Next Steps for my Oxycodone Abuse?

Oxycodone is the powerful primary ingredient in many painkillers prescribed to people suffering from moderate to severe pain. These pills come in various shapes, sizes and colors depending on the dose and brand. Oxycodone is commonly combined with acetaminophen under the name brand Percocet and is generally trademarked under the name OxyContin. Roxicodone is a rapid release formula of oxycodone. It is often given to a patient before surgery to sedate or calm them. When abused, the drug causes a very quick high in the user. People who abuse Roxicodone often crush or melt down the tablets to be smoked or injected. Oxycodone, like all opioids result in severe addiction potential due to the physical dependence that results from the opioid receptor activation in the brain. This painkiller is often prescribed for severe pain and should be used with caution due to its addictive profile. Unfortunately oxycodone, commonly referred to as oxy, is heavily abused and sold on the street and is one of the main contributors to the current trending opioid addiction in the United States. According to statistics, opioid dependence affects approximately five million individuals in the United States each year and is responsible for 17,000 deaths each year in the U.S.

Oxycodone withdrawal effects

Death can occur from opioid overdose but not withdrawal however the opioid withdrawal effects can be excruciating and is one of the main reasons why many individuals relapse. The opioid withdrawal effects are listed below:

  • Diarrhea,
  • Rhinorrhea (runny nose)
  • Diaphoresis
  • Lacrimation (tearing)
  • Shivering
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sleeplessness
  • Restlessness
  • Tremors
  • Abdominal cramping,
  • Bone pains
  • Muscle aches

Oxycodone pharmacological treatment options

Buprenorphine: An opioid partial agonist, meaning it produces effects such as euphoria or respiratory depression, however, these effects are weaker than those of full drugs such as heroin and methadone. Buprenorphine’s opioid effects increase with each dose until at moderate doses they level off, even with further dose increases. This “ceiling effect” lowers the risk of misuse, dependency, and side effects. Also, because of buprenorphine’s long-acting agent, many patients may not have to take it every day.

The FDA has approved the following buprenorphine products:

  • Bunavail (buprenorphine and naloxone) buccal film
  • Suboxone (buprenorphine and naloxone) film
  • Zubsolv (buprenorphine and naloxone) sublingual tablets
  • Buprenorphine-containing transmucosal products for opioid dependency

Methadone: Methadone is an opioid that works by changing how the brain and nervous system respond to pain. It lessens the painful symptoms of opiate withdrawal and blocks the euphoric effects of opiate drugs such as heroin, morphine, and codeine, as well as semi-synthetic opioids like oxycodone and hydrocodone. When taken as prescribed, it is safe and effective. It allows people to recover from their addiction and to reclaim active and meaningful lives. For optimal results, patients should also participate in a comprehensive medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program that includes counseling and social support.

Other Non-narcotic Options to Alleviate Pain

Pain is a very complicated mechanism in the central nervous system and can be debilitating if not treated correctly; however narcotic pain medications should not be the only option. Narcotic pain medication such as hydrocodone, oxycodone and codeine can be used for an acute time frame to treat pain such as postsurgical pain, however using narcotic prescriptions for chronic pain can become dangerous. Other mechanisms such as nerve blocks, acetaminophen (Tylenol) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDS) such a Ibuprofen or Advil are alternative non-narcotic pain medications that can be used for acute and chronic pain. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen should be used to treat pain before narcotics are prescribed. These alternative therapies should also be used for chronic pain. Anti-depressants such as selective seratonin re- uptake inhibitors (SSRI’s) such as fluoxetine and tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline are used to treat chronic pain and depression simultaneously as depression is the most common emotion associated with chronic pain. Gabapentin, commonly known as Neurontin is used to treat neuropathic pain such as in diabetes neuralgia, phantom limb syndrome or fibromyalgia. Physical therapy is another option to help alleviate pain.