Questions about oxycodone vs. hydrocodone arise when patients receive prescriptions. Both medicines are narcotic painkillers. Doctors typically prescribe them to patients after surgery or when battling cancer. There’s a debate that one medication is less effective than the other. Learning more about these medicines helps patients understand why their doctor prescribed it to them. In this guide, we define these medications, their potential side effects, and how addiction can develop. If you need treatment for an oxycodone or hydrocodone addiction, please reach out for help today by calling Washburn House at 855.298.3104.
What is Oxycodone vs. Hydrocodone?
Determining the differences between oxycodone vs. hydrocodone involves understanding these medicines. Each of these substances is a strong narcotic pain medication. They’re also both opioids, which means that the medications bind the opioid receptors in the brain, making it more difficult for the brain to function normally. Unfortunately, because these medications are both opioids, it also means that patients are more likely to become addicted to them.
In many circumstances, patients receive prescriptions for these medications when they need something similar to morphine. Doctors prescribe these medications for managing chronic to severe pain. Furthermore, patients receiving these prescriptions don’t respond well to other pain treatments and need long-term pain medicine.
Side Effects of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone
When patients take these medicines as directed, the side effects are typically mild. However, if patients abuse these drugs, severe side effects might be the result. Here are examples of side effects for oxycodone vs. hydrocodone:
- Dry mouth
- Mood changes
Patients taking oxycodone are more likely to experience dizziness and drowsiness. These patients might also experience fatigue, feelings of euphoria, and headaches. However, patients taking hydrocodone might experience constipation and stomachache.
The Potential for Addiction
Even if you take these medications for a short period, bodies can develop tolerance. As a result, patients must take more. In doing so, the medicine’s chemicals change your body’s chemistry. That results in dopamine in your body, developing a dependence on these drugs.
When you stop using these painkillers, that could result in side effects. Due to the dopamine release, you’ll feel the absence of these drugs more. Sometimes, because patients are looking for that feeling, they’ll continue taking these medicines. Some also increase the dosage.
Detoxing from Oxycodone and Hydrocodone
If a patient abuses these medications, that quickly leads to dependence and withdrawal. As a result, formal treatment programs are available to help them detox. For instance, medically supervised detoxing allows patients in recovery to rid their bodies of these medications safely. Additionally, patients can continue counseling, therapy, and other inpatient treatments. At Washburn House, we use a combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies in opioid addiction treatment.
Once patients develop physical or psychological dependence, their bodies need medicine to function normally. If a dependent patient suddenly stops or reduces dosages, that could result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Examples of these symptoms include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Pain in muscles
- Sweating excessively
According to Genetics Home Reference, misuse of these medications affects over two million Americans and approximately 15 million worldwide annually. Other withdrawal symptoms include agitation, depression, inability to concentrate, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and irritability.
These medications are similar to each other are both painkillers. If misused, side effects or dependence could occur. Do you have questions about oxycodone vs. hydrocodone? Are you or someone you know dependent on these medications? At Washburn House, we offer a wide range of addiction treatments, including: