The national opioid crisis, which started in the 1990s, has become a huge public health concern for the United States. Every day, more than 130 lives are lost to opioid overdoses. At the center of this epidemic are two prescription drugs: Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. As the most widely prescribed and abused opioid drugs in the pharmaceutical market, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone are the primary drugs of use for nearly 75% of all opioid addicts currently in treatment for their dependency. When either drug is taken, it floods a person’s brain with dopamine, creating a euphoric, floating-on-a-cloud sort of feeling. That is what is so addicting to millions of Americans.

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are very similar in nature and are not easily distinguished by many people. So what is the difference between oxycodone and hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone

First, let’s address the similarities because they are more alike than not. Both hydrocodone and oxycodone are immediate-release, extremely potent, opioid pain medications used to treat people with moderate to severe levels of both short-term and long-term pain. A doctor may have reason to prescribe you either oxycodone or hydrocodone, based on a variety of factors, including a patient’s age, the extent of their pain, preexisting health conditions, their insurance plan, other prescriptions being taken. These drugs are supposed to be unavailable without a prescription, but many addicts do not have trouble finding them through their usual dealers.

Hydrocodone and oxycodone can also be used to treat ailments such as chronic coughs and the painful side-effects of chemotherapy, however, in these times they are often combined with other drugs such as acetaminophen. These powerful drugs target the aspect of our central nervous system that deals with pain and has proven to be extremely effective analgesics. Unfortunately, the combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone also create a higher possibility of acetaminophen poisoning.

Potential For Abuse

Both drugs are Schedule II controlled substances, which, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, means they have “a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.” The psychological dependence and side effects of these painkillers include mania, paranoia, and psychosis. Other drugs in this category include Fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine. This may give you a bit of insight into how dangerous these two drugs may actually be.

Oxycodone and hydrocodone both come as tablets, extended-release tablets, liquid solutions, and oral capsules. Nonetheless, addicts who are looking for ways to make the drugs more potent result to snorting, injecting, or smoking the crushed-up pill.

What Is The Difference Between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is prescribed to more than 137 million Americans annually, making it one of the most widely available opioid medications in the country, much more so than oxycodone. It is also the primary active ingredient in other prescription drugs, such as Vicodin and Norco. When it is combined with other medications, it is primarily antihistamines, as it is an effective treatment for chronic coughs. 

Hydrocodone provides a much higher risk of abuse than oxycodone, at least in the United States. In fact, the risk is so high that many countries in the European Union and Japan have restricted or forbidden access to the drug altogether. Hydrocodone dependency causes a variety of painful and dangerous side-effects, including chest pain, facial swelling, uncontrollable shaking, hallucinations, difficulty breathing, constipation, stomach pain, and tachycardia, just to name a few. 

On the other hand, the side effects of Oxycodone include dizziness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, painful urination, and confusion. Although these side effects are also painful and could be potentially dangerous, they are not as extreme as those of hydrocodone. This is the primary difference between oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Oxycodone vs. Percocet

Oxycodone is the base drug for a variety of brand name medications, such as Oxycontin, Roxybond, and Roxicodone. It is also the main active ingredient (out of only two) in the drug Percocet, the other being acetaminophen, which is a non-opioid painkiller. The combination of these two makes a much more powerful analgesic than oxycodone would be alone. It is actually said to be one of the single most powerful pain medications available. A prescription for Percocet would include instructions for it to be taken every six hours for around the clock pain relief.

Due to the high potency of the two drugs, the addiction tends to be much more controlling than others. It can be extremely difficult to recover from a hydrocodone or oxycododone addiction without proper treatment. Treatment Centers XL in Lone Tree, Colorado offers an intensive addiction recovery program, specifically designed for those with prescription opioid addictions. We cannot stress enough how crucial it is to begin treatment as soon as possible. For information regarding our methodology and treatment program, call Treatment Centers XL today at (720) 600-1043.

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