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Oxycodone Overdose Symptoms and Treatment

Oxycodone is a prescription opioid used to relieve moderate to severe acute pain associated with post-surgical procedures as well as trauma-related pain. It is also prescribed for chronic pain in certain circumstances as well as cancer-related pain.1 Brand names for oxycodone include OxyContin, Percocet, Percodan (combined with aspirin), and Roxicet (combined with acetaminophen).2,3 Oxycodone is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act, which means it has a high potential for misuse, which could potentially lead to dependence, addiction, and overdose.4

This page covers signs of oxycodone overdose, treatment for overdose, treatment for oxycodone addiction, and how to locate a rehab facility.

Oxycodone Misuse

Though oxycodone is a prescription medication, it is an opioid that causes euphoria, or a “high,” and these effects are why it has a high potential for misuse.4 Opioids like oxycodone may be misused when people take it in a way/dose that differs from how it was prescribed, take someone else’s prescription, or take the medication for the resulting effect (namely, the euphoric feelings).3

 Individuals may misuse oxycodone by swallowing it, grinding up tablets and injecting them, or snorting the powder.

Misuse over time can lead to tolerance, which means that the body becomes accustomed to the presence of oxycodone and no longer feels the same effects and therefore requires a high dose or more frequent dose.3 As an individual’s tolerance increases, so does their risk for overdose due to the increase in the amounts of opioid consumed.6

Using oxycodone, and other opioids, can come with a variety of short-term side effects like drowsiness, nausea, or constipation, but misuse adds additional or increased risks, including contracting infectious diseases (if injecting using shared needles), addiction, and an increased risk of overdose, which can be fatal.5

Oxycodone Overdose

Can you overdose on oxycodone? The short answer is yes. Opioid overdose occurs when there are too many opioids or a combination of opioids and other substances in the body that the individual becomes unresponsive to stimuli and has problems breathing. Factors that increase the risk of oxycodone overdose may include:7,8

  • Taking oxycodone with alcohol or other substances and medications (especially those that cause drowsiness).
  • Misusing other substances.
  • Taking oxycodone in doses larger than what was prescribed.
  • Taking oxycodone over an extended period.
  • Having underlying respiratory conditions, wasting syndrome, or debilitation.

Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Overdose

Oxycodone overdose is serious and could be fatal. In 2021, about 1 in 5 opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid.1 Therefore, it is important to know the signs and symptoms of oxycodone of overdose so that appropriate action can be taken.

Some of the oxycodone overdose symptoms and signs include:2,3

  • Cold, blue, or clammy skin.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Shallow or stopped breathing.
  • Slowed or stopped heart rate.
  • Confusion.
  • Unconsciousness.
  • Pinpoint pupils.

Individuals who overdose on opioids, including oxycodone, often experience slowed or stopped breathing, which decreases the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. This decrease in oxygen could potentially lead to coma, permanent brain damage, or even death.3

Oxycodone Overdose Treatment

Oxycodone overdose is a medical emergency, and a person experiencing it needs immediate oxycodone overdose treatment.9 Opioid overdose is treatable and reversible if a person  receives quick administration of naloxone, (Narcan is the brand name for the intranasal form), as well as basic life support.10,11

Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal medication that is available by prescription and over the counter.10 The medication is an opioid antagonist, which means it binds to opioid receptors and blocks or reverses the effects of opioids, including oxycodone.10 While naloxone can block opioid effects and potentially help a person resume breathing, it only remains effective for a limited amount of time, so emergency medical attention is critical, in addition to the administration of naloxone.5,10

These steps are recommended if someone is showing oxycodone overdose signs:9,11

  • Call 911 immediately.
  • Administer naloxone if it is available.
  • Begin CPR if the person has stopped breathing.

Oxycodone Addiction Treatment

For those who have misused oxycodone, treatment is often necessary for them to begin their work toward recovery.

Physical dependence is a risk factor for withdrawal. When an individual becomes physically dependent on opioids, their body becomes so used to the substance that it believes it needs it to function. If the individual stops taking opioids or significantly cuts back the dosage, then they are risk of withdrawal. Although withdrawal symptoms are not usually lethal for opioids, symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and cause individuals to continue to use oxycodone in order to alleviate their uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which puts them at risk for overdose. 3 For those who are seeking help, the first step in treatment is often medical detox.3,12

Medical detox involves administering medications to help curb or alleviate withdrawal symptoms in a safe and comfortable environment.12 It is important to note that medical detox is meant to manage acute withdrawal symptoms and does not address underlying triggers associated with addiction. Once an individual undergoes detox, they most likely enter a formal addiction treatment program.

After detox, people may choose to take another step in their recovery through continued treatment. The level of treatment is determined by a healthcare professional who assesses the person based on factors such as their health history, support structure, substance use history, emotional and mental health, and readiness for change.14

Treatment centers may offer different levels of care depending on a person’s needs. These include:12-15

  • Inpatient drug and alcohol: This level of care may be a fit for someone with severe opioid use disorder (OUD). While available services can differ between facilities, inpatient treatment generally involves psychotherapy and medication by a multidisciplinary team of providers such as therapists, social workers, general practitioners, and psychiatrists, all while the individual lives at the facility.
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP): IOPs are available for those who need inpatient services but need to live at home to fulfill work or school responsibilities. An IOP usually involves attending the facility for 9 or more hours per week.
  • Outpatient addiction treatment: This is a fit for someone who is medically stable and not in need of acute care and who can travel for weekly sessions with a therapist so that they can receive treatment while living at home.
  • Rehab aftercare: Aftercare involves receiving services to sustain the progress made in treatment. This might involve continuing to meet with a therapist on an outpatient basis, residing in a sober living environment, or attending a 12-Step program like Narcotics Anonymous.

Oxycodone Opioid Addiction Treatment Near Me

It can be overwhelming and scary if you or a loved one is dealing with oxycodone misuse or addiction. Know that treatment is available. The AAC directories tool can help you find an opioid rehab treatment center. Simply enter a keyword, city, state, or zip code into the search field and then select from the suggested locations the one that is closest to you. You will be presented with a list of possible treatment centers. To the left of the list, you can further specify your search by age range, type of care, and payment option.

Using insurance for rehab is an option, and we have an insurance verification tool that you can use to confirm if your plan covers addiction treatment and if it is in network with AAC.

It is never too late to seek treatment for oxycodone. Call us at to speak to one of our caring and professional admissions navigators who is available 24/7 to provide the information and support you need.

Your health insurance provider may be able to cover all or part of the cost of rehab for oxycodone. Use the form below to find out instantly.

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