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What Are the Different Uses for Oxycodone?

Nicole Madison
Updated May 17, 2024
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Oxycodone is typically used to help relieve pain, and in many cases, it is used to control pain in individuals who have a terminal illness or condition. The point, in such a case, is to keep such patients comfortable in their last days, weeks, or months of life. Doctors also prescribe this drug for pain relief when a person has an injury or condition that is causing acute pain as well as for after surgical treatment. It is also useful for pain relief over a long-term period, but it can be habit forming. Less often, this narcotic drug is used for treating patients who suffer from severe anxiety.

A narcotic drug, oxycodone is prescribed for people who have moderate-to-severe pain. This prescription medication is often compared to morphine and is very potent. Interestingly, this drug does not actually work by eliminating the pain a person feels. Instead, its job is to improve the person's tolerance for the painful sensations he feels. Oxycodone is usually effective when it is used by itself or in combination with other pain relief medications.

The action of this medication is similar to the way naturally occurring chemicals called endorphins work in the body. Endorphins interfere with pain signals in the body when they connect with opioid receptors, which are cells of the brain and spinal cord that bind with opium and its derivatives. Oxycodone, which binds with opioid receptors, has a similar effect on the body. It keeps pain signals from making their way to the brain, and as a result, it is useful for dealing with the moderate-to-severe pain that results from a range of conditions.

Though this narcotic pain reliever is powerful enough to treat many types of pain, it is often used in treating patients who are in need of palliative care. Palliative care is treatment that is intended to keep a terminal patient comfortable for the last period of his life rather than curing him or extending his life. Less often, it may be used over the short term for patients who are recovering from surgery or have severe, painful injuries. Keeping the duration of treatment short is often important for non-terminal patients, however, as this drug can be habit forming.

In addition to pain relief, oxycodone has some other uses. For example, it may be useful for controlling extreme anxiety or sedating patients. Additionally, it may also prove helpful for suppressing coughs.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Nicole Madison
By Nicole Madison , Writer
Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. Her passion for knowledge is evident in the well-researched and informative articles she authors. As a mother of four, Nicole balances work with quality family time activities such as reading, camping, and beach trips.

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Nicole Madison

Nicole Madison


Nicole Madison's love for learning inspires her work as a WiseGeek writer, where she focuses on topics like...
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