Oxycodone is in a class of drugs called opiates. A narcotic analgesic, oxycodone is typically prescribed for moderate to severe pain. The drug is available in different formulas, including extended release tablets (Oxycodone HC1) and combination tablets, such as Percocet®;, which contain small doses of oxycodone HC1 and acetaminophen. Oxycodone dosages can vary from 1.25 milligrams (mg) to 80 mg depending on several factors, including formula.
When a doctor prescribes oxycodone in any form, several factors are taken into consideration. Medical history, age, weight, and indication is a factor with nearly all prescription drugs, but prescribed oxycodone dosages are often based on the patient’s previous history with narcotic pain relievers. People who have previously demonstrated a high tolerance to opiates may receive a higher dose than those who have no previous experience with narcotics or have demonstrated low tolerance in the past. In some cases oxycodone dosages may be adjusted based on pain management needs.
It is important to note that extended release formulas are designed to be long-acting and must be swallowed whole, never crushed or broken, to avoid possible adverse side effects or overdose. Other formulas are available for controlling pain as needed. When prescribed in conjunction with non-narcotic analgesics, the oxycodone dosages are typically between 2.5 mg and 10 mg.
Oxycodone carries specific risks, including the risk of addiction. Health care providers may be hesitant to prescribe narcotic pain medication unless non-narcotic pain meds have been proven ineffective for controlling pain. In some cases, such as after surgery or severe injury, narcotic pain control may be the obvious choice. If oxycodone is prescribed, the dosages will be monitored carefully and the introduction of non-narcotic analgesics will begin as soon as possible. Other risks and side effects of oxycodone include decrease of respiratory rate, sedation, nausea, and constipation. Higher oxycodone dosages pose higher risks than lower doses, especially for those who have no tolerance or experience with this class of drug.
If pain management is essential to your condition, communicate effectively with your prescribing physician about your pain levels, tolerance to pain and previous experiences with pain medication. Follow your doctor’s orders when taking oxycodone or any narcotic pain medication and do not attempt to alter doses or take the drug other than as directed. Oxycodone is a commonly abused prescription drug and is also a street drug that is illegally sold. For this reason, safely dispose of any unused oxycodone and always obtain oxycodone by prescription so that you know what you are taking is safe.