The Benefits and Risks of Oxycodone
For those suffering from pain beyond what can be managed by over-the-counter drugs, stronger prescription painkillers may be required. As prescription pain medication use increases in the United States, it’s important to understand the benefits and risks of using medications like oxycodone.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a partially synthetic drug created by altering thebaine, an organic chemical found in opium. It belongs to the opioid class of drugs that also includes hydrocodone, morphine and codeine. Oxycodone is the primary ingredient in Percocet, Oxycontin and other prescription painkillers.
As a member of the opioid family, oxycodone is prescribed to patients who suffer from moderate to intense pain. It interacts with the opioid receptors in your brain to alter the way your brain processes pain, which can have incredible benefits for those suffering from persistent pain.
What are the Benefits of Using Oxycodone?
Oxycodone is often beneficial for patients who suffer from cancer or arthritis because it can be used to manage long-term pain. As oxycodone is taken, the brain changes how it handles pain, relieving the sensations of pain. In this way, a regulated dose of oxycodone can help you manage overwhelming pain levels.
One brand of oxycodone, Oxycontin, has the benefit of being time released. It is intended for long-term relief for someone with chronic pain. The analgesic effects are slowly doled out over time, helping to manage pain for a longer period of time.
Oxycodone can also be prescribed after surgery. Post-surgery recovery often involves a short period of painful recuperation, but that pain can be managed through small doses of oxycodone.
What are the Risks of Using Oxycodone?
While oxycodone use can be helpful to people with chronic pain or simply short-term intense pain, there are risks involved with taking this drug. Because it is an opioid, oxycodone can create a dependence in your brain that may lead to addiction.
When you take oxycodone, it affects your brain chemistry by binding with the opioid receptors in your body. The more you take, the more your body becomes used to the alteration. Your brain begins to expect regular doses, thereby creating dependence.
This doesn’t mean you are addicted to oxycodone, though you may experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking it. Addiction involves the compulsive pursuit and use of a substance, often to dangerous effect. Most people who develop this dependence can overcome it by slowly reducing the dosage of oxycodone they are taking.
However, prescription painkiller abuse is on the rise. Abuse of drugs like oxycodone often occurs with people who are not the individuals to whom it was initially prescribed. Instead, the drugs are taken by or given to friends or family who use them without a prescription. This use of prescription drugs without supervision often leads to addiction that can devolve into heroin addiction and even death.
Prescription painkillers like oxycodone can be incredibly beneficial to people suffering from chronic or short-term intense pain, but there are risks involved with taking them. Dependence and addiction are a possibility when they are used without proper supervision or prescription.