What does OxyContin do? What does it look like? Is there an OxyContin pink pill? These are all common questions that will be discussed below, along with an overview of OxyContin in general.

What is OxyContin and What Does It Do?

OxyContin is a powerful, brand name prescription pain reliever that’s intended to treat severe pain, often in cancer patients. OxyContin is an extended release drug with the active ingredient oxycodone, which is an opioid. Oxycodone is also found in generic versions of the medication, and in combination drugs like Percocet.

Since OxyContin is a time-release medication, this means that when someone takes it, they don’t feel all of the effects at once. Instead, the drug is slowly released into their bloodstream over a period of about 12 hours or so, giving them around-the-clock pain relief. This is in contrast to immediate-release opioids, which as the name implies, take effect shortly after someone ingests them, and last only a few hours.

OxyContin is most often given to patients with pain from conditions like cancer, and typically only if they’re opioid-tolerant, meaning their pain is severe and they already have a tolerance to other opioids, particularly short-acting opioids. In these cases, time-release opioids are often prescribed alongside short-acting opioids to treat any breakthrough pain.

When someone takes OxyContin or other opioids, it changes how their body senses pain and increases their tolerance for pain. This occurs because oxycodone, which is the active ingredient in OxyContin, binds to certain receptors in the central nervous system. It changes pain tolerance, but at the same time it also slows down brain activity and activity of the central nervous system. This can lead to mild symptoms, but also severe ones, including death from respiratory depression.

For the most part, if someone takes OxyContin as prescribed for the treatment of severe pain, they’re not going to feel a euphoric high. However, it is possible. Opioids may cause people to feel euphoria when taken in large amounts, which is why they’re controlled substances and potentially addictive. With OxyContin, the time-release element of the drug reduces this, but some people have found other ways to abuse it.

For example, people may crush OxyContin tablets and snort them, or even dissolve them in water and inject them. They may also moisten, cut, break or chew the tablets. This is especially dangerous with a time-release drug because there is a lot of oxycodone in it, and it’s very potent when it’s not taken in a way that allows it to release slowly into the system of the user.

OxyContin Pink

Understanding how to identify powerful pills like OxyContin is important for many reasons.

First, if you suspect a loved one is abusing OxyContin, it can be helpful to know what it looks like, as you try to spot the signs of opioid use. Also, you don’t want to have these medications in places where children or family members could get to them.

So, is OxyContin pink? Is there an OxyContin pink pill?

First and foremost, people wonder if a pink OxyContin is 10 mg: it’s not. OxyContin pink pills are 20 mg. OxyContin 10 mg is white, OxyContin 40 mg is yellow, and OxyContin 80 mg is green. OxyContin 15 mg is gray, 30 mg is brown, and 60 mg is red. All of the brand name OxyContin pills are printed with the dosage number on one side and OC on the other. They are also all round in shape and only come in tablet form. This is in contrast to the other oxycodone extended release product Xtampza ER, which only comes in capsule form.

So, to answer the question of whether or not the pink OxyContin is 10 mg: no, it’s not. The OxyContin pink pill is 20 mg.

Anything in a dose above 10 mg is particularly powerful and only intended for use in opioid-tolerant patients. Otherwise, if a patient who’s not opioid-tolerant takes a high dose of OxyContin, it may result in breathing problems, respiratory depression or death.

When taking an OxyContin pink pill or any other dosage, the effects last around 12 hours, and most people should only take a maximum of two doses in a 24-hour period. However, it’s important to keep in mind that some chronic pain patients may require additional doses. If someone were to take immediate-release versions of oxycodone, on the other hand, peak levels of effectiveness would occur within about 60 minutes after taking it, and effects would be felt for three to six hours. Immediate-release oxycodone can be taken every four to six hours as needed.

Some of the side effects of an OxyContin pink pill or any other dose of the drug can include nausea, vomiting, itching, drowsiness and sedation. There can also be severe side effects, such as changes in breathing, and these need to be discussed with a physician right away.

Key Points: OxyContin Pink

  • The OxyContin pink pill is a 20 mg dose of the drug
  • Other colors for other doses of OxyContin are available
  • It’s important to be aware of what OxyContin looks like and what the doses are because while it is a powerful pain reliever, it also has serious side effects that can ultimately end in death if used improperly

Megan Hull
Editor – Megan Hull
Megan Hull is a content specialist who edits, writes and ideates content to help people find recovery. 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.