What’s The Difference Between Oxycodone and Oxycontin?

crop doctor showing pills to patient in clinic
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Pain management has an important role in the healthcare system. People with injuries, surgeries, or conditions that cause chronic pain are generally in need of solutions that can take the pain away or at least give them some relief. When it comes to opioid medications, Oxycodone and Oxycontin are often part of the conversation.

While they are both great pain relievers, they are also at risk of being overused or misused. In this blog, let’s look at the key differences between these medications, including how they work, and any implications needed for drug treatment.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a drug that’s prescribed to help users manage moderate to severe pain. It’s known as a narcotic and is derived from the opium found in poppy plants. There are different formulas for the medication. They can be found in pills that are fast-acting and others that offer a slow or extended release of the drug. Large doses can lead to breathing problems. Users should not drink alcohol or drive a vehicle when they are taking this medication. Other side effects can include dizziness or drowsiness.

What is OxyContin?

OxyContin is a brand name for a specific formulation of Oxycodone. They are basically the same thing; however, they are formulated differently. The primary distinction between oxycodone vs oxycontin lies in their release mechanisms and how they affect pain relief. OxyContin is an extended-release version of Oxycodone. This method of delivery is designed to provide around-the-clock pain relief. It is intended for people who need pain management all the time, but also want to take fewer pills.

The main feature that sets OxyContin apart from Oxycodone is that it’s time-released. This means that the drug enters the bloodstream more slowly which maintains a steady level of the drug in the body. This dosing helps to manage pain more effectively without needing to take pills every 4-6 hours.

oxycodone vs oxycontin

Key Differences Between the Drugs

While they are both essentially the same drug, there are important differences in how the body responds to them. The formulation is of course the main difference. While Oxycodone can be found in both immediate-release and extended-release pills, Oxycontin only comes as the extended-release version.

This impacts the dosing frequency. People who take short-acting pain pills may find themselves taking pain meds every 4-6 hours around the clock. Oxycodone is a great option for managing occasional pain for this reason. However, the extended-release nature of Oxycontin means that people get steadier pain relief for more hours. It can help alleviate pain for up to 12 hours, which is great for people with chronic conditions.

Many people believe that Oxycontin has a greater potential for misuse than Oxycodone. Some individuals crush, snort, or inject the drug to get fast relief. While they can still do this with Oxycodone, it’s less common because of the more frequent doses in the immediate relief version of the drug.

photo of assorted pills
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While both Oxycontin and Oxycodone are used for pain management, they each offers different benefits based on their formulations and dosing frequency. They are both at risk of misuse, however, it’s more common to misuse the slower-released Oxycontin than the quick-release Oxycodone. If you or someone you know is struggling with prescription opioid addiction, getting professional help is the first step toward recovery.

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