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  • Oxycodone Drug Interactions & Warnings

    woman holding different types of pills in her hand - Oxycodone Drug Interactions & Warnings

    Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic prescription drug that is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It works by changing how the central nervous system (CNS) responds to pain and is often found under the brand names OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Oxaydo.

    When using oxycodone, there are a number of other drugs that don’t react well with it and that you should stay away from. On top of that, there are also several warnings that come with this painkiller, including serious side effects and worsening health conditions.

    Oxycodone Drug Interactions

    Whether you’re using oxycodone as prescribed or abusing it, mixing it with certain substances can lead to serious life-threatening reactions. It’s important to know what not to take with oxycodone so you can decrease the risk of oxycodone overdose and serious unintended side effects.

    The drugs that don’t work well with oxycodone include:

    • benzodiazepines like alprazolam and lorazepam
    • other CNS depressants like alcohol
    • marijuana
    • antifungals like ketoconazole
    • erythromycin
    • rifampin
    • anticonvulsants like carbamazepine and phenytoin.
    • other opiates/opioids like fentanyl, tramadol, codeine, and hydrocodone
    • over-the-counter cough medicine
    • supplements
    • buprenorphine
    • muscle relaxants like carisoprodol
    • naloxone (although, this is what’s used to reverse an opioid overdose)
    • 5-HT3 receptor antagonists such as alosetron (Lotronex)
    • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as citalopram (Celexa)
    • ritonavir

    Oxycodone Warnings

    Oxycodone also comes with quite a few warnings about who should and shouldn’t take it, what serious side effects it can cause in some people, and how it can lead to dependence and addiction.

    Allergic Reaction

    If you’re allergic to any of oxycodone’s ingredients or have been allergic to a medication in the past, let your healthcare professional know. If you end up taking the drug and are allergic, it could lead to:

    • hives
    • itching
    • rash
    • swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, ankles, or lower legs
    • hoarseness
    • respiratory depression

    Pregnancy & Breastfeeding

    Those who are pregnant and breastfeeding also need to be very careful with oxycodone. This opioid is not recommended for anyone who is pregnant as it could harm the fetus. 

    If you abuse the pain medication while pregnant, the baby could struggle with neonatal abstinence syndrome once it’s born, potentially leading to tremors, excessive crying, and breathing issues.

    As for breastfeeding, there is a potential risk that the drug could transfer from the breast milk to the baby and cause sedation or breathing problems if they ingest enough of it. For this reason, medical professionals don’t usually recommend using oxycodone while breastfeeding.

    Serious Side Effects

    Every drug comes with some side effects and oxycodone is no different. But while there are some common side effects of oxycodone that are relatively mild, there are also rarer effects that can be very severe. 

    The adverse effects oxycodone can cause may include:

    • slow/shallow breathing
    • severe drowsiness/dizziness 
    • fast heartbeat
    • severe muscle stiffness
    • loss of coordination
    • nausea and vomiting
    • constipation
    • inability to get or keep an erection
    • irregular menstruation
    • decreased sexual desire
    • chest pain
    • seizure

    Health Conditions

    There are also quite a few health conditions that oxycodone use and abuse can make worse. The side effects the drug can bring on could make certain health conditions a bigger problem than they were before you took the drug.

    The health conditions in question include:

    • paralytic ileus
    • gastrointestinal blockage
    • low blood pressure/hypotension
    • breathing problems like COPD, sleep apnea, or asthma
    • certain brain disorders like head injury, tumor, or epilepsy
    • Addison’s disease (disease affecting the adrenal glands)
    • enlarged prostate
    • heart disease
    • kidney disease
    • hepatic impairment/liver disease
    • thyroid disease
    • pancreas or gallbladder disease

    Dependence & Addiction

    Oxycodone also comes with a relatively high risk for addiction. The FDA/DEA classifies it as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to severe dependence and addiction.

    If you abuse or take high doses of oxycodone over a period of time, physical dependence is likely. When this occurs, your body may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when you stop using it. 

    It’s these symptoms that often lead people to relapse and continue the cycle of addiction.

    To learn how we address oxycodone drug abuse, please contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2022 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Sources

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) - Drug Scheduling
    Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - FDA warns about serious risks and death when combining opioid pain or cough medicines with benzodiazepines; requires its strongest warning
    Journal of Forensic Sciences - A fatal drug interaction between oxycodone and clonazepam
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Oxycodone

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on October 20, 2022
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