The Impact of Oxycodone and Why Other Pain Relief Options Matter

Content medically reviewed by Vicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on November 3, 2020.

If you're recovering from surgery or you struggle with chronic pain, your doctor may write you a prescription for oxycodone. This widely used prescription drug can help with moderate and severe pain. Because it's derived from thebaine, a chemical found in opium, oxycodone falls into a class of drugs known as pharmaceutical opioids.

Oxycodone use should not be taken lightly, even when your doctor prescribes it. Oxycodone is one of the most abused prescription drugs today due to its heroin-like rush and addictive nature. While oxycodone is still considered a top pain relief option, its use could impact your life and health over time. You should be familiar with the risks of taking this drug, some alternative pain relief options and what you can do if you or someone you love is addicted to oxycodone.

Oxycodone Side Effects

Doctors generally prescribe oxycodone for short term use only. Even when individuals are not abusing the drug, brief periods of use can create a variety of unwanted short-term side effects, including:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness.
  • Headache.
  • Stomach pain.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Constipation.
  • Rash, hive or persistent itching.
  • Changes in mood.
  • Problems breathing or swallowing.

Even people who follow their doctor's orders can develop a physical dependence or even an addiction to oxycodone. After long-term use, the level of physical addiction can be extreme. Those who use oxycodone are at high risk of overdose when too much of the drug is consumed. Symptoms of an oxycodone overdose include:

  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Extreme drowsiness.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Clammy or cold skin.
  • Loss of consciousness.

Oxycodone Addiction

Oxycodone addiction usually begins with a growing tolerance to the drug. Over time, you have to take more medication to get the same pain-relieving or euphoric effects. Usually, this cycle continues until your body grows dependent on oxycodone and needs the drug to function normally. Some people visit multiple doctors to get the amount of oxycodone they need to feed their addiction. When they're unable to go back to their doctor for more, many turn to illicit means to obtain the drug.

If your loved one is struggling with oxycodone addiction, they may be ashamed that they have allowed it to reach this point. Maybe they're afraid of giving up the drug. The most important thing is to get them the help they need from a comprehensive substance use treatment center, such as the addiction treatment programs available at Diamond House Detox.

Alternatives to Oxycodone

The best way to ensure you or a loved one doesn't wind up becoming addicted to oxycodone is to find non-opioid alternatives to manage your painful symptoms. Some of the most effective alternatives to oxycodone and other harmful opioids include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen.
  • Acetaminophen, most commonly sold under the brand name Tylenol.
  • Non-opioid prescription drugs such as tricyclic antidepressants and gabapentinoids used to treat nerve pain.
  • Localized numbing injections, which can offer longer-term relief.
  • Non-drug treatments for chronic pain, such as ice, massage, exercise, physical therapy, acupuncture and relaxation training.

Learn How You Can Overcome Oxycodone Addiction at Diamond House Detox

As you read through our blog, you'll discover the information and resources you need to address addiction's hold on your life or the life of a loved one. If you have an unhealthy dependence on oxycodone, the team at Diamond House Detox can help. We offer life-saving treatment in a luxurious, private detox facility in Sacramento. Contact us today to learn more.