Oxycodone is a powerful opioid painkiller that serves as the sole or main active ingredient in widely used medications such as OxyContin, Percocet and Percodan. With or without a prescription, significant numbers of people abuse these medications in search of an oxycodone high. Unfortunately, this practice can lead to a range of serious side effects. In a worst-case scenario, it can also lead to the onset of a life-threatening overdose.
Common Side Effects of Oxycodone
Oxycodone is a medicinal opioid. It binds to receptors in the central nervous system. The receptors typically bind with the body’s own opioids such as endorphins and enkephalins. Oxycodone (and other opioids) is frequently abused. One reason is medicinal opioids can create feelings of euphoria when abused. As a person develops OxyContin dependence, the body builds a tolerance. Increasing amounts of oxycodone must be taken to produce the same effects. Next, the brain slows or even stops endorphin production. This can result in:
- Acute pain without oxycodone use
- Hearing loss
- Mood changes
- Abdominal pain
Even when you take oxycodone according to a doctor’s instructions, the medication can trigger a variety of side effects. People who take oxycodone properly long-term can also develop a form of physical dependence that can be successfully managed by a physician.
Serious Side Effects
Whether you use oxycodone properly or abuse it, some of its side effects are viewed as medically serious if they appear in any form. Specific effects that fall into this category include pain in your chest, altered or disrupted breathing, itching with or without hives, an altered heart rate, an unusually rapid heart rate, extreme sleepiness, dizziness when switching body positions, rash, changes in normal menstruation and swallowing problems. Additional serious issues include a hoarse throat, hallucinations, erectile dysfunction, appetite loss, an agitated mental state, nausea, vomiting, extreme muscle stiffness or pain, muscle twitching, convulsions or seizures, a decline in your ability to control your body movements and swelling that appears in your hands, lower extremities or any part of your face, mouth or throat. Immediate contact with a doctor or emergency medical personnel is crucial if you experience any of these side effects.
In search of an oxycodone high, some people mistakenly consume enough of the painkiller to trigger the form of body poisoning known as an overdose. If you experience an overdose, or witness someone in the midst of an overdose, you must seek immediate medical assistance to avoid the possibility of death. Specific things to look for include erratic or labored breathing, breathing that slows down or stops altogether, skin that feels clammy and cold, muscles that feel weak or won’t work at all, extreme sleepiness, pupils that grow wider or narrower than normal, unconsciousness and the unresponsive form of unconsciousness called a coma.
About Oxycodone/OxyContin Addiction
Oxycodone is a strong opiate derived from morphine. It is prescribed for pain relief. Oxycodone is produced in pharmaceutical laboratories. It comes from a formula based on naturally occurring opioid substances. It is used for medical reasons because it disrupts pain signals that travel back and forth between the brain and body. OxyContin abuse alters the brain’s chemical balance and triggers euphoric feelings. Oxycodone is also known as Oxy, Oxycotto, Oxy 80s, or Hillbilly Heroin. It can be found in many prescription painkiller medications such as:
- Percocet (with acetaminophen)
- Percodan (with aspirin)
OxyContin comes in tablet form. When the medication first appeared on the U.S. market, it was very easy to crush. Abusers of the medication took advantage. They used it to inhale or inject OxyContin and make it work much faster than intended. The makers of the medication eventually changed its composition. This made it much more difficult to break apart.
An OxyContin drug detox program may be required as part of OxyContin addiction treatment. Oxycodone has many unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These can include:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Heart palpitations
- Constant sweating
Resources U.S. National Library of Medicine – MedlinePlus: Oxycodone https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html Mayo Clinic: Oxycodone (Oral Route) – Side Effects https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/oxycodone-oral-route/side-effects/drg-20074193