OxyContin (generic name oxycodone) is a narcotic pain reliever for moderate to severe pain and is known to be habit-forming. For this reason, the Schedule II controlled substance 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.
The drug was first released in the U.S. in 1996 and was prescribed 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
OxyContin should not be used with alcohol, as it could result in dangerous side effects or death. Patients are advised not to take a higher dose of this drug than what is prescribed by a doctor. The opiate should never be shared or used without a prescription, and caution should be used when driving or performing other tasks that require alertness.
The powerful opiate may be harmful to fetuses and can cause addiction and powerful withdrawal symptoms in newborn babies. Because this drug can be passed through breast milk, women should talk to their doctors about alternatives before breast-feeding.
OxyContin Side Effects
For those who’ve taken more than the prescribed dosage or who don’t tolerate opiates, side effects 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 and is sold and traded 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. OxyContin can be obtained illegally 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. Detox from the opiate should be medically supervised and in some cases, requires in-patient treatment.