Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller, most often prescribed by doctors to alleviate moderate to severe pain. It is a very effective narcotic commonly used after surgery or to treat other extremely painful injuries. One of the main characteristics of oxycodone is its highly addictive properties.
Developed in 1916 by a group of German scientists, oxycodone was originally intended to replace heroin, which was considered at that time (and still is) dangerously addictive. In 1996, Perdue Pharma introduced OxyContin which contained a higher concentration of the drug formulated in an extended time release capsule. Touted as the 12-hour painkiller, the press release from Perdue stated, one tablet in the morning and one before bed would provide “smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night.” OxyContin immediately took off in terms of sales.
A Wide Range Of Disturbing Side Effects
While OxyContin was certainly promoted as a convenient source of pain relief, and physicians began to widely prescribe it because of its efficacy, few understood the risks with it and its high potential for addiction. And, even fewer realized the unintended consequences of addicts crushing OxyContin capsules and snorting or injecting them to obtain a euphoric, opium-based high.
Along with addiction, there are many other unwanted side effects of the drug:
- Emotional Instability
- Difficulty Concentrating
- Light Headedness
- Risk of Violence
- Difficulties Sleeping
- Mood Changes
- Memory Loss
Overcoming OxyContin Addiction
One of the other very unfortunate aspects of OxyContin addiction is the withdrawal symptoms that occur when the drug is stopped. Symptoms of withdrawal can range from nausea, diarrhea and chills to serious complications, such as heart palpitations and seizures. Symptoms of withdrawal tend to be longer with opioid painkillers like oxycodone and can actually occur for weeks and even months, depending on the length of time the individual abused the drug.
Because symptoms can be both unpredictable and serious, professional detox and rehabilitation provide the best chance for overcoming withdrawal and achieving long-term recovery. For some, medication can be beneficial for overcoming the symptoms of withdrawal. When this is combined with other treatments, including individual and group therapy, yoga, meditation and a 12-step program, the individual can work on recovery of the mind, body and spirit.
What Else Is Being Done
Because an increasing number of Americans are becoming addicted to this dangerous medication, there have been recent steps to curb the problem. In 2013, the FDA released labeling guidelines for long acting and extended release opioids that forced the manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, to state that the drug is for:
“pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment"
It is no longer recommended for moderate pain. The manufacturer also reformulated the medication to make it more difficult to crush or dissolve.
Still, the US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 11 million people in the United States consume oxycodone in a non-medical way annually. And sadly, a significant percentage of these individuals will end up in the emergency room or will die from overdose.
Get Help Now, Call Today
Because of the severity of the addiction to OxyContin and the painful side effects, the best chance for recovery is with professional treatment. Don’t wait for your addiction to get worse. Call now for immediate help, one of our specialized counselors will be there for you.