 mg of oxycodone in the time-released formula, which provides pain relief for up to 12 hours. OxyContin stood out in the opioid market because of its ability to provide constant pain relief, unlike other shorter-lasting opioids.
While there is a lot of value in using OxyContin to treat various forms of pain, it also has a high potential for abuse. People who abuse OxyContin will often crush up tablets and dissolve them to inject it, or they’ll snort it, which alleviates the time-release functionality of the drug. That gives them a faster, fuller effect than they would otherwise get from OxyContin.
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Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid that’s derived from the Persian poppy, and it can relieve moderate to severe pain.
Oxycodone is available as a single-ingredient medicine, but it’s also used in various combination medicines as well. It’s often paired with acetaminophen for more effective pain-fighting abilities. Oxycodone is the active ingredient in not only OxyContin but also in drugs like Percocet and Percodan, which are brand names of combination medicines.
Oxycodone is a key active ingredient in the prescription brand name drug OxyContin, but what about the difference between OxyContin and oxycodone?
The primary difference is the fact that OxyContin is time-released and oxycodone isn’t. As a result, OxyContin can provide around-the-clock pain relief. OxyContin doesn’t theoretically have to be taken as often as oxycodone and the effects will span a longer period. Compared to the ability of OxyContin to treat pain for up to 12 hours, oxycodone usually lasts for around four to six hours.
The time release feature of OxyContin stems from the fact that it’s prepared differently than oxycodone. OxyContin is strong, but it releases slowly into the bloodstream when it’s taken as instructed.
Both OxyContin and oxycodone are risky drugs. When people take these drugs, as with any opioid, the brain is impacted in a way that facilitates addiction. Addiction is a brain disease that occurs with opioids because they release pleasurable chemicals into the brain, requiring more of the drug to achieve the same effects.
In theory, OxyContin would be less likely to be abused than oxycodone because it’s time-released, but this hasn’t necessarily proven to be the case since people crush up the pills and administer them in other ways to get past the time-released mechanism of the medicine.
Some experts say OxyContin is the most abused prescription opioid in the United States because it has a strong dosage and is readily available. Many people say that when they crush OxyContin and snort it or inject it, they experience a high similar to heroin.
So, the primary difference between OxyContin and oxycodone is the time-release feature of OxyContin, which can make it a longer-lasting pain medicine but can also make it more dangerous if it’s abused.
If you or a loved one live with an addiction to OxyContin or oxycodone, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village today to speak to a representative about how addiction treatment could help you.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a 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 provider.