What is Oxycodone

What is Oxycodone? Dosage, Side Effects, Abuse, & Treatment Options

What is Oxycodone Used For? 

What is Oxycodone? Oxycodone is an opioid agonist prescription medication. A doctor will prescribe these drugs if there are no alternative treatment options that will work to treat moderate to severe pain [1]. It is part of a group of drugs known as opioids. Opioids include any drug that acts on opioid receptors in the brain and any natural or synthetic drugs derived from, or related to, the opium poppy. It is synthesized from thebaine, a constituent of the poppy plant [2].

Oxycodone is marketed alone as OxyContin in 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg extended-release tablets and other immediate-release capsules like 5 mg OxyIR. It is often used in combination with other drugs (Acetaminophen) such as Percocet and Roxicet. Common street names include Hillbilly Heroin, Kicker, OC, Ox, Roxy, Perc, and Oxy.

Oxycodone is abused orally or intravenously. The tablets are crushed and sniffed or dissolved in water and injected. Others heat a tablet that has been placed on a piece of foil and then inhale the vapors. Oxycodone products are in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act, meaning they had medical use and a high potential for addiction. Euphoria and feelings of relaxation are the most common effects of oxycodone on the brain, which explains its high potential for Oxycodone abuse.

What is Oxycodone
Just because a doctor prescribes a pill doesn’t mean that it’s safe for everyone. 

What Is Oxycodone used for? Oxycodone is most commonly used for things such as post-surgery recovery, broken bones, consistent pain, and cancer-related pain due to its powerful ability to relieve pain. It is usually prescribed by physicians in tablet form to be taken orally. To prevent OxyContin tablets from being injected by individuals who misuse them, they were reformulated in 2014. The tablets are now resistant to crushing and become a thick gel when added to water. They also have controlled release properties, even as a gel.

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Oxycodone Dosage 

Oxycodone comes as a solution (liquid), a concentrated solution, a tablet, a capsule, an extended-release (long-acting) tablet (Oxycontin), and an extended-release capsule (Xtampza ER) to take by mouth. The solution, concentrated solution, tablet, and capsule are taken usually with or without food every 4 to 6 hours, either as needed for pain or as regularly scheduled medications. The extended-release tablets (Oxycontin) are taken every 12 hours with or without food. The extended-release capsules (Xtampza ER) are taken every 12 hours with food; eat the same amount of food with each dose. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take oxycodone exactly as directed.

Oxycodone Side Effects 

Oxycodone prescriptions are common, which has resulted in many cases of Oxycodone addiction and the illegal distribution of the substance. Health problems, addiction, and overdose relating to opioids such as Oxycodone have been on the rise in the US for more than a decade, coinciding with the increased number of prescriptions for these kinds of drugs.

Short-Term Effects

There are many side effects associated with Oxycodone use in the short-term. According to the National Institute of Health, users may experience the following symptoms:

  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Increased drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Changes in mood

These are some of the less severe Oxycodone side effects that users can experience even if they are not abusing the drug. If they persist or worsen, it is recommended that a patient alert their doctor to the symptoms. Open communication with a physician is extremely important when dealing with a strong opioid like oxycodone.

Long-Term Effects

Long-term use of oxycodone can result in the development of physical dependence on the drug. The level of physical addiction can be extreme, as is the case with most opioids. Oxycodone has been known to be very addictive, and even proper use can lead to abuse, according to the FDA.

In cases of Oxycodone abuse, this drug becomes an extremely dangerous drug that can lead to overdose. An overdose occurs when too much of the drug is consumed, usually involving a long-acting or extended-release form of the substance. Each of the following symptoms could be a sign that oxycodone overdose has occurred:

  • Breathing troubles
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Losing consciousness

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How long does oxycodone stay in your system? 

Your body breaks down oxycodone in the liver into noroxycodone, oxymorphone, and noroxymorphone. These are then excreted by the kidneys into the urine. The half-life of oxycodone, which refers to the amount of time it takes half the drug to be effectively eliminated from your body, is about 3.2 hours; the half-life for the time-released version (OxyContin) is about 4.5 hours.

Oxycodone’s action is effectively eliminated from the blood in 22.5 hours. For most people, the effects of the drug will be completely worn off after 24 hours. However, the drug remains detectable in the body for much longer, even after its effects have worn off.

What is Oxycodone
Oxycodone can increase the effects of alcohol and may cause harm.

Oxycodone will be detected by typical employment, medical, and forensic “drugs of abuse” screening tests. With a home testing kit, someone who has taken oxycodone will start to test positive for the drug within one to three hours, and the result will continue to be positive for one to two days, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The following is an estimated range of times, or detection windows, during which oxycodone can be detected by various testing methods.

Urine – Oxycodone is detectable in a urine test for three to four days after the last dose. A standard urine drug screen usually does not test for oxycodone, so additional tests must be used to detect the presence of the drug. 

Blood – In blood tests, the drug is detectable for up to 24 hours.

Saliva – Oxycodone can also be detected by a saliva test one to four days after use.

Hair – The drug can be detected by a hair follicle test for a much longer period of time than other test types—up to 90 days.

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Oxycodone Abuse 

Oxycodone abuse can quickly lead to addiction. There is a host of physical, psychological, and behavioral signs and symptoms of oxycodone addiction, such as:

  • Itching
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Hallucinations
  • Abnormal thoughts
  • Dilated pupils (during withdrawal)
  • Diarrhea (during withdrawal)
  • Poor grooming or lack of hygiene
  • Becoming secretive about one’s whereabouts
  • Being in possession of multiple prescription bottles from different doctors and pharmacies
  • Drugged driving


It’s tempting to dismiss oxycodone addiction as a personal choice, perhaps even a moral failing. After all, addiction causes a host of severe problems. But for addicts, it’s the cravings that keep them coming back for more.


Your body reacts to mind-altering substances by subtly changing the way you react to them, steadily reducing the intensity of the high you experience. Most users react to tolerance by steadily upping their dose, exposing them to the dangers of an accidental overdose, not to mention chemical dependency.


Dependency is the process whereby your body becomes physically dependent on oxycodone. When you attempt to stop using, you may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as your body does everything in its power to get you to use. Because oxycodone is an opiate, the chemical dependency it can cause is unusually intense.


Withdrawal is an intense physical and psychological experience that makes it nearly impossible to focus on anything else. Withdrawal is more than just a drug craving. It’s an intense physical and psychological experience that makes it nearly impossible to focus on anything else. Oxycodone and, indeed, most opiate withdrawal can consist of symptoms such as:

  • Intense body aches and pains.
  • Gastrointestinal distress.

The uncomfortable symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal are what keep many users hooked, even in the face of painful Oxycodone addiction related consequences.

What is the difference between oxycodone and hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are both pain relievers. They block your body’s pain signals. They’re very similar, but there are some differences in side effects. Both are a type of painkiller called an opioid, which can be addiction-forming. Opioids come from the poppy plant, but there are human-made versions, too.

When comparing which medication is best for managing pain, research shows oxycodone and hydrocodone are both effective at easing similar levels of chronic pain. There are very few differences between the effects of these two medications. However, one study notes that individuals taking hydrocodone are more likely to become constipated, compared to those taking oxycodone.

While there are some differences between oxycodone and hydrocodone, the use and addiction to either medication can result in long-term health consequences. It is vital to seek professional help to stop abusing these opioid drugs, as the results can be potentially fatal.

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Prescription Drug Abuse Treatment NJ 

There is a strong link between mental health and prescription drug abuse. Individuals who struggle with mood disorders like depression and anxiety are more susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, often to self-medicate symptoms of their underlying mental health condition. These co-occurring disorders can make each other worse without proper treatment.

To determine the most effective ways to treat polysubstance, it’s crucial to first get an accurate assessment of all the symptoms. When the symptoms have been evaluated by a mental health professional, it may be determined that another form of mental condition is present and needs a particular type of treatment. Very often, some combination of psychotherapy, medication, and/or lifestyle changes are effective for coping with functional.

Detox Treatment in New Jersey Rehab Center

The first step in treatment is detoxification. It will help you navigate the complicated withdrawal process, but it doesn’t address patterns of thought and behavior that contribute to drug abuse. Various treatment approaches and settings can help provide the ongoing support necessary to maintain long-term sobriety after you complete detox.

Cravings are very common during detox and can be challenging to overcome. This often leads to relapse. Constant medical care provided during inpatient treatment helps prevent relapse. Clinicians can provide necessary medication and medical expertise to lessen cravings and the effects of withdrawals.


Several different modalities of psychotherapy have been used in the treatment of depression, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – is an effective treatment that involves making changes in both the patterns of negative thoughts and the behavioral routines which are affecting the daily life of the depressed person for various forms of depression. 
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy – is a comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment program whose ultimate goal is to aid patients in their efforts to build a life worth living. The main goal of DBT is to help a person develop what is referred to as a “clear mind.” 
  • Person-Centered Therapy – is a strategy that allows and encourages clients to understand and resolve their concerns in a safe, supportive environment.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers New Jersey

Substance abuse and mental health disorders often co-occur. In many cases, traumatic experiences can result in a mental health disorder and substance abuse. Dual diagnosis programs in New Jersey treat both of these issues together. The best approach for the treatment of dual diagnosis is an integrated system. In this strategy, both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Regardless of which diagnosis (mental health or substance abuse problem) came first, long-term recovery will depend largely on the treatment for both disorders done by the same team or provider.

Medication-Assisted Treatments

Medication-Assisted Treatments (MAT) for substance use disorders and mental health disorders are commonly used in conjunction with one another. This includes the use of medications and other medical procedures. During your rehab, the staff from your treatment facility will help you identify what caused your addiction and teach you skills that will help you change your behavior patterns and challenge the negative thoughts that led to your addiction. Sometimes, the pressures and problems in your life lead you to rely on substances to help you forget about them momentarily.

Now that we’ve answered the question “what is oxycodone” and learned about its addictive properties and the risks that come along with its abuse. It is important to reach out for professional help if you or a loved one are struggling with long-term Oxycodone side effects and addiction. Contact one of our helpful treatment specialists today. We Level Up rehab center in New Jersey can provide information on dual diagnosis and detox programs that may fit your specific needs.

What is Oxycodone
The role of a good medically monitored detox program is to make sure the client is safe while going through withdrawal.

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[1] NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482226/

[2] DEA – https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Oxycodone-2020_0.pdf