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  • Oxycodone is an opioid similar in effect and chemical structure to hydrocodone, codeine, or methadone, and is prescribed in various forms to treat moderate to severe pain. 

    Oxycodone (often combined with acetaminophen) is widely used within the healthcare system, and widely misused in American communities due to the drug’s availability and a high potential for dependence and addiction.

    Popular brand names for oxycodone pain-relief medications include Percocet, OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Roxicet. The medication is available in liquid, tablet, and capsule forms.

    Oxycodone Detection Times

    As the drug enters the system, the body works to break down the drug and filter it out via the kidneys and the urine. 

    Oxycodone’s broken-down metabolites—namely noroxycodone, noroxymorphone, and oxymorphone—can be detected via drug testing using samples of urine, hair follicles, blood, and even saliva for differing periods of time long after the drug’s effects have worn off.

    If any metabolites are revealed by the drug test, the person has taken oxycodone at some point. 

    General limits defining the detection window for oxycodone’s metabolites include:

    • blood tests: 1 Day
    • urine tests: 1-4 Days
    • saliva tests: 1-2 Days
    • hair tests: Up to 90 days

    Oxycodone Half-Life

    The half-life of oxycodone is between three to five hours. This is the amount of time it takes for one half of the remaining dose to be eliminated from the bloodstream. 

    Around five half-life periods are required for the last dose of oxycodone to be more or less totally eliminated from the bloodstream, depending on the product taken and how quickly or slowly it releases its active ingredient:

    • Fast acting, immediate-release painkillers will be processed and affect the body quicker
    • Extended release products will be processed and affect the body slower

    How Long Does It Take To Feel Oxycodone’s Effects?

    When an individual takes oxycodone it stimulates opioid receptors inside the brain and nervous system, releasing dopamine and causing various effects throughout the body, ultimately blocking pain and producing feelings of pleasure and euphoria in high enough doses.

    Generally, oxycodone’s effects on the body: 

    • can be felt within half an hour
    • will peak within an hour
    • will begin to wear off after anywhere from three to twelve hours depending on the dosage and how quickly the drug is released (quick vs. extended release medications)

    Factors That Impact Oxycodone Elimination Times

    Oxycodone elimination times vary based on how often the drug is used, the amount taken, age, metabolism, genetic makeup, body mass, and gender.

    Some key factors include:

    • women tend to display lower blood plasma concentrations of oxycodone than men
    • younger people are better able to process the drug, eliminating it faster
    • individuals with slow metabolisms or liver/kidney damage may take longer to process the drug and have trouble eliminating it
    • heavy or frequent users will require more time to fully eliminate the drug from their systems

    Oxycodone Addiction

    Oxycodone, like other opiates, is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance. This means that it has a high potential for substance abuse, with non-prescription or long-term use of the drug leading to addiction and severe psychological and physical dependence.

    Moreover, taking oxycodone in high doses or combining it with other substances poses a serious risk of overdose.

    Opioid drug abuse may also cause side effects including: 

    • dry mouth
    • stomach pain
    • constipation
    • drowsiness
    • flushed skin
    • headaches
    • a decline in mental health
    • mood changes 

    Going off oxycodone after using it for a length of time may also result in withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe and should be managed by a healthcare provider as part of a detox program.

    To learn about our addiction treatment options, including detox, please contact Ark Behavioral Health today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    National Center for Biotechnology Information: StatPearls - Oxycodone
    U.S. Food and Drug Administration - Oxycontin HCl Label
    U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Oxycodone

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 13, 2022
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