What Do OxyContin Pills Look Like?

OxyContin is a powerful drug that’s often at the heart of discussions about the opioid epidemic. This prescription opioid is so pervasive in terms of abuse and addiction that it has many nicknames, including “Hillbilly Heroin.”

Learning how to identify OxyContin can be important if you worry you have a loved one who’s misusing the drug or if you want to make sure you don’t keep drugs like this in your house around someone who could potentially take them purposely or accidentally.

The following provides an overview of what OxyContin is, how it works and also what OxyContin pills look like.

OxyContin is an opioid with the active ingredient oxycodone. As a brand-name drug, it’s intended to treat severe pain, particularly in people who are opioid-tolerant (i.e., they’ve used other opioids in the past and they may no longer work to relieve their pain because their body is used to them.) An example of when OxyContin might be prescribed in a medical setting would be in a cancer patient who needs around-the-clock pain management medicine.

OxyContin is extended-release. This means that when someone takes it, they don’t experience the peak effects that occur shortly after that, as would happen with an immediate-release opioid. Instead, the drug lasts for around 12 hours and the effects are felt gradually.

Being extended-release does make it harder to abuse OxyContin because if you take it as directed, you’re not going to feel that euphoric rush you would with an immediate-release drug. To prevent additional misuse, OxyContin has been reformulated into an abuse-deterrent formulation.

OxyContin works, like other opioid pain relievers, by binding to certain receptors in the central nervous system.

When OxyContin binds to those receptors, it changes the person’s tolerance to pain, which ultimately helps them feel less pain, although the pain isn’t necessarily eliminated. This is helpful in a medical setting, particularly when a patient doesn’t get pain relief from other medicines, but there are risks and side effects to be aware of.

For example, opioids like OxyContin can depress the respiratory system and the central nervous system, which can lead to difficulty breathing and sedation respectively, potentially causing an overdose. That’s why it’s so important for people to only use OxyContin as prescribed.

Other side effects of OxyContin can include addiction, physical dependence, nausea, dizziness, feeling lightheaded, vomiting, constipation, and dry mouth.

The starting dosage for OxyContin usually starts at 10 mg to be taken every 12 hours. Extended-release OxyContin should never be broken, crushed or chewed because it can lead to dangerous levels of oxycodone entering the bloodstream.

What do OxyContin pills look like?

The following provides an overview of what different doses of brand name OxyContin pills look like. It should also be noted that OxyContin is often used in tablet form.

  • OxyContin 10 mg is a white, round pill printed with an OC on one side and a 10 on the other
  • OxyContin 20 mg is a round, pink pill printed with an OC on one side and a 20 on the other
  • Oxycontin 40 mg is a round, yellow pill printed with an OC on one side and a 40 on the other
  • OxyContin 80 mg is a round, green pill printed with an OC on one side and an 80 on the other

There is also a 15 mg pill which is gray, round and printed with OC and 15 on one side; a brown, round 30 mg tablet printed with OP and 30 on one side; and a round, red tablet printed with 60 on one side and OP on the other.

Generic OxyContin is called oxycodone hydrochloride and they can have different appearances based on the manufacturer, but usually, they are small and round with the dosage printed on one side. They are the same color as their brand name counterpart. They may also be printed with different letters on one side, depending on the manufacturer.