Prescription painkillers and their use have been popular topics in the past few years due to the skyrocketing number of fatal overdoses and addictions. For example, since 2008, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention labeled this problem as a national epidemic because of the thousands of deaths reported every year related to the abuse of opioid painkillers.
However, the issue has escalated since that report, because many people still rely on these drugs to treat pain despite the risk of abuse or addiction. Although users may follow the prescription and avoid becoming addicted, learn a bit more about oxycodone and other painkillers to detect problems as soon as possible.
Oxycodone and the Danger of Painkiller Addiction
Oxycodone is an opioid prescribed for acute and chronic pain. This potent drug has an extended half-life in comparison to other painkillers.
In the MedlinePlus website of the National Institutes of Health, readers can find clear warnings of the greater risks of using oxycodone, especially without a physician’s direction. Breathing problems from oxycodone can be a serious side effect, because it can exacerbate other depressants, like alcohol.
Addiction is diagnosed when someone has dependence and disregards negative consequence to abuse the drug. Due to the risks of going through detox alone, medical supervision is highly recommended for the first steps of recovery.
Differences Between Oxycodone and Other Common Painkillers
In the family of prescription painkillers, most brands are based on oxycodone or hydrocodone. Other common, less potent painkillers are acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as aspirin.
Differences between these groups are well defined and important. First, acetaminophen and NSAIDs are often over-the-counter medications with affordable prices and few side effects, which makes them useful for treating pain from mild health conditions.
On the other hand, opioid painkillers are much more potent, so they present higher risks. One of the main uses of medications such as oxycodone and morphine is to help cancer patients overcome chronic pain.
The Drugs.com website offers a comprehensive list of oxycone’s side effects, including drowsiness, severe breathing problems and the recommendation to seek medical attention as soon as one of these problems appears.
Differences Between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone
Since many people are concerned about the problems related to opioid painkillers, particularly painkiller abuse, many of them want to know the differences between medicines based on oxycodone and hydrocodone. Although very similar in principle, these two drugs have the following differences:
- Oxycodone is more potent
- Hydrocodone needs to be combined with another drug, usually acetaminophen
- Hydrocodone is used for minor degrees of pain
- More people abuse oxycodone than hydrocodone
- Hydrocodone is more available and cheaper
- Withdrawal symptoms are more severe with oxycodone
Both medications have been made subject to abuse-deterrent technology in the past years, which means they are more difficult to crush, snort or inject than before, so it is harder for recreational users to abuse them.
Furthermore, in 2013, the Food ad Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of a new labeling for a new formulation of OxyContin; this modified version has physical and chemical properties that make it difficult for the drug to be injected or snorted. The FDA determined that the original OxyContin formulation would be out of the market, which would leave only the new form available.
Much research has been conducted to determine the effectiveness of both oxycodone and hydrocodone. Medical scientists have compared the two drugs to determine which provides the greater benefits. For example, in 2005, a comparison was made in patients with pain related to fractures and the efficacy of both drugs: the results were published by the US National Library of Medicine.
Addiction Help for Sufferers of Painkiller Abuse
Oxycodone addiction and abuse is a serious problem that demands attention. As mentioned, an overdose can be fatal, and an advanced stage of dependence usually means that a patient needs close medical attention to get and stay clean.
Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline anytime to ask any question related to addiction and mental health disorders. Many resources are at hand, and our admissions coordinators can help you find them, so don’t forget to ask about available intervention, Dual Diagnosis treatment, medically supervised detox, family counseling and more. Our staff will be glad to receive your call right now.