Oxycontin Uses, Side Effects, & Dangers
OxyContin is a brand-name medication with the active ingredient oxycodone. OxyContin medication has different purposes for the treatment of pain, which will be detailed below, as will an overview of the different uses, side effects and dangers of OxyContin medication in liquid form, and as tablets.
Oxycodone is considered a potent narcotic, and it acts similarly to codeine, morphine and hydrocodone. When someone takes oxycodone in the form of OxyContin medication, it makes them feel more comfortable as opioids eliminate pain signals in the body.
In the process, OxyContin medication can also lead to sedation and respiratory depression. These responses happen because all opioids bind to certain central nervous system receptors and slow down activity there. It’s possible for OxyContin and other opioids to slow respiration to a dangerous level, leading to an overdose or death.
Along with OxyContin, other brand-name versions of oxycodone include Roxicodone and Oxecta.
The uses of oxycodone as a prescription medication include pain management, particularly for severe pain. OxyContin is specifically a time-release version of oxycodone, which means that it can be taken for around-the-clock pain management.
OxyContin, because of its strength and addiction potential, is only supposed to be given to patients whose pain isn’t manageable with other treatment options.
OxyContin is an extended-release medication, so it should have a lower risk of addiction than immediate-release opioids. The drug’s effects are released slowly over a period of about 12 hours or so.
However, some people do abuse OxyContin medications in order to get the full, potent effects all at one time. OxyContin tablets can be crushed and snorted or dissolved and injected, which leads to a feeling of euphoria and an opioid high but also increases the likelihood of risks such as overdosing.
In general, side effects of OxyContin medication include feeling dizzy and lightheaded, drowsiness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, headache, constipation, dry mouth and sweating. Other rare but serious side effects of OxyContin can include depression and abnormalities in heart rate.
Oxycodone does have the risk of depressing breathing abilities, but this often occurs in people with serious lung diseases, and elderly or debilitated patients.
People who take OxyContin may also feel physically and mentally impaired, so they should be aware of this before doing anything like driving a car after taking the medication.
Something else to note about OxyContin medication is the fact that as with other narcotic pain relievers, it shouldn’t be mixed with certain other substances. These substances include alcohol and benzodiazepines because they also slow brain function and the activity of the central nervous system.
As with oxycodone extended-release tablets, OxyContin liquid is for patients who have already used other types of opioids and are opioid-tolerant. In patients who aren’t opioid-tolerant, the risk of respiratory depression can be high. If a patient isn’t used to the effects of a strong narcotic pain reliever, the risk of side effects is significantly higher.
OxyContin is an extended-release medication, and higher strengths of OxyContin medication are only for people who are opioid-tolerant. If OxyContin is given to a patient who’s not opioid-tolerant, particularly in high doses, they may overdose or die.
Also, OxyContin is not meant to be used for occasional pain, or pain that will go away in a few days or that is mild in severity.
It’s important for people to understand the uses, side effects and dangers of OxyContin medication before taking it.
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.
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