Brand names: OxyContin
OxyContin is a controlled-release form of the narcotic painkiller oxycodone. It is prescribed for moderate to severe pain when continuous, around-the-clock relief is needed for an extended period of time.
Be sure to swallow OxyContin tablets whole. If broken, crushed, or chewed, the tablets quickly release a potentially fatal overdose of oxycodone. Abusing OxyContin by chewing the tablets, snorting crushed tablets, or dissolving and injecting their contents can slow down or stop breathing and lead to death. Injecting OxyContin can also kill the tissue around the injection site and trigger heart and lung problems.
It is important to take OxyContin on a regular basis, every 12 hours, in exactly the dose prescribed. This drug is not intended for occasional "as needed" use, and should never be taken more often than directed. If you suffer episodes of increased pain, check with your doctor; do not change the dosage on your own.
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue using OxyContin.
This side effects list is not complete. If you have any questions about side effects you should consult your doctor. Report any new or continuing symptoms to your doctor right away.
Do not take OxyContin if you have asthma or any other serious breathing problem; the drug can further diminish respiration. Also avoid OxyContin if you have an intestinal blockage or an allergy to hydrocodone.
OxyContin is not intended for the relief of postoperative pain unless you've already been taking the drug or the pain is expected to last for an extended period. OxyContin is not prescribed for brief periods or for mild pain.
The two highest-strength OxyContin tablets—80 and 160 milligrams—are dangerous for anyone who has not already developed a tolerance for narcotics. If you have been prescribed one of these strengths, do not give the tablets to anyone else; they could impair respiration and lead to death.
Follow your doctor's dosage instructions carefully. Misuse of OxyContin promotes physical dependence, abuse, and addiction. When OxyContin therapy is no longer necessary, the doctor will taper your dosage gradually in order to prevent withdrawal symptoms. Abruptly discontinuing the drug can cause such symptoms as restlessness, enlarged pupils, watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, and muscle aches. More severe symptoms may include irritability, anxiety, joint pain, weakness, cramps, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, rapid breathing, and a fast pulse.
OxyContin should be used cautiously by anyone with a respiratory condition. The drug is especially prone to cause breathing problems in older adults, people in poor health, and those with disorders such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Doctors generally try to use non-narcotic painkillers for patients such as these.
OxyContin should be used with caution by people with head injuries, brain tumors, and other conditions that increase pressure on the brain. Caution is also warranted for people who are semi-conscious or in a coma, and those who suffer from acute alcoholism, adrenal or thyroid problems, spinal deformities that impair breathing, an enlarged prostate, difficulty urinating, drug-induced psychosis, pancreatitis and related disorders, or severe kidney or liver disease.
OxyContin has been known to trigger seizures or make them worse. Use it with caution if you have a seizure disorder
Like other narcotic painkillers, OxyContin can slow your reactions and make you drowsy. Do not drive, operate dangerous machinery, or undertake other hazardous activities until you know how the drug affects you.
OxyContin can cause a severe drop in blood pressure, leading to dizziness and light-headedness, especially when you first stand up.
The empty shell of the OxyContin tablet sometimes appears in the stool. This is not a reason for concern.
OxyContin is not for use in children.
While using OxyContin, check with your doctor before taking any other drugs that slow the nervous system. The combined effect can impair breathing, reduce blood pressure, and lead to coma. Drugs in this category include the following:Antipsychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine, prochlorperazine, thioridazine, and trifluoperazineMuscle relaxants such as cyclobenzaprine, metaxalone, and methocarbamolNarcotic painkillers such as meperidine, hydrocodone, and oxycodoneSleep aids such as triazolam, zaleplon, and zolpidemSleep-inducing antihistamines such as diphenhydramine and promethazine.Tranquilizers such as alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide, diazepam, and lorazepamAlcoholic beverages
If you are already taking such drugs, your starting dose of OxyContin will be reduced by at least half.
Certain other painkillers can reduce OxyContin's effect, or even cause withdrawal symptoms. Caution is necessary when combining OxyContin with drugs such as the following:ButorphanolNalbuphinePentazocine
OxyContin should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed. If you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, inform your doctor immediately.
OxyContin makes its way into breast milk. Nursing is not recommended if you are taking Oxycodone hydrochloride.
OxyContin is taken every 12 hours. The tablets come in strengths of 10, 20, 40, 80, and 160 milligrams. The starting dose of OxyContin is determined by your physical condition, the type of painkillers you've been taking, and your tolerance for narcotics. The doctor will adjust the dose until you have little or no pain when OxyContin is supplemented with no more than 2 doses of a second painkiller. The dose of OxyContin can be increased every 1 or 2 days. If a higher dose has excessive side effects, the doctor will adjust it downward and increase the dosage of supplemental painkillers.
An overdose of OxyContin can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, seek emergency treatment immediately.