The Impact of Oxycodone and Why Other Pain Relief Options Matter

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on July 10, 2020.

With major injury comes the need for strong pain relief medications. Some of these medications, however, can pose dangerous side effects. Oxycodone is no exception.

Oxycodone is used for treating severe pain, but it has been proven to be potentially habit-forming, as well as create other side effects. Consider alternatives to oxycodone the next time you require pain relief.

What Is Oxycodone, and Who Most Commonly Uses It?

Oxycodone is an opioid that helps to relieve severe pain by acting on the body's central nervous system. This painkiller should not be taken in situations where non-narcotic medications are effective and is not meant to alleviate mild pain. Though this drug is often medically prescribed, it is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the country

People who usually take oxycodone include those experiencing moderate to severe pain from conditions such as cancer, severe arthritis or other diseases. It may also be prescribed after surgery. 

The Short-Term Oxycodone Side Effects

Some of the typical short-term side effects of oxycodone include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Mood swings
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Severe itching

The side effects of oxycodone vary in severity, ranging from mild to more severe and can occur even if users are not abusing the drug. If your symptoms are mild, they may go away in as soon as a few days. If you experience recurring or more severe side effects, contact your doctor to discuss your symptoms.

The Long-Term Impact of Oxycodone Addiction

With long-term oxycodone use comes the risk of experiencing severe side effects and even extreme dependence, which can lead to addiction, drug abuse or overdose. Oxycodone addiction occurs when users experience psychological and physiological dependence — meaning they compulsively crave and use the drug while raising their dosages in an attempt to combat the drug's increasingly reduced effects. This is known as drug tolerance.

The more tolerance an individual builds for a drug, the more likely they are to experience serious withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Stomach cramps
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Body aches
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Anxiety

It is crucial to seek help from a professional if you become addicted to oxycodone.

Exploring Alternatives to Oxycodone

There are other alternatives to oxycodone that are just as successful in relieving pain. These opioid replacement options are safe, effective and pose far less of a danger than oxycodone:

  • Non-steroid anti-inflammatories: Include painkillers like Motrin, Advil and Excedrin.
  • Moderate pain relievers: Such as acetaminopen, ibuprofen and Tylenol.
  • Non-opioid prescription drugs: Can be taken in combination with Motrin or Tylenol.
  • Injections: Include nerve blocks, joint injections, trigger point injections and other procedures.
  • External treatments: Can be anything from physical therapy to ice and heat application to electrical stimulation.

Seek Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction at Diamond House Detox

If you're struggling with substance use and are looking to seek recovery, Diamond House Detox is here to help. At Diamond House Detox, we specialize in medically-monitored detoxification and co-occurring disorders such as mental health symptoms. Our in-house medical providers are dedicated to providing individualized treatment for our clients, assessing progress and adjusting medications in real-time to fit each client's needs. We pride ourselves on providing a private and comfortable environment for those seeking inpatient treatment and offering only the best care for our clients.

Contact us for more information and begin your road to recovery today!