Can you get addicted to oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an extremely habit forming painkiller. Learn how you can recognize oxycodone addiction and what you can do to avoid it, here.

minute read


Oxycodone can potentially cause both physical dependence and addiction when used and/or abused over a prolonged period of time.

But how can you know if you or a someone close to you is becoming addicted to oxycodone? What are the signs of oxycodone addiction? In this article, we answer these questions and more. Additionally if you have any questions after reading this article, feel free to post them at the end. We try to provide a personal and prompt response to all legitimate inquiries.

Oxycodone chemistry and use

Oxycodone (or oxycodone hydrochloride) is a prescription narcotic medication used for management and treatment of pain. It’s a white, odorless, crystalline powder derived from thebaine, an alkaloid of opium. The molecular formula of oxycodone is C18H21NO4.

Oxycodone acts as a full opioid agonist. It works by binding to mu-receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and may cause feelings of sedation, anxiousness, analgesia and depression. All of these effects slightly differ depending on dosage levels and the metabolism of the user.

What medicines contain oxycodone?

Oxycodone can be found under many different brand names and in combination with other active ingredients. Here is a list of prescription drugs that contain oxycodone:

Combunox – a combination of Oxycodone and Ibuprofen

Endocet – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Endodan – a combination of Oxycodone and Aspirin

Lynox – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Magnacet – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Narvox – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Oxycet – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Percocet – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Percodan – a combination of Oxycodone and Aspirin

Perloxx – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Primlev – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Roxicet – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Roxiprin – a combination of Oxycodone and Aspirin

Taxadone – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Tylox – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

Xolox – a combination of Oxycodone and acetaminophen

What does oxycodone do in the body?

Oxycodone works in the body via the central nervous system (CNS) by making small, but significant changes in the user’s sense of pain and the emotional response to it. It binds to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord to cause physical changes, but also has a documented effect of producing euphoria – an extremely pleasant sense of well-being. So when oxycodone binds to those receptors, the user experiences an analgesic effect accompanied by pain relief and feelings of euphoria.

Further, the use of oxycodone may result in the following physical side effects in the body:

  • irregular breathing
  • low blood pressure
  • migraines
  • nausea
  • tightness in the chest
  • vomiting

Oxycodone can create an intense physical and psychological dependence in those who use the drug. People who use oxycodone can develop tolerance quickly in a relatively short period of time. As time progresses, larger quantities of this medication are required in order to achieve the effects felt at the beginning of oxycodone treatment.

How do you get addicted to oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a narcotic medication, placed in the group of Schedule II drugs according to The Controlled Substance Act. This means that oxycodone can be used legally only for medical reasons. Sometimes, even people who use it for medical reasons can develop addiction. But, those who abuse oxycodone by taking it without a prescription, in larger doses, more frequently, or in ways (modes of administration) other than prescribed are in greater risk.

There are many factors that influence whether you will continue taking this medication long enough to become addicted. The factors that influence the occurrence of oxycodone addiction can be both individual and environmental. However, oxycodone’s ability to provide intense feelings of pleasure can be a critical reason for many who continue taking it chronically.

What increases oxycodone addiction risk?

Addiction risk is theorized to be 50% genetic and 50% environmental. People with a personal or family substance abuse history risk becoming ‘hooked’ when prescribed on opioid medication. Conversely, those who use oxycodone to get high have a risk of becoming addicted.

Users should be aware that taking oxycodone recreationally increases the risk of oxycodone overdose. Every recreational method of ingesting can lead to dangerous amounts of oxycodone in the body. Therefore, serious attention is required from users, as well as prescribers, when using oxycodone as a part of a medication treatment.

Signs of oxycodone addiction

Do you find yourself wondering ‘Am I addicted to Oxys?‘. If you suspect that you may have developed an oxycodone addiction – you should not deny it. Denial can be your worst enemy when you want to make a step towards treating oxycodone addiction. So, if you believe that you, a friend, or a family member might be addicted, there are some common signs that can suggest an oxycodone addiction problem. These include:

1. Things of value around the house start to disappear. This is usually one of the first signs of addiction. Addiction to any drug can create financial desperation that may result in theft.

2. The usually reliable person becomes less so. Addiction is visible through a number of behavioral changes. If a person becomes forgetful of appointments, starts to run late for work, disappears without explanation, or acts in a secretive way, they may have a substance abuse problem.

3. There is a drastic drop or change of interests/hobbies. Sometimes when a person loses interest in social activities and starts spending time with friends it could be a sign of depression. But these symptoms can also signal a growing preoccupation with drugs. Especially if a person changes their group of friends suddenly, and are no longer interested in once enjoyable activities.

4. Unexplained weight and appetite loss. When dramatic weight loss happens in several weeks time, and is accompanied by a great appetite reduction and no increase in exercise habits, it might be worth investigating whether a person is abusing drugs.

5. Dramatic mood swings. A person who used to display balanced or controlled moods may display wild mood swings and unpredictable emotions after chronic oxycodone use.

You may also notice the following:

  • noticeable changes in sleeping habits
  • appearance of anxiety, paranoia or panic attacks
  • frequent complaints about a vague illness
  • a previously honest person has become a liar

How to avoid oxycodone addiction

The best way to avoid oxycodone addiction is to use the prescription pain medication for its intended purposes and exactly as your doctor prescribes it. NOTE: Never try to start using or quit a medication on your own.

Another recommendation is to gather as much information on how to use oxycodone properly from your doctor or physician. Also, read the oxycodone medication guide carefully for additional information about your prescription medication.

Finally, have faith and be positive when facing a health problem, including addiction. Take hope that addiction is NOT a moral problem. It is physical. Be oriented towards change and success! The more we learn about the neuroplasticity of the brain and its ability to adapt, the better the treatment outcomes.

Questions about oxycodone dependency

Hopefully, we helped you learn more about oxycodone’s addictive potential and how you can avoid addiction. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below. We are happy to answer your questions in a personal and prompt manner, or refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: Medline Plus: Oxycodone
NCBI:The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment
CESAR: Oxycodone
Lawford. K. Christopher. (2013). Recover to Live. Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books, p. 48-50
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
I am ready to call
i Who Answers?