Last Edited: April 16th, 2012

Coupons for OxyContin

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Oxycontin is the brand name for oxycodone hydrochloride. It is a controlled substance that requires a special prescription and has a high potential for abuse. Oxycontin is used for people who have chronic pain and is meant to be taken around the clock.

How Oxycontin Works

Oxycontin is a long-acting narcotic pain medication. Although its exact mechanism of action is unknown, the human brain and spinal cord have receptors for natural substances that decrease pain. Oxycontin is thought to bind to those receptors.


The exact dosage of Oxycontin depends on a number of factors. People who have never taken pain medications should take a smaller dose, while those who are already on analgesics may be started at a higher dose. The objective is keep the patient’s pain mild or to prevent pain entirely, although up to two doses of a different supplemental pain medication may also be used. The usual starting dose is 40 milligrams every 12 hours. Some people, such as cancer patients, may need much higher doses. Oxycontin, in common with many narcotic analgesics, can cause tolerance, a condition in which the body becomes used to the effects of the drug and higher doses are need to achieve pain control. Once tolerance is noted, your doctor may increase the dose of Oxycontin.

Side Effects

  • Constipation is the most common side effect. It is usually treated with laxatives, stool softeners and increased water and fiber intake.
  • The biggest risk of taking Oxycontin is that it will make you stop breathing. People who are elderly or who already have a respiratory problem such as emphysema or asthma are at increased risk of respiratory problems.
  • Oxycontin is a central nervous system depressant, which means it may make you sedated, confused, decrease your breathing or cause severe low blood pressure.
  • As with all narcotics, Oxycontin may affect your judgment and reaction time; you should not drive or operate machinery while taking Oxycontin.
  • Other side effects include gastrointestinal disturbances, headache, sweating and itching.


  • Oxycontin must be taken whole. If the tablets are cut, crushed or dissolved they can be absorbed much too quickly and cause a fatal overdose.
  • Most people become tolerant to the effects of Oxycontin, and the medication should not be stopped abruptly but tapered gradually to prevent withdrawal.
  • Oxycontin can interact with alcohol, other pain medications, muscle relaxers or sedatives and illicit drugs such as marijuana, heroin or cocaine. It should not be taken with other prescription or over-the-counter medications unless you are been instructed to do so by your doctor, and should never be taken with illicit drugs.
  • Some people have difficulty swallowing the pills, which may be because the medication is meant to absorb water and swell before dissolving. Taking the medication with extra water and swallowing quickly usually helps.
  • Oxycontin does not appear to cause birth defects in animals, but should be used during pregnancy only if absolutely necessary. Women who are breastfeeding should not use this medication as it may be excreted in the breast milk and cause harm to the baby.
  • Oxycontin should not be used in children or adolescents and should be used with caution in elderly patients, who may be more susceptible to breathing problems and low blood pressure.
  • Oxycontin has a high potential for abuse and people can become addicted to this drug. It is also valuable as a street drug and has a high theft potential.