Oxycodone and hydrocodone are both effective prescription pain relievers, and when combined with antihistamines, hydrocodone can also be a cough suppressant. On a molecular level, they’re nearly identical, with oxycodone having one extra oxygen atom. In one study, researchers found both drugs were equally capable of treating acute pain caused by a fracture. They work by binding to pain receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which block pain signals. If your doctor has prescribed you oxycodone or hydrocodone, what should you know?
Side Effects of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone
As you might expect, these drugs have similar side effects, which include lethargy, dry mouth, shallow breathing, itchiness and impaired motor skills. Oxycodone is more likely to cause dizziness and drowsiness, with fatigue and headaches. Meanwhile, hydrocodone may lead to constipation and stomach pain.
Less common side effects of these two medications include seizures, an elevated heart rate, disorientation and lightheadedness.
Is Oxycodone an Opiate?
Oxycodone is a Schedule II drug – a government classification indicating its medical use and potential for abuse. Other drugs on Schedule II include methamphetamine, cocaine and fentanyl.
Oxycodone and its extended-release brand-name version, OxyContin, are opioids. While they relieve pain, they also induce intensely euphoric, pleasurable feelings that make them addictive. Even patients who are careful about using oxycodone under a doctor’s strict supervision can be at risk of substance misuse.
Red Flags of Oxycodone Abuse
How can you tell if you are abusing oxycodone? People struggling with opioid use disorder may not display symptoms right away. However, you can look for some behavioral changes signifying that opioid use has progressed into an addiction.
- Continuing to take the drug, despite its adverse effects on your life
- Experiencing intense cravings for oxycodone when you are sober
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Weight loss
- Frequent flu-like symptoms
- Low libido
- Lack of hygiene
- Loss of interest in previously beloved hobbies
- Secrecy and isolation
- A willingness to lie or steal to get more oxycodone
- Financial difficulties stemming from substance abuse
Managing Pain Without Opioids
If you live with chronic pain, you can find relief without using oxycodone or other opioid drugs. Consider these alternative approaches that won’t increase your risk of developing a substance use disorder.
- Physical therapy: Drugs dull the pain, but they don’t address its root cause. Working with a physical therapist can help you learn specific exercises and stretches to relax tight muscles and restore your full range of motion.
- Acupuncture: Many people have found long-lasting pain relief with time-tested acupuncture techniques. By gently inserting small, fine needles into strategic spots, an acupuncturist can stimulate nerves to override your pain response.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT is a therapeutic approach that can teach you to improve your behavior by recognizing and responding to negative thoughts. A counselor who specializes in this technique will help you develop healthier strategies for responding to and coping with pain.
- Massage: Massage therapy is an ideal complement to any holistic wellness strategy. Professional massage therapists can help you relax tense muscles, improve your circulation and flush toxins out of your body.
Women’s-Only Opioid Addiction Treatment
For more information about Canyon Crossing’s extended care addiction program for women in Prescott, Arizona, please reach out to us today. We understand overcoming the disease of addiction can feel like an insurmountable challenge, but we are here to ensure you do not have to embark on your recovery journey alone.