What is oxycodone used for?

Oxycodone is an opiate used to relieve moderate to severe pain. It works by changing the way the brain and nervous system respond to pain. More on oxycodone here.

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Oxycodone is in a class of medications called “opiates” (also known as narcotics) and is an analgesics that comes as a solution (liquid), concentrated solution, tablet, capsule, or extended-release (long-acting) tablets to take by mouth. Can oxycodone be addictive?  Absolutely. More on the medical, legal, and illegal uses of oxycodone here. Then, we invite your questions about using oxycodone at the end.

Oxycodone uses

Oxycodone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone extended-release tablets are prescribed for people need medication to relieve pain around the clock. Oxycodone is available in many different forms and is often prescribed in combination with acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen.

Oxycodone uses and side effects

Oxycodone may cause side effects. Some of the most common side effects of using oxycodone are:

  • constipation
  • dizziness or lightheadedness
  • dry mouth
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Other side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • difficulty breathing
  • fast or slow heartbeat
  • seizures
  • slowed breathing

Illegal oxycodone use

Historically, oxycodone has been a popular drug of abuse among addicts. However, any non-prescription use of oxycodone IS ILLEGAL. This includes using oxycodone prescribed to someone else, or taking oxycodone OTHER THAN PRESCRIBED. It is abused orally, nasally, or intravenously; the tablets are crushed and sniffed or dissolved in water and injected. Furthermore, illegal manufacturing and/or trafficking of oxycodone is punishable by law with average sentence of imprisonment of 5 years.

Still people use oxycodone illegally to get high. Euphoria and feelings of relaxation are the most common effects of oxycodone on the brain, which explains its high potential for abuse. Plus, prescriptions for oxycodone can be relatively easily obtained in clinics by presenting appropriate complaints. Physicians are not formally trained to identify the drug-seeking behavior of abusers. In fact, many people addicted to the drug often go “doctor-shopping”. Addicts also go to different pharmacies in different areas to get those prescriptions filled so that they can buy the drug unnoticed. What does oxycodone abuse lead to?

To sustain their habits, oxycodone abusers sometimes engage in committing fraud and, and abusers will commit forgery and alter prescriptions. Burglaries and robberies in pharmacies have been reported. In the process of getting a quick heroin-like high, people also put themselves at risk of overdose-related death. There have also been case reports of adolescents stealing oxycodone from their parents.

Problems with oxycodone

Whether for yourself or someone you care about, the inability to stop using oxycodone signals the need for targeted treatment. While you can recognize addiction through actions or behaviors, symptoms of addiction are primarily psychological in nature. For instance, if drug use continues despite negative consequences, or the dosage must be increased to overcome the tolerance and experience a buzz, or you’ve tried repeated and unsuccessfully to stop taking oxycodone, these are all signs of addiction. So, what you can do about it?

1. Check into an oxycodone addiction treatment center specialized to provide full-service detox, education, and therapy for oxycodone addicts.

2. Consult an addiction specialist. Talk with a psychologist, psychiatrist, or a licensed clinical social worker for expert help.

3. Seek help from friends and family.

There are myriad ways to help an oxycodone addict, and it usually starts with an intervention. These can be either informal, which typically involve close family and friends. Formal interventions include an outside professional or treatment center to discuss the problem and solutions. Another way to help an oxycodone addict is to research addiction resources in the local area, which often provide help and support.

Oxycodone addiction helplines

The open nature of drug addiction within today’s society has led to a number of public helplines, which can be instrumental in times of need. Some oxycodone hotlines include:

1-800-622-HELP is a federal directory of addiction treatment centers and detox clinics.

1-800-943-0566 is the substance abuse hotline for the Coalition Against Drug Abuse.

Reference sources: NLM: Oxycodone
PAI: Drug Fact Sheet
NCBI: The controversy surrounding OxyContin abuse: issues and solutions
USSC: Quick Facts – Oxycodone Trafficking
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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