Is OxyContin a blood thinner? What are blood thinners and how do they work? What else is important to know and understand about OxyContin?

All of these questions are covered below as is a general overview of both blood thinners and OxyContin.

What Are Blood Thinners?

Before answering “Is OxyContin a blood thinner,” what are blood thinners?

Blood thinners are medicines that help prevent the formation of blood clots, and they can also keep existing blood clots from getting bigger. Having blood clots can lead to serious health complications including strokes and heart attacks. People may be given blood thinners if they have certain diseases of the heart or blood vessels, have atrial fibrillation or have congenital heart defects, among other reasons.

Blood thinners fall into one of two categories which include anticoagulants and antiplatelets.

Anticoagulants are drugs like warfarin, and they slow down how your body makes clots. An antiplatelet includes something like aspirin, and these drugs prevent blood cells from clumping together and creating a clot.

Blood thinners can interact with a number of other substances including medicines, alcohol and vitamins, so if a doctor is considering prescribing you one, it’s important to make sure you let them know anything else you might take or use.

While blood thinners can be very beneficial and protect against heart attacks and strokes, they’re not without risks.

For example, some level of clotting is necessary to make sure you don’t have excessive blood loss if you get hurt, but blood thinners can interfere with this. Doctors are supposed to regularly check patients who use blood thinners to make sure they’re not experiencing unusual bleeding. Depending on the blood thinner that the patient is taking, the doctor might send the patient in for regular labwork as well.

The risks of these drugs are one of the reasons people wonder is OxyContin a blood thinner. They might not want to take multiple blood thinners, because of the serious or even deadly consequences that can occur if they do.

Is OxyContin a Blood Thinner?

The answer to “Is OxyContin a blood thinner,” is no. It’s not a blood thinner, and what it is will be discussed in more detail below.

With that being said, there is a reason people might wonder if OxyContin is a blood thinner. That’s because while OxyContin is only oxycodone, there are combination drugs that include oxycodone and aspirin. Generic (not brand-name) drugs exist that are combinations of oxycodone and aspirin.

Aspirin does act as a blood thinner, but the opioid component of this combination drug (oxycodone) doesn’t.

What is OxyContin?

As was touched on briefly above, OxyContin is a prescription drug that’s classified as an opioid. OxyContin is a brand name for oxycodone, and this narcotic pain reliever has a time-release mechanism. This means that when someone takes OxyContin, it doesn’t have a peak effectiveness time. Instead, the pain-relieving effects last for about 12 hours and are gradually released into the body.

Because OxyContin is an extended-release drug, it is very potent and contains high doses of oxycodone. This makes it critical that people who use it follow instructions exactly and don’t abuse it. It can be abused by snorting, dissolving it and injecting it, or smoking it to get all of the potency at one time. This can lead to the risk of overdose or other severe side effects.

Because of its potency and time-release characteristics, OxyContin is only intended to be used to treat severe pain in opioid-tolerant individuals. It can be an around-the-clock pain management drug for people who have used other opioids previously and have a tolerance for their effects.

Some of the side effects of OxyContin can include slowed respiration, dizziness, fatigue, sedation, nausea, vomiting and itching.

OxyContin, and other opioids like it, act by binding to certain receptors in the central nervous system. It doesn’t eliminate pain, but it instead raises the pain tolerance of the individual taking it, which changes how they sense pain.

OxyContin is addictive, particularly when it’s abused because it can create a sense of euphoria and activate reward pathways in the brain. Physical dependence is also possible, meaning that after using OxyContin for a period of time your body and brain become used to its presence and start to rely on it (how dependence forms). If you stop taking it suddenly, you will likely go through withdrawal.

OxyContin and other opioids should also never be combined with other drugs that are central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines or alcohol, unless under a doctor’s close supervision.

Summing Up—Is OxyContin a Blood Thinner?

To conclude, is OxyContin a blood thinner? No, on their own, OxyContin and other opioids are not blood thinners. However, the active opioid in OxyContin is oxycodone. Oxycodone can be used in drugs on its own, or in combination drugs with other substances including aspirin.

If oxycodone is combined with aspirin, it can thin the blood because of the aspirin. It’s important to be aware of this before taking this drug.

Camille Renzoni
Editor – Camille Renzoni
Cami Renzoni is a creative writer and editor for The Recovery Village. As an advocate for behavioral health, Cami is certified in mental health first aid and encourages people who face substance use disorders to ask for the help they deserve. Read more
Jessica Pyhtila
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.