Tuesday October 21st 2014

Tolerance to OxyContin

Are your prescribed OxyContin (oxycodone) doses not enough anymore? Do OxyContin effects on the body no longer seem effective? Are you taking more OxyContin in order to feel its effects?  If yes, then you have probably developed a tolerance to OxyContin. Some worry that being tolerant to Oxycontin means they are also physically dependent on Oxycontin.  But this is not true: if you are tolerant to OxyContin you will not necessarily experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking OxyContin. However, drug dependence does not always accompany tolerance. Nor does it mean you are addicted to OxyContin, either.

Here, we take a closer look at OxyContin tolerance, how does OxyContin work in the body, and whether it’s possible to lower your tolerance to OxyContin, or not. If at the end you still have questions about tolerance to OxyContin, please ask and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Developing tolerance to OxyContin

Opioid tolerance to medications like OxyContin occurs because brain cells with opioid receptors gradually become less responsive to opioid stimulation over time. In other words, when your body accommodates for OxyContin, it weakens oxycodone’s ability to work with the same effectiveness. For example, a few weeks or months into OxyContin treatment, more oxycodone is needed to stimulate the VTA brain cells of the mesolimbic reward system to release the same amount of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. This is why OxyContin addicts eventually need more Oxycontin to produce pleasure, compared to initial dosing episodes.

Developing tolerance is such a personal development that at times it may be hard to predict. It does seem though that some people have natural blocks to certain types of drugs like OxyContin and will need alternative medications. However, just because the nerve receptors have been dampened doesn’t mean you are addicted or dependent on OxyContin. If you think you may have developed a dependency on oxycodone, watch out for withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking OxyContin.

OxyContin tolerance symptoms

Common tolerance symptoms of OxyContin include:

1) Exceeding recommended or prescribed maximum daily doses of OxyContin.

2) Feeling little pain relief when you take OxyContin.

3) Maintaining normal functions without the presence of withdrawal symptoms.

But even though you may be experiencing these symptoms of tolerating OxyContin doesn’t mean you’re developing an OxyContin addiction. Several other factors play into drug addiction, such as experiencing OxyContin withdrawal symptoms and the prescence of psychological dependence on OxyContin like mental drug cravings to help cope with day-to-day life.

OxyContin tolerance: How long?

You can develop a tolerance to OxyContin (oxycodone) quickly. But each person develops tolerance to Oxycontin at a different rate. In general, extended use of opioid medications like OxyContin produces drug tolerance. Your tolerance for Oxycontin will increase the longer you are taking OxyContin. OxyContin is also a common substance that is abused; but once you take OxyContin, you can never ever experience the first high again. This is where tolerance can be dangerous because as people chase their first high by increasing the amount of OxyContin they take, which can quickly lead to physical dependence and addiction.

High tolerance to OxyContin

OxyContin is a slow-release long-term opioid pain reliever. Some people have a naturally high tolerance for OxyContin, although it is hard to predict who will have a higher tolerance or not. You are considered opioid tolerant if you exceed 30mg daily in OxyContin, though the largest dose of OxyContin that will be prescribed is 160mg daily. Exceeding this daily amount is considered high and can be potentially dangerous. If you continue to increase your dose of OxyContin and still do not feel its effects, OxyContin might not work at all for you. If you have a high tolerance for OxyContin, it may be best to find another drug that would works best for the symptoms you’re trying to relieve. In general, though, if you are abusing OxyContin you are going to develop tolerance faster.

How to lower tolerance to OxyContin

If you want to lower your tolerance to OxyContin the best thing to do consult your prescribing doctor before you stop taking it for awhile. But keep in mind that some individuals never regain the base level of lowered tolerance. Give your body time to readjust. After some time, your tolerance will lower and you may be able to take OxyContin again. Also, OxyContin is meant more for short term therapy than for long term use. If you are not taking OxyContin the next time you have surgery or get injured, you can expect to take OxyContin with benefits of pain relief.

Building up tolerance to OxyContin questions

Do you still have questions about OxyContin tolerance? Please share your questions and experiences with OxyContin in the comments below.

Reference Sources: National Institute of Drug Abuse: Neurotransmission
Daily Med: OxyContin
Daily Med archive for OxyContin
National Institute of Drug Abuse: The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment

Photo credit: vitualis

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5 Responses to “Tolerance to OxyContin
Paul Mason
8:58 pm July 20th, 2013

I have had low back pain for about 4 years, with a useless bone spur operation two years ago. I get steroid injections monthly, and weekly massage. My primary pain relief is Oxycontin, taking an average of about 60 mg a day the last month, and taking Hydrocodone for about a year before that. The Hydrocodone was not relieving enough pain.

Oxycodone really blocks my short-term memory, and makes me sleepy, so I hired a driver.

I never get high from it. I am planning my business, so I need to know what my future likely holds. What is the percent of patients who develop tolerance to Oxycodone? How long does it usually take to develop tolerance?

I take tiny doses of Nuvigil to stay alert, cutting the pills down to less than 50 mg per day. Nuvigil also seems to help with the memory problem.

Thanks

9:20 am July 25th, 2013

Hello Paul. It usually takes a few weeks to develop dependence to oxycodone. Everyone who takes oxycodone daily is expected to develop dependence, but tolerance is an issue of individual sensitivity. Some people are less responsive to opiate/opioids while others are more responsive. Experts don’t know yet what determines or regulates tolerance.

I wish you well in your new business venture. Any other questions?

Natalie
5:33 pm July 30th, 2014

Hi,
I was wondering if you could help me with some questions on Oxycontin. I had bi-lateral knee surgery 2 weeks ago and the NSAIDS they initially gave me post-op weren’t helping with the pain, so the Dr. sent me Oxycontin 10mg. It’s the first time I ever take it and have not abused it in the past, no any other opiods. But the first dose I took last night freaked me out because it made me feel really dopey and I experienced slow breathing. Not hard core, but I was afraid of falling asleep because I thought I might not breathe when asleep. Anyways, it was a rough night but today in the morning, I was brave enough to take my 2nd dose (it’s every 12 hrs). I’ve not experienced any breathing issues as of yet. Should I be worried about what happened with my first dose? with the slightly slow breathing and anxiety? Should I not take my next nighttime dose?

Also, the Oxy the sent me will run out in about 2 weeks. Do I need to taper off slowly? Or will I be ok if I just run out after 2 weeks and that’s it? I don’t know if I’ll be dependent on it by then enough to require me to ask my Dr. to prescribe a few more so that I can taper off slowly?

Thanks for your help!

Ivana @ Addiction Blog
12:11 pm August 4th, 2014

Hello Natalie. Medical professional suggest you tell your healthcare provider right away if you are breathing more slowly than usual, are experiencing shallow breathing (little chest movement while breathing), or if you feel faint, dizzy, confused, or have any other unusual symptoms.

TornDiscs
10:02 pm August 21st, 2014

I’m a 40 year old male with a really messed up back from years and years of installing carpeting. I didn’t have issues with my back until I stopped installing for a few years. I am a mess now, my DO put my on Oxycontin, which has helped, but now 1.5 yrs later it does little to mask the pain. I’m currently on 60mg x3 daily and have been for over 1.5 yrs, with almost no increases(except for BT pain medicine). I’m at the point now where I just can’t justify the $150.00 a month for medicine that doesn’t work anymore. But I am worried that once I wean off I will be in excruciating pain. Any suggestions from any long time Oxycontin users?? I have tried Fentnyl patches and they didn’t work. All they did is make me feel ill.

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