Is There A Difference Between OxyContin and Oxycodone?

Some experiences of pain are too acute and intense to effectively manage with over-the-counter pain medication. This is often the case for those who are recovering from surgery, who struggle with chronic severe pain and who need time to recover from an injury. 

This is when strong pain medications like opioids are most often prescribed. In the absence of any other solution for the pain, medical doctors frequently reach for opioids to help. However, this practice has seen a large amount of negative results, as opioids like oxycodone and OxyContin are highly addictive and can cause significant harm. 

What is oxycodone?

Oxycodone falls into a category of drugs known as opiate (narcotic) analgesics which change the way the brain and body respond to pain. It produces pain relief, respiratory depression and sedation, as well as pleasure, euphoria and relaxation as a result of the dopamine release these drugs elicit. 

Oxycodone immediate-release tablets, capsules, and oral solution are used to relieve severe, acute pain (pain that begins suddenly, has a specific cause, and is expected to go away when the cause of the pain is healed) in people who are expected to need an opioid pain medication and who cannot be treated with other pain medications. Oxycodone extended-release tablets and extended-release capsules are used to relieve severe pain in people who are expected to need pain medication around the clock for a long time and who cannot be treated with other medications.” 

Oxycodone interacts directly with the central nervous system (CNS) to help alleviate pain sensations. However, it should not be used on an as-needed basis – these medications are strong and potentially addictive, so oxycodone is best used for short-term management of acute pain or long-term in low doses for severe chronic pain.

All opioid prescriptions are best monitored under the close observation and guidance of a medical doctor who is well-versed in the side effects of opioid medications. 

Is there a difference between OxyContin and oxycodone? 

According to the American Addiction Centers: “Oxycodone is an opiate agonist that is the active ingredient in several narcotic pain medications, including Percocet, Percodan, and OxyContin. OxyContin is a specific brand name for a pain medication in the opioid class (narcotic drugs) that contains the extended-release version of oxycodone.” 

In other words, the main difference between the two is that oxycodone is the ingredient, and OxyContin is the brand name of the extended-release version (oxycodone itself comes in various forms, including tablets and capsules that are not extended-release). 

Because of their similar formulation, these drugs have similar side effects patients should be aware of, including: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation and other GI discomfort
  • Lacking strength
  • Feeling increasingly relaxed or calm
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in weight

A medical doctor should only take these medications as instructed to properly manage side effects. Proper adherence to medication instructions also can significantly reduce the risk of addiction and physical dependence. 

How addictive are OxyContin and oxycodone?

Oxycodone, according to the Mayo Clinic, can become habit-forming over time, and mental and physical dependence have been noted as a potential side effect of taking this drug long-term. 

While it is true that addiction is not likely to occur if oxycodone is taken as instructed purely for the management of pain, “[p]hysical dependence may lead to withdrawal side effects if treatment is stopped suddenly. However, severe withdrawal side effects can usually be prevented by gradually reducing the dose over some time before treatment is stopped completely.”

In regards to OxyContin, “Because OxyContin is a time-release form of oxycodone and generally contains higher concentrations of oxycodone than drugs that are not time-release versions, individuals who use the drug in manners inconsistent with its intended use, such as grinding it up and snorting it, mixing it in liquid and injecting it, or using extremely high amounts of the drug, may experience more enhanced effects than individuals who abuse other drugs with oxycodone in them, such as Percocet, even if these drugs are used similarly.”

Individuals who abuse either substance are more likely to become addicted to them than individuals who use these medications as prescribed; this is due to the more rapid transmission of the drug in the body and the more frequent experience of pleasurable dopamine releases than is often possible when adhering to the medication’s label. 

Looking to begin addiction treatment?

Struggling with drug addiction is incredibly challenging, and may take a long time to fully recover from if the proper treatment and support system is lacking. To best benefit your addiction recovery and find healing and wellness, contact Bluff Augusta.

With a highly accredited staff, multiple levels of care provided and personalized treatment plans offered, you will feel supported and sustained in your recovery journey. 

Contact Bluff August by calling 844-242-0806 to learn more.