How is OxyContin prescribed?

OxyContin is only prescribed by a medical doctor as an opiate medication used to help manage pain. OxyContin dosage may vary according to your exposure to opioids and usually begins low. More on the cost of OxyContin and signs of abuse here.

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OxyContin is one of the most popular prescription pain medications on the U.S. market. OxyContin is available only as a prescription medicine and cannot be obtained over-the-counter. More on how OxyContin is prescribed, OxyContin prescription costs and OxyContin prescription dosage here. We invite your questions about OxyContin prescriptions at the end.

What do doctors prescribe OxyContin for?

OxyContin is a powerful narcotic prescription drug used to help control moderate to severe pain. The main ingredient in OxyContin, oxycodone, works by modifying the way the body and brain perceive pain. Oxycodone interacts with the opioid receptors of the central nervous system and in addition to pain relief, can also cause feelings of euphoria, a feeling of intense well-being. Can you get high OxyContin?  Yes.  This is why OxyContin prescriptions are monitored by doctors – Because OxyContin is good at getting people high, it comes with the risk of OxyContin overdose amount as little as 40 mg at once.

OxyContin prescription dosage

Your OxyContin prescription dosage will vary based on your previous exposure to narcotics. Patients usually start out on 10 mg tablets. However, OxyContin is also available in doses of 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, and 80 mg. The higher doses of OxyContin can only be tolerated by someone with a history of OxyContin use, and could be dangerous or even deadly to someone who hasn’t taken OxyContin before.

OxyContin prescription cost

An OxyContin prescription will vary in cost depending on your insurance coverage. OxyContin can be very expensive – the stronger formulations can run into hundreds of dollars a month. The weaker formulas aren’t as expensive, although it can still be around $100 without insurance. The generic versions of OxyContin tend to be much more affordable, between $20-50 without insurance.

Can you get OxyContin over the counter?

No. OxyContin is available by prescription only. Why? Because OxyContin is addictive, and only prescribed to people experiencing pain which can’t be helped by over-the-counter medication.

Signs of OxyContin prescription drug abuse

If you feel high when you take OxyContin, you can easily become addicted to the oxycodone contained in OxyContin. You should know that OxyContin show up urine test as an opioid, and can be detected by most standard drug screen panels.  An addiction to OxyContin causes a psychological compulsion to seek out the drug, even when drug use has a negative effect on your personal or professional life. However, if you use OxyContin to help manage pain, you can develop a tolerance and dependence on the medication, and be unable to stop taking it abruptly. This type of physical dependence, however, is not the same as an addiction. Signs OxyContin abuse include the use of OxyContin:

  • for the experience or euphoric feelings elicited
  • in a way other than as prescribed (more frequently, higher doses)
  • without a prescription

OxyContin prescription questions

Do you still have questions about OxyContin prescriptions? Please leave them here. We are happy to help answer your questions personally and promptly. If we do not know the answer to your particular question, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: Toxnet: Oxycodone
PubMed Health: Oxycodone
DailyMed: OxyContin
NIDA Research Reports: What is prescription drug abuse
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.


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  1. Hello, I don’t mean to bother but I’m at a loss for my small perceptions of Oxy! I was in a horrible accident 14yrs ago. I’m in constant pain. When I was let out of the hospital after 3yrs of being there, I was prescribed 3x80mgs a day, now I’m only prescribed 2x40mgs a day?. I’m so tired of my pains and am frustrated my doctor won’t allow me more! If he ever took the initiative to check out my hospital diagnosis, he’d see what happened to me! Why do I have too suffer from his neglect??

    1. Hi Angela. You don’t have to suffer. There is a way out of pain and misery. Have you considered some treatment options? Please feel free to call us on the number above. We have addiction recovery support specialists on our hotline ready to talk you through treatment options.

  2. What is meant by the term or word “high” when talking about drugs? Does it mean happy, excited and joyful?

  3. I was struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian in a crosswalk and the accident shattered the whole right side of my body , including two one inch tears inside my ACL in shoulder… my question is, after following doctors orders for the past year, including 6 months of physical therapy, the only thing to allow me to function throughout the day without pain, was the oxycodone prescribed…. my question is… is this a medication prescribed for forever??

  4. I am a liver transplant patient and her not being on anything with aspirin or Tylenol in it I have chronic back pain for years and it’s ridiculous that OxyContin cost as much as it doesi’ve paid $204 for 60 pills I don’t know how I’m going to continue this except for going on three code on it that has aspirin and Roxy has Tylenol in it so I have any other suggestions

  5. Hi
    My pain meds have been adjusted over the years up to what i now take on a daily basis which is 2 x 60mg oxycontin am and pm. I know this is a reasonably high dose. Could you please tell what would a normal breakthrough dose of oxynorm be. As my pm doctor only has me on 10mg and i don’t want him to think I’m becoming dependant on it.
    Thank you for your time

  6. I was using oxycodone when I snapped my elbow and chipped a bone. I became physically dependent on it which lead to me buying them off the street, which also lead me to taking heroin as it’s cheaper. I do not want to use heroin for it is the most looked down on ugly drug. I’m new to it, I don’t use a needle and never intend on doing so, my question is, can I ask a doctor to perscibe me OxyContin for a period of time to get off heroin. I don’t want to substitute one for another, but I think I’d rather use OxyContin to taper down my opiate dependency, and with that I know exactly how much I’m taking. I will only be taking a low dosage of about 30/60 mg a day. Any answers would be great thank you !

  7. Hello, As l have been on OxyContin for 10 years and during that time we (the Drs. and l ) have been decreasing and increasing the dosages to meet tolerances and now instead of an increase for my break through and end margin pain we have decided to incorporate Panadiene Forte on a as required dose. This has made it so much easier and less painful for me during those periods, l have seen at least 5 specialists who all seem to think that this pain management plan is ok as it is working for me. I was just wondering what you thought of the plan?

  8. What can I suggest to my physician as an alternative to oxycodone? I am a 71 year old male currently being treated for arthritis and torn rotator cuffs. 24 months ago I had rotator cuff surgery on my left shoulder followed one year by CABG-3. (Heart surgery was mild compared to rotator cuff surgery.) I began oxycodone 30 mg daily following the heart surgery and it worked well until a month ago. I need to have the right rotator cuff repaired, however, I will give up the use of my right arm rather than have more barbaric surgery without pain relief. 4 days ago I reinjured my back lifting a cast iron sink. All of these events are document with MRIs.

    1. Hello Larry. Your physician knows your medical history, so he/she would definitely know what to give you as an alternative to oxycodone. I hope you get better soon.

    1. Hi Richard. There is no generic version of OxyContin. No therapeutically equivalent version of OxyContin is available in the United States. Some scam online pharmacies, however, may attempt to sell generic versions of the medication illegally.

  9. when taking OxyContin along with other prescribed opiates should a drug screen be performed? And if so how often should you request it?

    1. Hi Cynthia. There is no regular schedule. The doctor usually decides these things based on need, to monitor if you are regularly taking the drug in the prescribed dosages and to check if your organism is working normally while taking the medication.

  10. Hello Jana. Yes, addiction can be a possibility, but that involves illegal obtaining of the medication or doing unlawful activities in order to get a hold of OxyContin. I don’t think your husband is anywhere near that read. Dependence can be formed. But that happens with almost all medications people take-the organism gets accustomed to the presence of the substance. This is why withdrawal symptoms are experienced upon abrupt cessation of the medication.

  11. My husband was prescribed Oxycontin by his doctor for chronic foot pain for a botched foot surgery that has left him in pain. He started out with 1 pill a day and now the doctor has increased his prescription to 3 pills a day. It is being filed thru our insurance, so I know the doctor has issued the prescriptions. I’m very concerned with the addictive properties of the drug and even though a doctor is prescribing the medication that my husband may become addicted. Is that possible?

  12. Hi Olivia. I am so sorry your mother is in pain. I guess the doctors put her on OxyContin to make the post-op period and healing more comfortable. I believe she won’t be on it for too long. However, she should only take it as prescribed-this way she can avoid most unwanted consequences.

  13. Hello. My mother has recently had foot surgery and the doctors prescribed her OxyContin to help with pain. I was wondering how long the doctors can keep her on the drug. If it is so addictive then there must be a limit to how long someone can stay on a drug.

  14. Hello Mr. William. Becoming tolerant to a certain dose of a medication you are taking is an expected thing. Tolerance means that your body is becoming accustomed to the current dosage you are taking and slowly becomes less effective. So, as time passes you’ll be getting less pain relief, because the drug simply can’t produce the same effects it gave in the beginning.

    A solution for pain relief is upping doses, which is what you requested. Unfortunatley, the only way to lower your tolerance level is to taper doses down. As you take smaller doses, you body will be getting used to them, so when you go up to 30mg again, it will have better effects.

  15. Hello,
    I am a disabled veteran who takes 30mg of oxycontin/day to treat my chronic pain. When I first started using oxcontin it worked great. My pain level decreased a lot and also had unwanted side effects (false sense of well being). I’ve been taking this dosage for about 8 months. The decrease in my pain level started getting less and less after 3 or 4 months. I assume my body is building up a tolerence to oxycontin. Could you please explain what is meant by tolerence? Is it that my body is just getting used to this amount of oxycontin and it no longer works at this dosage. How do I become non-tolerant? Should I just stop for a while. The pain level will certainly increase with no opiates.
    I asked my primary care doctor for a increase in dosage to 40mg and he denied my request. I am looking into a Medtronic baclofen/pain device.
    Thank You So Much,
    Bill H.
    disabled veteran

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