OxyContin (generic name oxycodone) is a narcotic pain reliever for moderate to severe pain that is known to be habit-forming. Therefore, the DEA considers this drug a Schedule II controlled substance which should be used with extreme care.
Similar to morphine, OxyContin is thought to stimulate opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. This drug is available in the U.S. in 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg and 80 mg. The sustained-release formula in OxyContin is effective for 8-12 hours.
OxyContin was first released in the U.S. in 1996 and physicians prescribed it most often to treat pain associated with cancer. People should not use OxyContin if they have had allergic reactions to narcotics including Percocet, Lortab, Vicodin and Methadone.
Warnings and Recalls
Concurrently using OxyContin and alcohol could result in dangerous side effects or death. Doctors advise patients not to take higher than prescribed dosages. Do not share or use this opiate without a prescription. In addition, people using this medication should be caution when driving or performing other tasks that require alertness.
The powerful opiate may be harmful to fetuses. Furthermore, it can cause addiction and powerful withdrawal symptoms in newborn babies. Women should talk to their doctors about alternatives before breast-feeding because this drug can pass through breast milk.
OxyContin Side Effects
Those who’ve taken more than the prescribed dosage or who don’t tolerate opiates may experience side effects. These can include clammy skin, shallow breathing, respiratory arrest, circulatory collapse or death.
Side effects with the prescribed dosage can include:
Impaired thinking or reactions
- Dry mouth
- Loss of appetite
- Nervousness or anxiety
- Abdominal pain
Patients are likely to experience unpleasant side effects and/or powerful withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking this drug suddenly. Side effects could be:
- Intense Anxiety
- Muscle Pain
- Flu-Like Symptoms.
OxyContin, sometimes referred to as “hillbilly heroin,” has a high potential for abuse. Often, people sell and trade this drug illegally on the street. The high street value directly relates to the increase thefts from individuals and pharmacies.
The illegal distribution of the opium-derived drug is big business around the world. Some users illegally obtain OxyContin through “doctor shopping,” robbery, falsified prescriptions, through the diversion of pharmacy employees or improper prescribing practices of doctors.
OxyContin is one of the most highly abused prescription drugs. Professionals should medically supervise patients as they detox from opiates. In some cases, patients are best treated at an inpatient level of care.