Oxycodone pain relief drug, chemical structureWhat is oxycodone? Oxycodone is an opiate analgesic for the relief of moderate to severe pain. It was developed in 1916 in a German laboratory and has a similar chemical structure to that of codeine. The drug is derived from thebaine, an opiate alkaloid.

OxyContin is the extended-release version of oxycodone and was introduced in the U.S. in 1996. Oxycodone can be administered orally, rectally, intranasally or through intravenous, intramuscular and subcutaneous injections.

Oxycodone Uses

OxyContin is available in the U.S. in dosages of 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg and 80 mg. Because of its sustained-release formula, it is usually effective for 8-12 hours. Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance. It is used in the treatment of moderate to severe pain and is available in both extended release ad immediate release tablets.

This drug is used for the continuous treatment of pain and for those whose doctors have found them to be opiate tolerant. It may be habit forming and should be taken exactly as directed. Patients should not take more of this medicine than prescribed or take it more frequently than prescribed. For those who have abused the drug, dependence may occur, and a sudden discontinuation of use may result in withdrawal syndrome.

Oxycodone Abuse

Both oxycodone and OxyContin have the potential for abuse and dependence. It’s an absolutely frightening statistic, but true. Every 19 minutes in the U.S. we lose a life to prescription drug overdose. That’s approximately 75 deaths per day, 530 per week and 27,587 per year. This statistic is three times the number it was in 1990, and eclipses the number of deaths caused by heroin and cocaine combined.

In the recent 2013 National Drug Control Strategy by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, data from 2011 showed that 2.3 million Americans used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes for the first time, with 1.9 million of them using painkillers, mostly opioids.

While this is also considered one of the most expensive drug problems to have, the statistics of people illegally abusing prescription painkillers, solidify the fact that more education and treatment options are needed to combat this rising problem.

Oxycodone Side Effects

Side effects include:

• Constipation
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Headache
• Lightheadedness
• Anxiety
• Euphoria
• Dry mouth
• Loss of appetite
• Nervousness
• Diarrhea
• Cramps and abdominal pain

In rare cases, the drug has been reported to cause impotence and enlargement of the prostate gland. In patients who aren’t tolerant to opiates, or in the case of overdose, effects can be more serious. They include shallow breathing, cold and clammy skin, hypotension, pupil constriction, circulatory collapse, respiratory arrest and death.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms and Abuse

People taking this drug should reduce their use slowly. Stopping abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms to set in quickly. The drug is a narcotic pain reliever with similar properties to that of Morphine. The physical and psychological discomfort of withdrawal is one of the main reasons people delay seeking treatment for addiction.

Symptoms of withdrawal are much the same for all narcotic pain medications. They include:

• Muscle and bone pain
• anxiety
• nausea
• Insomnia
• flu-like symptoms
• tremors and restlessness.

Oxycodone Detox

Detox can be difficult, especially in those who have used drugs for a long time, at high doses. Often it is difficult to stop using opiates without help.

In-patient and out-patient treatment centers offer a variety of therapies for addiction. Depending on the severity and length of abuse, treatment could entail detox, rehabilitation and counseling. Hospital-based Waismann Method medical treatments including rapid detox programs are available to provide supervision and medical services to make detox safe and comfortable. We are proud to offer our patients the best medicine has to offer in treating opiate dependency. The major difference between WAISMANN METHOD® treatment and other medical detoxifications is the safety, comfort, and success of our patients. Every patient has a different medical and dependency history, and we treat them as individuals with specific needs.

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