Effects, side effects, abuse and treatment
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OxyContin is a prescription painkiller that can cause serious side effects and have very negative consequences if taken inappropriately and in large doses. It is commonly used for moderate to severe chronic pain when less powerful remedies are no longer sufficient. Do you or someone you know abuse OxyContin? In this case, you may need to seek professional treatment for OxyContin addiction.
OxyContin addiction is mainly known in the US, where it is also called “hillbilly heroin”, but it is unfortunately also becoming more and more common in Denmark. An addiction to painkillers can really destroy human lives. That’s why it’s something that needs to be addressed – fast. At Alfa Fredensborg, we are ready to help with guidance and advice so that the situation is handled in the best possible way.
What is OxyContin?
OxyContin is a powerful painkiller containing oxycodone, which works to relieve pain by affecting the areas of your brain that detect pain.
It is similar in many ways to morphine and has the same effect as morphine painkillers – both in terms of effect and side effects. It is mainly used for pain relief when other painkillers no longer work.
OxyContin is among the most powerful painkillers on the market, and if you handle and take it incorrectly, it can have serious consequences.
OxyContin is an opioid that acts as a painkiller on our central nervous system. The best-known opioids are morphine, heroin, methadone and fentanyl, and of course OxyContin, all of which are powerful opioids that carry a greater risk of dependence and abuse.
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Known oxycodone preparations and medicines
Oxycodone is a painkiller that is part of the opioid group, and in Denmark it is marketed as OxyContin and oxynorm in a number of painkillers. All painkillers containing oxycodone are prescription medicines and are therefore prescribed by doctors.
Abuse of oxycodone painkillers can start in many ways. Often, however, it begins with a course of illness in which the patient has received morphine.
However, other factors, such as grief and loss in the family and peer pressure, can also trigger addiction.
What are opioids?
Opioids are mainly used in painkillers such as morphine. It’s typically given to you if you’re suffering from incredibly severe pain, and the exact dose is individual and depends largely on the nature and severity of your pain.
Opioids are a group of substances extracted from the opium poppy, specifically the poppy seed capsule, which is the most active and potent part of the poppy. The effects of opioids vary depending on which opioids you take. What the various opioids have in common, however, is that they act to depress the central nervous system.
If you use OxyContin for pain relief, the effects will include muscle relaxation, drowsiness and sedation, which is the same effect as morphine painkillers. The maximum effect of intake, on the other hand, can resemble a euphoria, which is precisely the effect that can risk making people addicted. If that happens, OxyContin becomes as powerful and addictive as narcotics.
When you take and are affected by opioids, it can be recognised by the fact that your pupils are small. In addition, your pulse will be slow and weak, and your breathing will also be calm and relaxed. In particular, the physical symptoms may resemble being in a sleep-like state. If you use opioids regularly and over a long period of time, you may find that the effect and impact slowly diminish, creating a need for larger doses to achieve the desired effect.
The most common oxycodone preparations and medicines in Denmark are:
- Oxycodone “Teva”.
- Oxycodone “Vitabalance”.
- Oxycodone Depot “Sandoz”.
- Oxycodone hydrochloride “2care4”.
- Oxycodone hydrochloride “Actavis”.
- Oxycodone hydrochloride “G.L.”
- Oxycodone hydrochloride “Lannacher”.
- Oxycodone hydrochloride “Orion”.
- Reltebon Depot.
Side effects of OxyContin
There can be a variety of side effects from the use of OxyContin, and while some of them are more frequent, others are profoundly serious and some that should be dealt with. OxyContin has the same side effects as morphine and other strong painkillers, and some of the most common side effects of taking OxyContin are constipation, nausea, vomiting, headache, drowsiness, dizziness and itching. In addition, decreased appetite, stomach pain, dry mouth and indigestion are also seen as frequent side effects.
If you also find that you or someone you know is starting to experience severe anxiety, depression, confusion, hallucinations, nervousness and agitation, this could be a sign that they or you are entering or are in the process of abusing OxyContin. Find out why in the section below.
Withdrawal and symptoms of dependence on OxyContin
You may develop opioid withdrawal when you take a smaller dose of OxyContin or when you stop taking it altogether. The body suddenly has to adapt to a new situation without taking opioids, and the longer you have been taking opioids and the higher the dose, the more severe the addiction and the more likely you are to experience withdrawal.
You may suffer from anxiety, restlessness, palpitations, insomnia and many other symptoms that are generally feared among addicts. The fear of withdrawal alone can actually lead you to stay in the addiction.
The symptoms of opioid withdrawal are:
- Runny nose
- Slightly dilated pupils
- Tear River
More/greater withdrawal is also seen:
- Stomach pain with loose stomach and nausea
- High pulse
- Chills and fever
- Pain in the body
- Large pupils
- Possible psychosis
However, taking a smaller dose or stopping may not always be voluntary, so opioid withdrawal symptoms may also be signs of OxyContin dependence. However, opioid withdrawal is not in itself an indication of overuse of e.g. OxyContin has taken place.
Dose for pain treatment with OxyContin
OxyContin for pain management varies in dose, so you will find tablets containing 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg and 120 mg oxycodone hydrochloride.
A common dose for an adult is usually 5-10 mg twice a day, but the final dose depends on the severity and nature of the pain.
For example, if the patient has poor kidney function, the dose should be reduced – the same applies to elderly people.
Abuse of OxyContin
Certain types of painkillers, such as OxyContin is at least as powerful and addictive as narcotic drugs.
OxyContin also has the (negative) property that when the effect wears off, tolerance develops. Which means you need to use an even higher dose to achieve the same effect. However, when the good effect returns, the result will be the same when it wears off – you will need an even higher dose. This constant need for a new “fix” is what we call an OxyContin addiction.
Prescription drug abuse is unfortunately widespread, but what’s worse is that it’s dual addictions too. Indeed, more people who end up abusing prescription drugs also tend to combine the medicine with alcohol to achieve the desired effect more quickly. Which unfortunately leads to a double dependency.
Treatment and detoxification:
How to get out of prescription drug abuse?
The way out of painkiller addiction depends on the individual addict. However, drug rehabilitation and addiction treatment typically require a carefully defined tapering plan, which, in combination with supportive treatment, should lead to a new life without medication for the patient.
At Alfa Fredensborg, it is not necessarily the drugs that are the focus of our treatment, as the abuse of prescription drugs and other substances is usually based on a desire for pleasure, self-indulgence and self-optimisation. Therefore, we focus more on the underlying reasons why the patient has ended up in an addiction.
For some, this means developing alternative forms of pain management, while others are supported to learn how to cope with their new medication-free life. At Alfa Fredensborg, we offer concrete tools and psychoeducation to help patients learn about themselves and how to deal with problems.
Do you need help with treatment for your OxyContin addiction?
Do you or someone you know need help treating an OxyContin addiction? If so, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can call us for a no-obligation consultation at and get answers to any questions you may have about OxyContin, as well as advice and guidance on everything from confrontation to different types of treatment.
At Alfa Fredensborg, we can help you and your family. Among other things, we offer outpatient addiction treatment, where patients can stay at home and manage their daily lives during the course of treatment. However, if the addiction is severe and outright, we recommend starting inpatient treatment to get it under control and stop the addiction before starting outpatient treatment.