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  • Oxycodone is a narcotic drug as well as a prescription medication that is typically used to relieve moderate to severe pain. 

    It can be found on its own or in formulations mixed with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. It can be found under the brand names Oxycontin, Percocet, and Percodan (aspirin and oxycodone).

    This prescription drug also has a high potential for drug abuse, physical dependence, and addiction. Once you’re addicted, quitting can be difficult. Fortunately, treatment options are available.

    Oxycodone As A Narcotic

    A narcotic is another name for an opioid. Since oxycodone is an opioid, it’s also a narcotic. And because it’s used for pain relief, it’s often called a narcotic analgesic or an opioid analgesic. 

    When used as directed, the drug binds to the opioid receptors in the brain and works as an effective painkiller for acute and chronic pain, but when abused, Oxycodone can lead to many serious side effects and health issues.

    Is Oxycodone An Opiate?

    An opiate is a drug that comes directly from the poppy plant. Oxycodone is classified as a semi-synthetic opioid medication so it’s not considered an opiate. Some examples of opiates include codeine and morphine.

    A semi-synthetic opioid is a drug that’s synthesized from a naturally occurring opioid. So while the drug is made in a lab, the ingredients used to make it are from natural opiates.

    Is Oxycodone A Depressant?

    Oxycodone is considered a central nervous system (CNS) depressant because it depresses or slows down functions in the body.

    It works by increasing the amount of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain which slows down activity in the CNS and, in this case, reduces pain signals.

    Oxycodone Drug Schedule

    Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This means that the drug has a high potential for abuse and can lead to dependence and addiction.

    Common Side Effects Of Oxycodone

    No matter if you’re using the drug as directed or abusing it, oxycodone comes with quite a few side effects. Some are mild while others can be more serious.

    The most common effects include:

    • dry mouth
    • stomach pain
    • drowsiness
    • headache
    • mood changes
    • constipation

    Serious Side Effects Of Oxycodone Abuse

    Oxycodone can produce a variety of serious side effects but they are less common. 

    If you’re abusing the drug, the following side effects may become an issue:

    • hallucinations
    • fever
    • constipation
    • sedation
    • fast heart rate
    • severe muscle stiffness
    • loss of coordination
    • nausea and vomiting
    • chest pain
    • seizures

    Oxycodone Overdose

    Oxycodone abuse increases the risk of an overdose. This is especially the case if you’re mixing oxycodone with other substances like alcohol or opioids like fentanyl.

    Some of the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose include:

    • extreme drowsiness
    • muscle weakness
    • cold and clammy skin
    • pinpoint pupils
    • respiratory depression
    • low blood pressure
    • slow heart rate
    • fainting
    • sedation
    • coma

    If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

    Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

    If oxycodone is abused over a long period of time, there is a good chance of building up a physical dependence on the drug. Once that occurs, and especially if you try to quit cold turkey, withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur. 

    Withdrawal symptoms can make sobriety difficult and may include:

    • irritability
    • increase in pain
    • stomach cramps
    • nausea and vomiting
    • muscle twitching
    • rapid heart rate
    • blood pressure changes
    • trouble sleeping
    • thoughts of suicide

    Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

    Treatment for oxycodone addiction likely begins with medical detox. During that process, you may be put on a tapering schedule by a healthcare provider. This means they will reduce the dose of oxycodone you take until you can stop taking it entirely without experiencing any negative withdrawal symptoms.

    Additionally, if you started taking oxycodone because of pain, they may also try to get you on another form of pain management that isn’t as addictive.

    Medication-Assisted Treatment

    Once you’re stable, the next step is typically inpatient or outpatient treatment where you’ll likely go through medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

    MAT consists of behavioral therapy and medication that treats opioid use disorder, such as methadone or buprenorphine. During therapy, you’ll learn skills to deal with your addiction and prevent relapse.

    To learn about our oxycodone addiction treatment options, please contact us today.

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

    Centre for Addiction and Mental Health - Straight Talk - Oxycodone
    National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Oxycodone
    Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

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