Oxycodone Opioid Use for Pain Management

Oxycodone is an opioid painkiller, otherwise known as a narcotic painkiller. It is used to treat moderate to severe forms of both acute and chronic pain. Oxycodone works by changing the brain’s perception of pain thus providing relief.

Oxycodone may be used for short-term or long-term control of pain (such as back pain or severe headaches), depending on how it is formulated. Oxycodone is available in tablet, capsule and liquid forms.

Close up of white pills on a white background
GIPhotoStock / Getty Images

Other Names for Oxycodone

Oxycodone is the generic term for the drug on its own; however, oxycodone also may be combined with other drugs. These other drugs that oxycodone can be combined with include NSAIDs, acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Oxycodone may also be called:

  • OxyContin, a longer-acting form of Oxycodone
  • OxyIR
  • Roxicodone
  • Oxydose

Oxycodone and acetaminophen together are known as the following:

  • Endocet
  • Percocet
  • Roxicet
  • Tylox

Oxycodone and aspirin together are known as the following:

  • Endodan
  • Percodan
  • Roxiprin

Oxycodone combined with ibuprofen is known as Combunox.

Oxycodone Adverse Effects

Oxycodone controls pain pretty effectively. However, because oxycodone is a powerful painkiller, it also has some potential adverse effects. These adverse effects include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness and/or drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Mood changes
  • Headaches
  • Itching, flushing, and sweating

You may experience one or more of these adverse effects at some point while taking oxycodone. These adverse effects are usually benign. However, if these adverse effects become bothersome, please immediately inform your physician.

If you experience severe adverse effects, such as confusion, difficulty breathing or staying awake, seek immediate medical attention.

Oxycodone Dependence and Overdose

Oxycodone is in the news from time to time. Because it is a narcotic painkiller, it has the potential to become habit-forming. It should be noted, however, that there is a difference between building up a tolerance and becoming dependent on a drug.

Painkiller dependence can usually be avoided by following your physician’s instructions. Never take more oxycodone than the dosage that your doctor prescribes. Don’t combine oxycodone with other depressants, such as alcohol or sleep aids. Finally, never crush or chew your oxycodone, which can release more medication all at once. This quick release could not only predispose you to dependence but also can result in a potentially deadly overdose.

Oxycodone Withdrawal

As with many pain medications, withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop taking opioids. Some symptoms of opioid withdrawal include the following:

  • Restlessness, often in the legs
  • Difficulty sleeping and insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle or bone pain
  • Chills and cold sweats
  • Vomiting

To avoid withdrawal symptoms, it is best not to stop your medication cold turkey. If you want to stop taking oxycodone, talk to your physician about the best way to wean off of the painkiller.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Abdel shaheed C, Maher CG, Williams KA, Day R, Mclachlan AJ. Efficacy, tolerability, and dose-dependent effects of opioid analgesics for low back pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(7):958-68. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.1251

  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine, MedlinePlus. Oxycodone. Revised October 15, 2019.

  3. Cepeda MS, Fife D, Ma Q, Ryan PB. Comparison of the risks of opioid abuse or dependence between tapentadol and oxycodone: results from a cohort study. J Pain. 2013;14(10):1227-41. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2013.05.010

  4. Darke S, Larney S, Farrell M. Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal. Addiction. 2017;112(2):199-200. doi:10.1111/add.13512

Additional Reading