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Oxycodone Addiction and Treatment

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid medication that is used for moderate to severe pain relief.1 Even though oxycodone can treat certain types of pain, it is a schedule II substance with a high potential for misuse and addiction.1,2

This page will provide information about oxycodone, including:

  • What it is.
  • Its effects.
  • Overdose symptoms and treatment.
  • Withdrawal symptoms.
  • How to find oxycodone treatment near you.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid drug and the primary active ingredient in various prescription brand name painkillers.1 Opioids like oxycodone inhibit the transmission of pain signals by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord to help manage acute or chronic moderate to severe pain.3

Meant to help manage acute or chronic moderate to moderately severe pain, Oxycodone can be prescribed in several forms, including:1

  • Controlled release.
  • Immediate release.
  • In combination with other drugs like aspirin or acetaminophen.

Some common street names for oxycodone include:4

  • Hillbilly heroin.
  • Kicker.
  • OC.
  • OX.
  • Perc.
  • Oxy.

Oxycodone Effects

Any oxycodone use, even when used as prescribed, involves the chance for oxycodone side effects. Potential adverse effects from oxycodone use may include:1,4

  • Sedation.
  • Constipation.
  • Pupillary constriction.
  • Liver damage (if medication includes acetaminophen).
  • Respiratory depression.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Nausea.
  • Confusion.

Oxycodone use can cause a person’s breathing to slow down (respiratory depression), which can result in hypoxia, where there is a lack of oxygen reaching the brain. This can lead to effects that may include coma, permanent brain damage, or even death.5

Is Oxycodone Addictive?

Yes, misuse of prescription opioids, including oxycodone, can result in an opioid use disorder (OUD), also known as addiction.

As a schedule II substance, oxycodone has a high potential for abuse and could potentially lead to psychological or physical dependence.2,5 Dependence results when an individual’s body adapts to a drug so that they feel like they need the drug to feel and behave normally.

When an individual who is physically dependent on oxycodone reduces their use or eliminates this drug, they become at risk for withdrawal. Although opioid withdrawal is not life-threatening, it can result in moderate to severe discomfort and individuals may continue to use oxycodone or other more dangerous opioids, such as heroin, to relieve these uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. This can increase the risk of opioid overdose. Dependence and addiction do not always go hand-in-hand, but dependence may be a part of addiction.3

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:5,6

  • Muscle and bone pain.
  • Sleep disturbance.
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Cold flashes and goosebumps.
  • Anxiety.
  • Muscle spasms.
  • Increased respiratory rate.
  • Tachycardia.
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure).
  • Hyperthermia (high body temperature).

These symptoms can be uncomfortable or challenging to manage so individuals may benefit from medical support through a detox program to help them stop oxycodone use safely.

Oxycodone Overdose

An opioid overdose occurs when someone takes too many opioids or a combination of opioids and other substances that overwhelm the body.5 An opioid overdose can lead to significant respiratory depression, resulting in slow and ineffective breathing which can lead to unconsciousness, coma, or death.7

Recognizing the signs of an oxycodone overdose may help you save your loved one’s life.

Oxycodone Overdose Symptoms

Oxycodone overdose symptoms may include:1,4

  • Pinpoint pupils.
  • Cold and clammy skin.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Lowered blood pressure and heart rate.
  • Shallow or stopped breathing.
  • Death.

Oxycodone Overdose Treatment

If you suspect a loved one is experiencing an oxycodone overdose, you should call 911 immediately.

As with any opioid overdose, if your loved one is overdosing on oxycodone, naloxone should be administered if it is available. Naloxone is a medicine that can reverse the symptoms of opioid overdose and may restore one’s breathing.5 However, medical treatment is still vital as naloxone effects may only last temporarily.

In addition to administering naloxone, you may also need to perform CPR. The 9-1-1 operator may have you assess the person’s pulse and breathing. Follow the dispatcher’s directions for performing CPR or any other medical care while waiting for emergency medical services to arrive.

Take Our “Am I Addicted to Oxycodone?” Self-Assessment

Take our free, 5-minute “Am I Addicted to Oxycodone” self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with oxycodone addiction. The evaluation consists of yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder.

Substance use disorders should be diagnosed by professionals using these diagnostic criteria after thorough patient assessment. This self-assessment is free and confidential and may serve as an indicator of a potential addiction but should not replace a diagnosis from a professional treatment provider.

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

While it is rarely an immediate medical danger, opioid withdrawal may be uncomfortable and distressing so medically supervised detox may be necessary.6 Managing opioid withdrawal symptoms during medical detox can help a patient be more comfortable.

Some withdrawal management may include medications to decrease uncomfortable opioid withdrawal symptoms.8 Opioid withdrawal medications include:5-8

  • Buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist medication that can help manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.
  • Methadone, a long-acting full opioid agonist that, like buprenorphine, can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and control cravings.
  • Clonidine, a non-opioid medication that may be used to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms.
  • Lofexidine, another nonopioid medication used to reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.

After medical detox, a patient may move to another level of care to continue treatment. Some levels of care typically offered for opioid use disorder include:6,9

  • Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment offers around-the-clock care for people with substance use disorders. There are options, such as long-term or short-term residential treatment, as well as differing levels of intensity for inpatient treatment.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): IOP is similar to outpatient programs in the services provided but takes places much more often throughout the week.
  • Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment allows the patient to live at home and keep their everyday responsibilities while receiving services such therapy and substance misuse education at a treatment facility.
  • Aftercare: Aftercare is the continuing care someone receives after completing substance use treatment, such as case management or 12-Step groups to help prevent relapse.

Oxycodone Opioid Addiction Treatment Near Me

You can find oxycodone addiction treatment in just a few simple steps. Our treatment directories tool allows you to search for the type of treatment that is best suited for your needs. From there, you can research the various oxycodone addiction treatment facilities.

If you plan on using insurance for rehab, you can also use the tool to search facilities that accept your insurance.

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