Chronic pain is treated with a variety of opiates, but a growing number of patients are prescribed oxycodone for chronic pain and subsequently falling into oxycodone addiction. The drug has been proclaimed as one of the best ways to treat chronic pain, but along with the good, oxycodone can trap patients in psychological and physical addiction. Oxycodone addiction is not unlike any other addiction to opiates, but being one of the most potent pain killers, it comes with the highest rate of accidental overdose leading to numerous deaths since its introduction to the market.
For What Type of Pain is Oxycodone Used?
Oxycodone is given to patients who have received chronic or long term painful side effects from extensive trauma or disease. It is categorized as a Schedule II legal narcotic, meaning it requires a prescription from a doctor. The medication is normally prescribed to older patients with moderate to severe pain. Because of its high rate of addiction, oxycodone is not normally prescribed to younger people. Oxycodone addiction is commonly attributed to chronic pain patients who need daily relief and no other option is available.
Side Effects of Oxycodone
Oxycodone is a central nervous system depressant, so many of the side effects involve breathing capabilities. Some of the common side effects that are associated with even small amounts of oxycodone are nausea, vomiting, constipation, mild itching, drowsiness, shallow breathing, dry mouth, dizziness, loss of appetite, or muscle weakness.
The most common of these side effects is constipation and shallow breathing. Constipation can be controlled with regular intake of fiber, water, and regular exercise. Shallow breathing leading to pulmonary failure is a common side effect attributed to oxycodone death. For this reason, oxycodone should never be mixed with other central nervous system depressants like benzodiazepines such as Xanax or Valium.
Alcohol and Oxycodone
One of the most common causes of death from oxycodone addiction is the mixture with alcohol. Oxycodone addiction leaves the patient with a tolerance where they believe the drug is out of their system. Subsequently, patients who drink alcohol don’t realize that alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant and it synergizes with oxycodone causing a loss of breathing that can be dangerous and even fatal. Oxycodone should never be taken with any type of depressant including alcohol.
Signs of Oxycodone Addiction
Even if taken as prescribed, oxycodone addiction creeps up on many patients. Some signs of addiction are insomnia, muscle and bone pain, sweats, chronic vomiting and nausea, stomach cramping, and muscle twitching.
If you feel your loved one is trapped by oxycodone addiction, it is imperative that he or she seek treatment. Addicts go through several withdrawal symptoms, so medical care and observation are usually needed to ensure safe cessation from the drug.