OxyContin and Oxycodone are both powerful narcotic pain relievers used to treat moderate to severe pain. These prescription opioids are manufactured using ingredients extracted from the poppy plants, making them semi-synthetic compounds. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies these drugs as schedule II controlled substances with a high potential for abuse. These drugs are closely regulated and only prescribed when alternative medications have not worked. According to recent statistics, over 10 million Americans abuse opioids daily.
For many people, the difference between OxyContin and Oxycodone can be confusing. They are similar prescription drugs often used to help control chronic pain from diseases and in people recovering from serious injuries. People can quickly become physically dependent on these narcotic painkillers, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Understanding the difference between OxyContin and Oxycodone is a good idea for both patients and healthcare providers. Here’s what you need to know.
Difference Between OxyContin and Oxycodone
While OxyContin and Oxycodone are both powerful prescription medications used to treat pain, OxyContin is actually the brand name for oxycodone and there are some additional differences. OxyContin is a potent narcotic medication that is only prescribed to patients who require round the clock pain relief. It is only available in an extended-release formulation that continuously delivers oxycodone for up to 12 hours, so doctors typically prescribe 2 tablets per day.
Oxycodone, on the other hand, is available in both extended and immediate-release formulations. There is also a liquid formulation for patients who have trouble swallowing pills. Oxycodone is manufactured under many different brands, some containing acetaminophen and others containing aspirin. While Oxycodone is available in a capsule, tablet, or liquid formulation, OxyContin is available in multiple strengths. One of the biggest differences between the 2 medications is that oxycodone relieves pain quickly while OxyContin is a long-acting medication.
Similarities Between OxyContin and Oxycodone
OxyContin and oxycodone have pharmaceutical formulations that are nearly identical because the active compounds are the same. The active compounds for both medications come for the poppy plant and are synthesized the same way. Many doctors use the medication names interchangeably, understanding that one is just a slow-release version of the other.
Both medications bind to the same opioid receptors in the brain to inhibit pain signals and release dopamine. They both treat moderate to severe pain when alternative medications did not work, and they both produce the same type of euphoric feelings leading to a high potential for abuse. Both powerful narcotic painkillers are closely regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).
Using OxyContin and Oxycodone
Both OxyContin and oxycodone are powerful analgesic medications that are only available by prescription. They should be used under the strict supervision of a healthcare professional for the shortest amount of time possible. While these medications are highly effective pain relievers that bind to the same receptors in the brain and spinal cord, they do have a high potential for abuse. You can easily become physically dependent on these medications in a short amount of time. Understanding the difference between OxyContin and oxycodone is important for both healthcare providers and patients who may be prescribed one of these powerful medications.