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Main Differences Between Fentanyl and Oxycodone

Fentanyl 50 mcgFentanyl and oxycodone are both opioid medications. Some of the other opioids include codeine, morphine, heroin, and others as well. The natural opioids are derivatives from a poppy plant. The synthetic opioids are made to have the same sort of effects as the natural ones. The main medical purpose for opioids is to manage and control one’s pain.

There are opioids that occur naturally in one’s body. These are known as endogenous opioids. They bind to the opioid receptors – mu, kappa, and delta. The opioid drugs, or exogenous opioids, are created to simulate the same effects, so they can bind to the same receptors the endogenous opioids do.

Both fentanyl and oxycodone are labeled as Schedule II controlled substances, according to the US DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). This means they do have medical uses. However, there is a higher risk for abusing them, than with some other medications. People can also become dependent upon these drugs as well. Someone can get these medications legally through a prescription. The prescriptions for these types of drugs are monitored through the DEA.

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Uses for Fentanyl

Fentanyl is one of the synthetic opioids. It is often prescribed for those who have severe pain. The potency for this drug is 50 to 100 times more than morphine. People can get fentanyl in various forms. It comes in the following:

  • Patches
  • Lozenges
  • Injectable solutions
  • Nasal sprays
  • Sublingual tabs (dissolve these under one’s tongue)
  • Buccal tabs (dissolve these between one’s gum and cheek

In addition to the various forms this drug comes in, there are many different brands it is sold under as well. These brands include the following:

  • Duragesic
  • Actiq
  • Fentora
  • Abstral
  • Subsys

If you have been prescribed the transdermal patch, you will apply it to dry skin and wear it for 72 hours or as the prescription states. Typically, people will get pain relief for between 72 to 96 hours after applying the patch. If you are prescribed the lozenges, you will dissolve them slowly in your mouth. The prescriptions for sublingual tablets are dissolved slowly under your tongue. If you are given a prescription for the buccal tablets, you will dissolve these slowly between your check and upper gum. The nasal spray is sprayed in your nose. The injections are injected into veins, infused into the vein, or injected into one of your muscles. If you have become addicted to any of these methods, be sure to contact a Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment Center today.

Defining Oxycodone

Oxycodone is one of the semi-synthetic opioids. It is often prescribed for those who have moderate to severe pain. You will find there are immediate and extended release versions of this medication. An example of the immediate release is oxaydo. It will generally provide relief for around 3 to 6 hours. Examples of the extended or controlled release version are oxycontin and xtampza ER. These may provide you with relief for around 12 hours. You might also get a prescription for combination based products such as acetaminophen and oxycodone. An example of that is percocet. You might get a combination of aspirin and oxycodone. An example of that is percodan, Lastly, you might get a combination of ibuprofen and oxycodone. An example of that is combunox. Each of these can be prescribed with a generic version as well. Oxycodone and the combination products are generally prescribed as tablets or capsules.

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Major Differences in Oxycodone and Fentanyl

Fentanyl PowderThese drugs are very similar to one another. They are both types of opioids. However, you will still find some major differences between them as well. Some of these differences include the following:

  • Potency – Fentanyl is the strongest of all the opioid drugs. This drug is 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine. Morphine is 1 ½ times stronger than oxycodone. However, with that being said, both these drugs, someone can overdose on if they aren’t taking them appropriately. In the illicit markets, this makes fentanyl even more dangerous.
  • Overdose deaths – In 2017, there were 29,400 deaths related to overdose on synthetic opioids (not counting methadone). Most of these were from fentanyl or a mixture of other drugs and fentanyl. Around 14,900 of these overdose deaths involved semi-synthetic or natural opioids (including oxycodone).
  • Methods of use – Someone can be prescribed fentanyl as IV use, intramuscular injections, buccal tablets, sublingual tablets, lozenges, nasal sprays, or transdermal patches. The oxycodone is only typically prescribed in capsule or tablet form and with oral use.
  • Duration of actions – Each of these drugs has a different action duration (this is the length of time each drug is effective). This is also varying based on the drug’s formulation. The typical durations for these include the following:
    • Injection for fentanyl – ½ hour to 1 hour (IV form) or 1 to 2 hours (intramuscular injection)
    • Nasal spray for fentanyl – Around 1 hour
    • Transmucosal for fentanyl – 1 to 2 hours
    • Transdermal patch for fentanyl – 72 to 96 hours
    • Immediate release for oxycodone – 3 to 6 hours
    • Controlled release for oxycodone – Maximum of 12 hours
  • Pain relief – Different studies do show different lengths and amounts for pain relief. However, there was 1 study that showed oxycodone and fentanyl had about the same post-op relief of pain. The oxycodone was just less sedating. In addition, this study showed that those who took oxycodone had more side effects than those who took fentanyl.

Both of these drugs can cause someone to have opioid dependency or even develop an addiction. Even if someone doesn’t misuse these medications, they can still become dependent upon them. If you are one of those who have become dependent upon or addicted to oxycodone or fentanyl, you can reach out for help. There are many medical detox assisted treatment programs that can help you out. You can get off from opioids safely and recover from dependency or an addiction to them as well. It is very common for someone to develop an addiction to these drugs. You are not alone. Treatments you receive may include a wide range of things. Some of the most common treatments include the following:

  • Medications
  • Individual therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Rehab treatment
  • Other treatments

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Whether you have just started taking fentanyl, oxycodone, or another opioid or you have been taking them for a long time, you can still become dependent upon or addicted to them. Whether you are taking them as prescribed or abusing them, there is still a risk of addiction. Don’t wait until the problem gets worse. Be sure to ask for help right away. The sooner you get detox help, the sooner you can get clean from these drugs and start your road to recovery.

Want more information about how Chapters Capistrano can help? Feel free to call 949-371-4198 and one of our addiction specialists will help get the information and help you need.

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