These two drug names, hydrocodone, and oxycodone are two commonly heard prescriptions throughout the world. You may have taken them, or you may have had a family member who has used them in the past for pain relief. They are great to relieve pain on a short-term basis, but they are both dangerous when used improperly.
It is important that you learn the facts of hydrocodone vs. oxycodone, what the differences are and what they actually can do to and for those who use them. Below you’ll find out the facts you need to know when it comes to these two prescription pain medications. So let’s take a look at the difference between hydrocodone and oxycodone.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Hydrocodone?
- 2 What is Oxycodone?
- 3 Patterns of Use in the United States
- 4 Method of Use and How Do They Work
- 5 Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone: Side Effects
- 6 How Addictive Are They?
What is Hydrocodone?
Hydrocodone comes under many names including Lortab, Vicodin, and Lorcet. This is a narcotic that is used for the treatment of pain ranking between moderate pain and up to moderately severe types of pain. It is also used in some as a cough suppressant and has been shown that is more potent on coughs than even codeine which can easily lead to an addiction to Hydrocodone. In some cases, hydrocodone has been compared to be closely equal to morphine when it comes to relieving pain in those suffering.
What is Oxycodone?
Oxycodone, also known as OxyContin, is also an analgesic narcotic that is given in an extended release form for those dealing with severe pain in their body. It is very widely used and prescribed across the U.S.
While looking at hydrocodone vs. oxycodone, they are both widely used for pain relief in the country. They are also comparatively the same when discussing the pain relief benefits. However, those who have used both do say that oxycodone seems to last longer in dealing with their pain relief.
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Patterns of Use in the United States
According to the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2013, there were over 58 million prescriptions written for oxycodone to those who were in need of pain relief. While that is a large number of prescriptions for the one type of medication, the most prescriptions were written for hydrocodone topping out at over 135 million.
Method of Use and How Do They Work
Both of these drugs are formulated in a lab with very strict protocols to follow in production. They are both also considered a semi-synthetic product as they are both derived from natural opiates found in nature.
While no one is sure how oxycodone really does affect the body, they do know that it works with the receptors of the CNS, or central nervous system, to help block pain receptors and relieve the moderate to severe pain. It works with the opioid receptors in the brain to help give you an analgesic feeling to relieve the pain, so you can function throughout your day.
Hydrocodone, on the other hand, is known to essentially flood your opioid receptors and give you the pain blocking feeling you get when it is taken. It will also increase the serotonin in your brain which is the “feel good” hormones.
While they work in separate ways, they can both become very habit forming and cause an addiction to the product before you are aware.
Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone: Side Effects
Although they both work similarly, they can both offer completely different side effects. You may experience back pain, rapid heartbeat, and tremors with hydrocodone. Oxycodone, on the other hand, may produce confusion, dry skin, depression, and anxiety. Both of the drugs, when used as prescribed, can be a great addition to your short-term treatment. However, because they are so addicting, they can cause major problems in the future if you do not treat them with caution.
Other side effects you may experience include:
Upper respiratory infections
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How Addictive Are They?
Both of these drugs are being classified as Schedule II drugs. They are both extremely addictive and a problem can develop before the user is even aware. It is highly critical that anyone who is prescribed these medications talks with their physician to discuss the precautions they need to take and what to watch out for.
Signs of an Addiction
There are several signs to watch out for if you or your loved one is taking one of these drugs for pain. If you or your loved one has had a problem with drugs or alcohol in your past, it may be a good idea to avoid this medication and ask for something else.
Those who have dealt with anxiety or depression may also be at a higher risk of addiction. If signs of craving the medication, tolerances are increased, needing more to get the same feeling, or avoiding social activities start to show, assistance is needed.
These two drugs can be a huge help for those with a large amount of pain. However, they can also have a devastating effect on those who have addiction issues in the past. Be sure to weigh all the options out before you start on a regimen with either of these two.
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