Drug and Alcohol - Opioid Addiction

Oxycodone vs OxyContin: Similarities, Differences & Everything in Between

Oxycodone vs OxyContin: Similarities, Differences & Everything in Between

What's the difference between oxycodone and OxyContin? The differences are deeper than just the names. Learn more about prescription opioid abuse.

The addiction caused by prescription medication is becoming problematic day by day. Unfortunately, these numbers are rapidly growing, and there is no sign of stopping

Oxycodone and OxyContin are prescription painkillers, meaning they are both prescription medications given to patients to manage pain. They both have pain-relieving properties, and doctors prescribe them to treat and manage pain. They both belong to the drug class of opioid drugs, which means that they have addictive nature and have a strong potential to be abused by people. Opioid painkillers are infamously known for producing euphoric effects, due to which many people illicitly use them. 

By the Numbers:

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as many as 14.3 million American people have misused prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in 2021 alone. Also, the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reports more than 10 million Americans abuse opioids and nearly 50,000 people lose their lives every year due to opioid overdose.

These painkilling medications are manufactured or extracted directly from the poppy plants. Most opioid medications are regulated by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and are classified under the Schedule II of controlled substances.

Schedule II means that the drug classified under this category may have medicinal value but have a high risk of developing physical dependence. In this article, we will discuss oxycodone & OxyContin and the similarities and differences between the two.

What Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an analgesic, meaning it is a pain-relieving medication. It is a narcotic medication approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for managing acute forms of pain. In general, oxycodone is prescribed for people recovering from severe injuries, and surgery, and to treat pain from chronic diseases like cancer. As it has a very addictive nature, doctors only prescribe these when other options are exhausted or have resulted ineffective.

When it is prescribed, oxycodone dosage is often strictly limited. Doctors do not favor prescribing it for long-term use as our body can quickly get accustomed to and dependent on it. This is also given to patients with more than mild to severe pain. Oxycodone is an orally administered narcotic medication. If we talk about other medications that also serve the same purpose are morphine, codeine, and hydromorphone. Among them, the most potent oral medication is hydromorphone, while the least powerful one is codeine.

There are many brand names for oxycodone, which include:

  • OxyContin (Read more about OxyContin below)

  • Percodan (A mix of oxycodone and aspirin)

  • Percocet (A combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen)

  • Roxicet (A mix of oxycodone and acetaminophen)

  • Tylox (A combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen)

Generally, oxycodone can be found in two forms, extended-release tablets, and extended-release capsules. It can also be given in a liquid form to those patients who have difficulty swallowing the tablets. It is crucial to remember that oxycodone is a habit-forming medication that changes how our nervous system and brain respond to pain. Therefore, one should be alert to its effects in the first 24 to 72 hours of treatment.

Below are some commonly experienced oxycodone side effects.

  • Moderate side effects include dry mouth, flushing, stomach pain, mood changes, drowsiness, headache, and more

  • Some severe side effects of using oxycodone may include chest pain, irregular heartbeat, nausea, sweating, irregular menstruation, hoarseness, itching, diarrhea, rash, hives, extreme drowsiness, swelling, seizures, and more

What Is OxyContin?

OxyContin is the brand name for oxycodone. It is also an FDA-approved pain-relieving medication for patients with severe pain requiring 24 hours of relief. You may not be surprised to find out that OxyContin actually contains the same medicinal ingredients as Oxycodone. But this ingredient is only an extended-release formulation, a longer-lasting pain reliever than the immediate one.

Extended-release pills have a more prolonged effect on the pain, while immediate-release ones have a short period of effect. If we talk about the extended-release OxyContin dosage, it is generally recommended twice a day. An OxyContin pill continuously releases oxycodone for over 12 hours. 

OxyContin is also a very potent narcotic drug that is only given if the pain is moderate to severe or if other medications have proven ineffective. This drug is an opioid and should be taken until it's not prescribed to you. It should be administered in the same way it is directed by your doctor/physician. Its misuse can lead to severe and even fatal consequences if used otherwise.

Opioid addiction is one of the most lethal forms of drug abuse.

Some OxyContin side effects are:

  • A few common side effects of using OxyContin are vomiting, drowsiness, constipation, dizziness, stomach pain, headache, nausea, tiredness, and more. 

  • Some uncommon and severe side effects of using OxyContin include blue-colored lips, shallow breathing, a slow heart rate, feeling like you will pass out, confusion, loss of appetite, hallucinations, weak pulse, loss of coordination, weakness, agitation, twitching, and more. 

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What Is the Difference Between OxyContin and Oxycodone?

OxyContin is a brand name for the prescription painkiller pill that contains the extended-release form of oxycodone. There is no generic version of this medication. On the other hand, oxycodone is a generic medicine known by names like Oxaydo and Roxicodone. This narcotic drug can be found in capsule, tablet, and suspended liquid form. So, they are both similar drugs in different forms as they both belong to the opioid class of drugs.

Opioid drugs bind themselves to the brain and spinal cord receptors. This binding helps the user block the pain transmitted through the signal. These opioids help prevent the transmission of pain, because of which the user remains pain-free. But still, there are many differences between the two. For instance, OxyContin is generally prescribed and administered to those patients who need long-lasting pain relief. Here the circumstances can be a chronic disease like cancer-related pain. On the other hand, for immediate pain relief, oxycodone medication is more effective. 

Some Differences Between OxyContin and Oxycodone:

Form: If we first discuss the basic differences, OxyContin and oxycodone are available in different forms. Where oxycodone is generally available in capsule, liquid, and tablet form, OxyContin is mainly found in extended-release tablets and immediate-release pills. They may come in different forms, too, but they are mostly available in the above formation. 

Concentration

OxyContin is basically a time-release version of oxycodone, and due to this, there is a high concentration of the ingredient of oxycodone. It is quite higher than any other time-release medications in the market. 

Usage

As mentioned above, they both are analgesics and are given in severe pain, but where oxycodone is a quick-acting medication, OxyContin is a long-lasting one. This is why oxycodone is given to those patients who have severe injuries or are having surgeries. On the other hand, OxyContin breaks down slowly, spreading its effect for a longer period. So, they are given to patients who are dealing with chronic illnesses.

Abuse Potential

Both of these medications are high-risk opioids that can easily cause the development of dependence and abuse. They are narcotic drugs, and because of that, there is a huge potential for abuse. As OxyContin is available in the extended-release formation, some people crush, snort, and inject it to get high. This enables them to bypass some of the properties of time release. 

Their Form

OxyContin comes in extended-release tablets:

  • 5mg immediate release

  • 10mg

  • 20mg

  • 40mg

  • 80mg

Oxycodone, on the other hand, comes in a variety of forms:

  • Capsule

  • Tablet

  • Liquid

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What Is the Similarity Between OxyContin and Oxycodone?

Despite several differences, the fact remains that they both are the same opioid medications with different names. They are similar pharmaceutical formulations as the substance is almost the same. There are numerous similarities between oxycodone and OxyContin. OxyContin is a time-release version of oxycodone; hence, there are many similarities between the two. In fact, many doctors and medical professionals interchangeably use the name of both of them. Let's now check out some basic similarities between oxycodone and OxyContin below.

Some Similarities Between Oxycodone and OxyContin

  • Source: Both of them come from the same source of poppy plants. They go through a similar chemical process to create the medication. The substance from the plant which goes through the chemical process is called Thebaine.

  • Pain Relief Mechanism: With so many similarities, you can also guess they would work similarly. These opioid medications bind the brain's opioid receptors to work. They both prevent the pain signals and release the feel-good chemical dopamine. Not only do they help in relaxing the user, but it also generates a euphoric feeling. Unfortunately, due to these psychoactive effects, people abuse the medications. 

  • Side Effects: Oxycodone and OxyContin are both opioid medications with a high potential for abuse. This is why they both have similar sorts of side effects like headache, nausea, vomiting, face selling, rapid heartbeat, abdominal cramps, extreme drowsiness, and more. 

Oxycodone Vs. OxyContin: Treatment and Recovery

Just like other similarities, both Oxycodone and OxyContin have similar addiction treatments. If you or someone close to you are struggling with the debilitating disorder of substance use disorder, it is best to seek help from a drug rehabilitation facility. These medical facilities are made for patients struggling with alcohol and drug addiction.

Keeping medical history, health condition, and addiction symptoms in mind, they will provide comprehensive treatment. Generally, the first step in any rehab is a medical drug detox. Most patients undergo detox, in which their body is cleaned of toxic substances. Their body will get used to the absence of drugs, and there are chances that they will experience opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Never attempt to withdraw from opioids like OxyContin and oxycodone on your own. Withdrawal symptoms can be intense, and detoxing at home, with a detox kit, or by yourself is likely to be unsuccessful at best...and dangerous at worst. Always detox with professionals at a drug detox center.

After drug detox, most people enter an inpatient drug rehab or outpatient drug rehab. These facilities help people build on a successful detox, and prepare a life free from oxycodone and OxyContin abuse.

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Oxycodone vs OxyContin: Both Are Addictive Opioid Drugs. The Edge Treatment Center Will Help

With the awareness of addiction as a disease, more and more people are coming forward with their problems. Many people have been caught in the vicious cycle of addiction while trying to relieve the physical trauma they are facing. In the process of managing it, they develop addiction problems.

There are also people who abuse drugs like oxycodone and OxyContin recreationally. They do not realize that prescription medication, like any form of drug, has a highly addictive nature. Once the dosage frequency picks up, their body and brain start developing a dependency on them.

The Edge Treatment Center is a fully-accredited dual diagnosis long-term outpatient drug rehab that has an excellent team of qualified staff and experienced and certified addiction specialists. We'll help you build a life free from prescription opioid abuse, and we'll act as your team through the entire recovery process.

Want to learn more about addiction to oxycodone, OxyContin, and other opioids? Reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Opioid Addiction

March 23, 2023