Oxycodone painkiller addiction

Oxycodone has a strong potential for abuse and addiction1,2

Oxycodone is one of the most abused prescription drugs around the world. Since being released in 1995, it has gained a reputation as a drug that poses significant risks for addiction, despite originally being marketed as a drug with a low potential for abuse.1

Even though oxycodone is highly regulated (like other narcotics), it is increasingly reported as the ‘drug of choice’ for intravenous drug users in Australia, Canada and the USA. Due to its potentially fatal toxicity if misused, the increased abuse of oxycodone has sadly been accompanied by a rise in accidental overdose and death.1

oxycodone can lead to opioid addiction
Oxycodone-related deaths are on the rise in Australia
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Addiction to opioids, like oxycodone, can happen to anyone

Oxycodone is widely prescribed in Australia, for a variety of reasons, and becoming addicted is easier than you think.1 Oxycodone is like morphine in the way it works,2 which means that it not only controls pain in the same way, but also provides similar feelings of euphoria when used, and has the same potential for dependency.

Just as with morphine and other opioids, addiction to oxycodone carries a number of risks, and if you take it for a long time you can build up a tolerance, which increases your chances of accidental overdose.

Although it may not be ‘easy’ to get hold of oxycodone, it is prescribed for a wide variety of pain disorders.2 For example, you may be given oxycodone to manage pain after surgery or a sports injury, or even if you suffer from chronic back pain. It is easy to understand how someone prescribed oxycodone for any of these issues could build up a tolerance, feel the need to take a higher dose, and unintentionally become addicted to oxycodone.

oxycodone can lead to opioid addiction
“Any medicine containing oxycodone can lead to opioid addiction when misused”
Signs that you may be developing dependence include:
  • Using more oxycodone to get the same effect
  • Unable to stop or cut down on the use of oxycodone
  • It is affecting your life – you may be losing interest in regular activities, are often late or absent from work or school, or having relationship problems

Which medicines contain oxycodone?

There are a number of medicines in Australia that contain oxycodone, and they are available in many different forms, including tablets, capsules, suppositories, transdermal patches, creams and liquids. Brands that you may be familiar with include:3
– Proladone®
– Endone®
– OxyNorm®
– OxyContin®
– Targin® (oxycodone + naloxone)

What should I do if I suspect I may be addicted to oxycodone?

It is important to understand that addiction to opioid painkillers, including oxycodone, can happen to anyone and doesn’t deserve blame.

If you think you may be addicted to oxycodone, you should seek help from your doctor. Doctors have a better understanding of dependence as a long-term disease, and have a number of options to help people manage their condition.

Want to find out if you may be at risk of opioid painkiller addiction?

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If you experience any side effects related to oxycodone that concern you, or you think you might have an addiction, it’s important to speak with a doctor.

References: 1. Pilgrim JL, et al. Forensic Sci Med Pathol 2015;11(1):3–12. 2. Endone Product Information. 3. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme General Schedule. Australian Government Department of Health. Available at www.pbs.gov.au. Accessed August 2017.
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