Roxicet (Oxycodone-Acetaminophen) Addiction And Abuse
Roxicet is a brand-name, prescription and combination drug. The two active ingredients in Roxicet are the opioid drug oxycodone, as well as acetaminophen, which is a pain reliever available over-the-counter. Oxycodone is a powerful opioid that changes how the brain and body sense and respond to pain. Roxicet can be used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, and it can be taken on an as-needed basis. Roxicet is taken orally, and depending on the instructions of a physician, can be taken up to four times a day. Side effects common with Roxicet can include drowsiness, nausea, vomiting and itching. Dizziness is also possible with Roxicet. One of the most common reasons Roxicet is prescribed is following surgery and procedures to alleviate acute pain in the short-term. The addition of acetaminophen helps Roxicet reduce not only pain but also swelling.
Oxycodone acts as other opioids do, by binding to certain receptors found throughout the brain and body. When a drug like oxycodone activates these receptors, it does deliver powerful pain relief. At the same time, it can cause a series of reactions within the brain. For example, if oxycodone activates opioid receptors, it can cause a flood of dopamine to be released. That dopamine can cause a euphoric high. Those pleasant feelings associated with the unnaturally high levels of dopamine can then create a reward and reinforcement response in the brain. Other positive feelings that can be triggered by the use of Roxicet include feelings of warmth, well-being and relaxation. It can take high doses of Roxicet to evoke these positive and desirable effects, but acetaminophen used at high doses can cause liver problems and failure, so it’s very risky to misuse this drug.
Roxicet is very addictive because of the oxycodone component. Oxycodone is one of the most widely misused opioids in the U.S. A black box warning is issued with Roxicet regarding the potential for addiction, which is the compulsive use of a substance outside of medical need. The black box warning also speaks to the potential for physical dependence to occur. Physical dependence indicates someone will have withdrawal symptoms if they stop using Roxicet after a period of time. When oxycodone binds to receptor sites and triggers dopamine to be released, that reward and reinforcement response in the brain can lead to the development of an addiction. Unfortunately, despite their medical uses, prescription opioid drugs have high addiction rates. The use of drugs like Roxicet has led to the opioid epidemic in the U.S. and often people who are addicted to prescription drugs like Roxicet ultimately either overdose or start using drugs like heroin. Following dosage and prescribing guidelines can reduce the risk of Roxicet addiction, but not altogether eliminate it.
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