Monday December 22nd 2014

How much OxyContin is too much?

How much OxyContin is too much?

OxyContin is a pain medication that contains oxycodone, a narcotic painkilling medication. OxyContin is a controlled-release version of oxycodone which does not contain the non-narcotic pain medications that can be found in some other brands of oxycodone.

In general, 30 mg OxyContin in one day is the safe limit for people who have not been exposed to opiates. But people who have developed opiate/opioid tolerance can sometimes take up to 120 mg within 12 hours.  Still, you can die from OxyContin overdose.  In this article, we’ll look at the safe and dangerous amounts of OxyContin and invite your questions about OxyContin at the end.

OxyContin strengths

OxyContin comes in multiple strengths. This is because the body gradually adapts to OxyContin in your system as you become opiate tolerant. So doctors start you on a small dose of OxyContin to begin because it’s much easier to overdose on higher doses of OxyContin if you do not have a tolerance to the medication. If you have taken OxyContin for long periods of time, your dose will gradually be increased so that it continues to control symptoms of pain.

For opioid naive patients, OxyContin comes in doses of 10mg oxycodone, released over an extended period of time. OxyContin also comes in doses of 15mg, 20mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60mg, and 80 mg. At one point, 120 mg controlled release OxyContin tablets were available, but they have been pulled off the market due to the high risk of overdose when used recreationally.

How much OxyContin is safe?

How much OxyContin you can take really depends on your tolerance to the medication. Opioid naive individuals should not take more than 30 mg in one day. Those with a tolerance to the medication can sometimes take up to 120 mg within 12 hours. Consult your doctor to determine the maximum safe dosage of OxyContin for you.

How much OxyContin can you take at once?

Only one OxyContin tablet of the strength prescribed by your doctor should be taken every 12 hours. OxyContin provides continuous relief over this period, so it shouldn’t be necessary to take more. If your OxyContin tablet is crushed or cut in half, it will actually be more dangerous because the controlled-release function of the tablet has been damaged. For example, if you break an 80 mg tablet in half, you would get 40 mg oxycodone all at once, instead of 80 mg over 12 hours, which would greatly increase your risk of overdose even if you had a moderate tolerance to the medication.

How much OxyContin to overdose?

The amount of OxyContin is takes to overdose varies based on your previous exposure to OxyContin and other narcotics. If you’ve never taken OxyContin before, as little as 30 mg could spell trouble. On the other hand, there are people who are able to take far more than that without any problems. Ask your doctor what he or she recommends as a safe dose, and if you suspect overdose, call your local poison control center or go to the emergency room.

Toxic levels of OxyContin in the system

You can overdose on OxyContin by taking it orally.But it’s much easier to overdose, even if you’re tolerant to the drug, by taking OxyContin in ways other than prescribed.. Because all OxyContin strengths are controlled-release medications, crushing the OxyContin and snorting it or dissolving OxyContin powder in water and injecting it increases your risk of overdose. In recent years, a new version of OxyContin has been developed which makes OxyContin harder to abuse and harder to accidentally cause overdose – this formula makes it more difficult to crush the medication.

How much OxyContin is fatal?

Since it’s so hard to know how much OxyContin is fatal, it’s better to simply avoid taking high doses of the medication, particularly if you have never taken it before. If you take OxyContin as prescribed, you can avoid this risk altogether.  And keep in mind that OxyContin snorting effects include overdose and death, so you risk fatality if you are taking OxyContin to get high.

How much OxyContin should I take?

You should take the amount of OxyContin prescribed to you by your doctor. Never take more OxyContin than recommended by a medical professional, and only take this oral medication as directed.

Too much Oxycontin questions

Do you still have questions about OxyContin? Please leave your questions here. We try our best to answer you quickly. And if we don’t know the answer to your question(s), we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference sources:Toxnet: Oxycodone
PubMed Health: Oxycodone
DailyMed: OxyContin
FDA: FDA Approves New Formulation for OxyContin

Photo credit: Esther Gibbons

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50 Responses to “How much OxyContin is too much?
11:59 pm July 31st, 2012

I’ve read all the articles sent here and I still haven’t found any information on the signs of overdose? What should I look for, if I am starting to OD, some egsamples would be apprciated. I’m in long-term pain management on OC, my tolerance is high for I have been on them for about 9 year’s , I don”t abbuse them, take them as perscribed and have never ever even considered snorting or injecting them, I allways worry though that one day I will start overdosing and not know what the signs are before it’s too late. Info would be greatly appreciated.

12:46 am August 1st, 2012

Hi Susan. Thanks for your question. I think we’ll do a series of articles on the signs of overdose. Thanks for the idea!

For oxycodone, pinpoint pupils are a telltale sign of opioid overdose. But this is different than simply excessive constriction of the pupil of the eye. This means abnormally dilated pupils. From the manufacturer’s label “Marked mydriasis rather than miosis may be seen with hypoxia in cases of OxyContin overdose.”

Hypoxia is deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching the tissues. In addition to these signs, slower breathing, sleepiness progressing to stupor or coma, skeletal muscle flaccidity, cold and clammy skin, hypotension (low blood pressure) and an abnormally slow beating heart are all signs of overdose.

Does this help?

6:08 am January 31st, 2013

I’ve been on OxyContin 80mgs 3xper day.. My tolerance has gotten so high that I get no relief from my chronic back pain.My Pain Dr wants to take me off it for one month and substitute it with something else..again only for a month. what painKiller do u recommend that will release my pain in place of OxyContin, I’ve been on pain meds for 14yrs

9:39 am February 1st, 2013

Hi Kimi. As far as I know, OxyContin is pretty much the highest end for prescription pain medicines…unless you consider morphine. But doctors are pretty averse to prescribing morphine these days.

Your doctor may put you on generic hydrocodone or oxycodone during the one month “off” OxyContin to try to lower your tolerance. It seems that you’re really on the upper threshold for OxyContin prescriptions and s/he wants to address the tolerance issue so that OxyContin starts working for you again, at lower doses.

12:26 pm February 13th, 2013

What if someone makes a simple mistake? For example I am prescribed 15mg every 4 hours. Started at 5mg for a few months, then on (2) of the 5mg for a while, then recently prescribed 15mg every four hours and its my perfect dose, i get amazing pain relief, finally after many months of different doses and other drugs,through trial and error, this is what works for me again I’m on 15mg every 4 hours. Earlier this morning I was half asleep when I took my first pill of the day. I then without thinking took another one a half hour later with the rest of my morning medicine, so I ended up taking (2) 15mg oxycodone within the same hour, 3 hours have passed since this happened and I just feel nauseated, sleepy, and I can’t help but be scared. I’m very responsible with my medicines and am mad at myself for making this mistake. But do you think I will be okay since 3 hours passed by?? I’m just really scared

8:41 am February 14th, 2013

Hello Marie. You can always call your local poison control center to be sure. You are fairly opioid tolerant at the moment, but the nausea is an indication that the dose has provoked a reaction. The national poison control hotline is 1-800-222-1222.

6:47 pm February 14th, 2013

Thank you for responding, I actually ended up getting so scared ( I have an anxiety disorder) that I found that number and called them. They had. Instructed me to go to the ER. However I asked the woman if I could just call my doctor first, she agreed, being that she felt my doctor would know better than her about my dosages. My doctor felt I would be okay from this, and I did not need emergency treatment being that like you said I have a tolerance. I am very careful to never have that happen again, that was scary. Thank you so very much for your response I really appreciate it.

11:52 am February 15th, 2013

I am so happy that it has worked out for you. One way to manage the pain medications is to buy a pill organizer for AM and PM. This way, you can make sure to avoid double dosing and monitor intake. Take care, and we wish you the best!

3:16 pm February 16th, 2013

Thank you! and that is a great idea! I will do that!! I really love how quickly you answered my questions, and how informative your article is! Keep. Up the great work! Thank you again!

Paul Burgess
2:38 am February 22nd, 2013

I’m afraid that under the title OxyContin Strengths you are wrong on one point. You say that the 120mg strength has been withdrawn from the market, Actually they haven’t!
I take a number of other pain killers including 8x 20mg OxyContin (OxyNorm) capsules, in addition to 2x 120mg OxyContin controlled release tablets per day and with the pain I have in my back, I need them!!!!

8:04 am March 5th, 2013

I’m currious. About how many MGs/day of Oxycontin does the average addict take? I’ve saw a Tara Conner interview where she said she had taken 20 Oxy tablets the day she won Ms. USA, but she didn’t say the strength of those tablets. And of course I’ve also read about former NBA player Chris Herren. But I’m always currious what amount these people take.

eileen fisher
3:13 pm May 6th, 2013

why am i so very very tired after accidently overdosing on oxycontin for several months and being unable to sleep by night and only by day because they caused me to urinate so much during the nightime hours. and will i ever catch up with this lost sleep and feel “normal” i.e. after now managing to easily sleep for 10 hours i still fell a great need to have an hours sleep every afternoon.

7:42 am May 7th, 2013

Hi Danny. Opiates and opioids (man made versions of opiates) are known to bring about physical dependence within a few weeks of regular dosing. The time it takes to be dependent on OxyContin varies by person. Additionally, the phenomenon of tolerance is highly individual. In other words, some people can take relatively large doses of OxyContin after time (60+ mg OxyContin), while other bodies do not tolerate more than 10-30 mg OxyContin at a time. In this way, it’s really difficult to answer your question in terms of dosing AMOUNT and FREQUENCY for a typical addict, as there is not one real standard. Every body is different.

2:09 pm May 17th, 2013

Hi I had an discectomy on my lower back . It was good I didn’t get the pain down my legs any more but I work a lot and I am bending and on my knees a lot I take oxecontin tablets I take 3 20mill slow release tablets .3 times a day and have been for 4 years is that ok I don’t feel sick our drowsy at all is that ok

4:26 am May 20th, 2013

Hello Grant. Long term use of opioids like Oxycontin can cause long term effects. So if you’re taking it as prescribed check in with your prescribing doctor to learn more about the long term effects. And as long as you exhibit no symptoms of overdose, your dose is probably right for you. Check with a pharmacist to get advice on what the average dose is…so that you can understand more about where your dose falls on the continuum.

3:56 pm June 10th, 2013

My husband has been receiving a prescription for 150 – 80mg.Oxycontin this month the drug store said they could only give him 120 pills. Is this from the FDA – DEA – or his prescription plan ? Does he need an over-ride from his doctor? Does this have to do with his age, as he is now 70? Thank you.

8:27 pm October 17th, 2013

I feel stupid asking this question, but I have read the above article and the questions and answers. I am taking 20mg of Oxycontin 4 times a day. Two in the morning (40mg total), 1 in the afternoon (20mg) and then 1 in the evening (another 20mg). I can also take 5mg of Oxycodin (2 in the morning if needed (10mg) and then 2 in the afternoon or evening if needed (another 10mg). Since my last prescription, I went on a lengthy trip where I was driving cross country, and took more than the prescribed Oxycodin. I was taking 3 and 4 tablets at a time for breakthrough pain. I was also taking an extra Oxycontin or 2. I am almost out of the Oxycontin. If I cut them in half, I understand that I will absorb 10mg of the drug right away instead of the full 20mg throughout the 12 hour period. But I need to get me through for another few days before I am able to get a refill.

Am I at risk for an overdose if I take and cut the Oxycontin in half if I am already on such a high volume of Oxycontin and Oxycodin?

4:42 pm October 22nd, 2013

Hello Michael. It’s probable that if you’ve been dosing on oxycodone and OxyContin for more than a few weeks of daily use, you’ve already developed tolerance to opioids. How long have you been taking opioids?

11:27 pm October 22nd, 2013

It will be 3 years this coming February. I started out with just 5mg for breakthrough pain. Then started taking 1 10mg oxycontin 3 times a day. Now I’m up to 4 20mg oxycontin – 2 in the am, 1 in the afternoon and 1 in the evening, but they don’t last long enough. I understand the Oxycontin is suppose to last 12 hours but I find it only works for about 6 or 7 hours before the pain starts coming back and I have to take another one.

I am scheduled for a series of injections – hopefully no later than the end of next month – so I can start coming off these things. I really don’t like being on them for this length of time.

3:46 pm October 23rd, 2013

Hello Michael. It sounds as if you’ve developed a tolerance for oxycodone; pretty par for the course of treatment with opioids. Best of luck during tapering and withdrawal. Do you have another form of pain management lined up?

11:31 pm October 25th, 2013

Im taking oxycontin and would like to know whats in it and is there a difference between that and oxecodone?

3:27 am December 17th, 2013


I am not part of the Addiction Blog administration or affiliated, but while you are awaiting their official reply, I believe oxycontin is the time release painkiller and that oxycodone is released all at once. From what I understand, they are the same medicine, but oxycontin is designed to provide steady relief released throughout the day over time while oxycodone is more for immediate breakthrough pain relief. I hope this answers your question and helps you. Also, you may want to wait for an official reply from the Addiction Blog, but I believe this is information is accurate.

7:18 am December 17th, 2013

Hello Ann and Observer. That’s right. Oxycodone is the generic opioid contained in OxyContin. OxyContin is a brand that has been manufactured to release oxycodone slowly, over time. But at the basic level, they both contain the same opioid: oxycodone. Check the labels to confirm the DOSAGE, however. This can vary and high doses of oxycodone can induce overdose.

7:28 am December 17th, 2013

Thank you. Just the confirmation that was needed. :)

Susan more
1:04 am March 27th, 2014

I have been on Targin 40/20 for two yrs. In that time I have taken 10mg oxynorm 3 times a day then 20mg 3 times a day and this has been the way for the last 6 months ( 40/20 Targin and 20mg oxynorm 3 x a day). I recently saw a new pain doctor and he scared the willies out of me saying I could drop dead on the amount I’m taking. I said wouldn’t my GP tell me that and alter it? I got home that day and stopped the oxynorm all together. It’s been almost 3 days and I’m still shaky with rapid heart palpitations, sweats, my head feels like it’s going to explode. Plz help how long will it tske to feel Better? I’m also on Zoloft lyrica baptist and stilnox at night. Can’t wait to hear from someone. Thanik u so much.

8:27 am March 28th, 2014

Does the body need more of the drug over a period of time to keep on working?

3:33 pm March 28th, 2014

Susan, I’ve been on Oxynorm 20mg 2x 4 times a day, Oxycontin 120mg 1x 2 times a day, Gabapentin 800mg 1x 4 times a day, Omeprazole 20mg 1 per day, Etodolac 600mg 1 per day and Paracetamol 2x 4 times a day!! I’ve taken that little lot for over two years now after spinal surgery that didn’t work unfortunately and I’m still alive and kicking.

So I wouldn’t take much heed of what you were told. But what do I know, I’m not a doctor!! Best wishes…..

4:41 pm April 12th, 2014

How long will some one sleep if they were close to an overdose on oxy?

12:17 am July 1st, 2014

Can someone tell me the answer to this question? I have been in chronic pain my entire life. Since the age of 2 if you want to be exact. I have been on some type of pain medication since my teens. My question is if I take two 30 mg oxycodone IR and I am out until my mail order. I also take 60 mg Oxycontin ER. Can I cut the 60 mg in half? Wouldn’t that be really the same thing? Being that it will basically go into my system Same way. My Dr is 2 hours away and of course it is not like we can drive 10 minutes to get a new script and I do not want to mess up my prescription order. It already has been a huge mixup this time!!! Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

6:22 am July 17th, 2014

I am on oxycontin 60 mg I have been on them for over 6 years but it seems that I that are not working as well as when I first started taking them I was wondering if I should cut the pill in half to make them last the break thru pain Med I don’t have enough

6:45 am July 17th, 2014

I am on oxycontin 60 mg I have been on them for over 6 years but it seems that they don’t work as well anymore. When I first started taking them the pain was controlled it doesn’t seem to be controlled was well anymore. I was wondering if I should cut the pill in half to make them last? Would it matter if they are marked 60 op? Or should I not be scared to talk with my doctor he has so much to deal with when it comes to the FED he is trying to make the FDA happy but it is hurting his patient is afraid that if he adds meds that his license will be taken what should I do? Any advise?

2:43 pm July 24th, 2014

Hello Dianne. Extended release medications should not be altered or cut because this breaks the mechanism that allows the medication to be released in your body over time. Can your doctor call in a prescription so that you can avoid withdrawal?

12:40 am August 5th, 2014

I took my last dose of 4mg subconscious today at four o’clock. By tomorrow about 10am I’ll have two instant release oxidation and one forty time release oxidation will I feel tbem?

1:35 pm August 5th, 2014

I take 30mg of OxyContin 3times per day. I accidentally doubled my dose this morning. No ER.

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
8:59 am August 6th, 2014

Hello Susan. It depends on how high your tolerance is. It will absorb all at once. You should be ok, but be very careful from now on! If you feel like you arent okay get to the ER or Call The Poison Control Center on 1-800-222-1222 for a free over-the-phone asesment of the risk of overdose and advise on what to do next.

6:17 pm August 9th, 2014

Hi Please can u advise me on taking OxyContin ,my prescribed does it one twice a day 10 mg ,I have been taken two tablets in the evening as evening time my body aches so much and by taken two I feel so much better ,a little light headed but otherwise ok my does add up to 30 mg please advise me if this is Ok .
Thank you JOHANNA

4:33 pm August 31st, 2014

This is not your fault but I just needed to be sure that what I was feeling is because of the drugs.
I have CRPS Type 1 and since 1997 I have had unimaginable pain and I am past the point where I can`t cope anymore.

5:11 pm September 1st, 2014

An-yet I survive again.
My daily intake is Oxy “C” 360mg
Oxy “N” 40mg + 20mg emergency allowance.
And still I can`t find what will truly do what I want it to when I can`t go on.
The daily amaount is prescribed for my illlness. Until `97 I never knew pain like this. I have had three papers written about me. I have been the subject of at least two group meetings to try and help me, and all in vain. I am lucky enough to have an ilness that the medics aren`t fully sure what it is and then to put the boot in it just happens incureable. Aren`t I the lucky one?

E Murray
11:18 pm September 3rd, 2014

Hi my daughter takes 200mg of oxy c morning and night ,and 60 mg oxy n up to 6 times a day for spinal cancer ,over the past couple of day’s she has been talking nonsence ,is this just a build up of meds in her system or is she becoming toxic on the meds ?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
7:07 am September 10th, 2014

Hello E. Murray. I’d suggest talking to her doctor about the risks. In situations like these it’s hard to say.

8:49 pm September 15th, 2014

I take 12 40 mg tablets a day and in the end is not working after long time use for doctor gives me them as im an amputee.i would advise anybody NOT TO START USING THIS PILL, it is awful to stop. I’m worried it will kill me eventually

8:57 pm September 15th, 2014

To E murray the talkingbis her dreamimg when awake loke tripping wen eyes closed sedated. Morphine is the greek god of sleep sorry morpheous I think the spelling may be wrong.i take a large ammount for injury and it may be high dose too but its the high effect of a large dose.i would see doctor and tell them this and watch her in the also a drug support worker

12:00 am September 20th, 2014

I’ve been prescribed 60 mg Oxcontin daily, 30 mg 2 x a day. How much medicine is in my blood stream at any given hour, and how long will the pain suppression last per tablet. I was previously taking 10 Hydrocodone a day, sometime more depending on the pain level.
Follow on question…. Can I reduce the amount I take by stretching out the 12 hour dosing to the point where I no longer need this? is that possible? I mean, maybe I can get off all of this.

2:45 am October 15th, 2014

I went to a new doctor that was supposed to be this big time pain doctor in 1999.. He said there was a new drug that was not addiction, the new drug “Oxycontin” was supposed to be miracle. 13 years later I now take 500 mg a day. They wasn’t to increase the dosage to 600mg. Scary

7:05 am October 27th, 2014

So when were the 120mg purple OxyContin taken from the market? I know the 160mg were, but less than a year ago, 120mg were certainly available. But only by Napp in the UK, not by Mundipharma in the rest of Europe. The Napp website still lists the 120mg strength, so I am more than a little confused.
I find myself in the position where 80mg bd is simply no longer enough, and would like to access the 120s.
Could anyone enlighten me?

9:27 am November 19th, 2014

Does oxycotin make your body feel heavy.

9:58 pm November 22nd, 2014

Hi I’ve been told to take 2 20mg omeprazole with 2 clarithromycin 500 my with 2 amoxicillin and I’ve just relized I’ve too 4 20mg of omeprazole will I be ok

3:56 am November 29th, 2014

i take oxycontin 80 mg 3 times a day, every 8 hours, doctor is thinking about increasing to 80 mg every 6 hours. i have endometrial cancer. medication wears off after 6 hours and pain returns. i am 78 years old. thank you

12:39 pm December 14th, 2014

Can simultaneously taking multiple 10mg OxycoNTIN (controlled release) tablets increase the effect or dose released over a 12 hour time period?

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
4:41 pm December 16th, 2014

Hi Ambrosius. I’d only recommend taking a medication in the doses and time periods suggested by your doctor. Otherwise, it’s abuse and can result in dependence, addiction and/or health risks.

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