What Is Oxycodone Hydrochloride?

Jacquelyn Gilchrist

Oxycodone hydrochloride is a generic medication commonly prescribed to alleviate moderate to severe pain. Patients who have pain from surgery, cancer, or acute traumas may be prescribed this strong pain reliever. This drug is an opiate, or a narcotic pain reliever. Oxycodone hydrochloride may sometimes be combined with other drugs, like acetaminophen, depending on the selected brand.

Physicians have become more reticent to prescribe oxycodone hydrochloride because of the drug's highly addictive properties.
Physicians have become more reticent to prescribe oxycodone hydrochloride because of the drug's highly addictive properties.

There is a high potential for this drug to become habit-forming. Patients must be careful to follow dosing instructions carefully, and to avoid taking this drug for longer than the doctor recommends. It is available as a capsule, extended-release tablet, or as a liquid solution. The extended-release tablet may typically be used every 12 hours. Other forms of this drug may usually be taken every four to six hours, with or without food.

Patients should consult their doctors before stopping their dosages of oxycodone hydrochloride, as abruptly discontinuing it can result in withdrawal symptoms. These can include insomnia, rapid heartbeat, and hyperventilation. Muscle aches, stomach cramps, and loss of appetite have also been reported. Patients may also experience nausea, vomiting, and chills.

In addition to withdrawal effects, patients may experience other side effects while taking oxycodone hydrochloride. These should be reported to the physician if they become severe. Patients may experience nausea, vomiting, and constipation, along with dry mouth and headaches. They may also notice red eyes, a decrease in the size of their pupils, and mood changes. Drowsiness, flushing, and sweating can also occur.

More serious side effects require immediate medical care. Patients should go to the emergency room if they experience hallucinations, rapid or slowed heartbeat, and problems breathing. Hives, hoarseness, and swelling of the face, lower legs, or extremities can also occur. Seizures, fainting, and loss of consciousness have also been reported. Other side effects can include excessive sleepiness, cold or clammy skin, and a bluish tinge to the skin, fingernails, or lips.

Before taking oxycodone hydrochloride, patients must disclose their other medical conditions. This drug should not be used by women who are breastfeeding and it can cause harm to an unborn baby. Those who have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, or a history of mental illness may be unable to take oxycodone hydrochloride. It may also be contraindicated for use by those who have heart problems, brain disorders, or an adrenal gland problem.

Patients must disclose their other medications and supplements before taking oxycodone hydrochloride. It may interact with other pain medications, antidepressants, and antihistamines. Buprenorphine, drugs taken for mental illness, and sleeping pills or tranquilizers may also interact with this drug.

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