Oxycodone – opioid with side effects

Oxycodone is an active substance from the group of opioids, which also includes  fentanyl , methadone, morphine,  tilidine  or  tramadol  . Just like many other opioids, oxycodone is used to treat severe and very severe pain. So far, the active ingredient is little known in Germany. However, since it is said to have fewer side effects than other opioids, it is now being used more and more frequently. Find out more about the effects and side effects of oxycodone here.

effects of oxycodone

Oxycodone acts on various opioid receptors in the brain and can effectively relieve severe to very severe pain. Its analgesic effect is considered to be about twice as strong as that of morphine. In addition, the opioid has a calming and sleep-inducing effect – however, its effect here is to be assessed as weaker than that of morphine.

Oxycodone also has a depressant effect on the cough center and is similar to the active ingredient codeine in this respect. Nowadays, however, dihydrocodeine is more commonly used instead of oxycodone.

Side effects of oxycodone

Compared to other opioids, oxycodone was used relatively little in Germany for a long time. In recent years, however, more and more pain patients have been prescribed the active ingredient because it is said to have fewer side effects than other opioids. However, there are still no scientific studies to confirm this. As with other opioids, however, taking oxycodone is associated with a high risk of addiction.

Common side effects of the active ingredient include fatigue, dizziness, headaches,  nausea  and  constipation . Mood changes (anxiety, euphoria,  depression ),  sleep disturbances , drowsiness, and confusion also often occur. Oxycodone can also have a number of other side effects – see the package leaflet that came with your medication for a full list.

Oxycodone overdose

An overdose of oxycodone can lead to reduced respiratory function, a drop in blood pressure and reduced tension in the skeletal muscles. In addition, circulatory failure, unconsciousness and the onset of respiratory paralysis are possible. If you have taken too high a dose of the active ingredient, you should always notify a doctor immediately.

Oxycodon und Naloxon

Oxycodone is available in various dosage forms – including tablets, capsules, prolonged-release tablets, suppositories and solution for injection. There is also a combination preparation that also contains the opioid antagonist naloxone.

The combination of the two active ingredients is intended to reduce certain side effects such as constipation. When taken orally, naloxone develops its effect only in the intestine and not in the central nervous system. This allows oxycodone to work undisturbed in the brain while its effects in the gut are weakened.

Avoid withdrawal symptoms

If oxycodone is taken for a long period of time, withdrawal symptoms may occur after stopping the drug. To avoid this side effect as much as possible, you should  reduce the dose gradually.

In order not to jeopardize the success of the treatment, you should only discontinue the opioid after consulting your doctor. Under no circumstances should you end the therapy on your own.

Contraindications of oxycodone

Oxycodone should not be taken if you are hypersensitive to the active ingredient. In addition, the opioid may not be used if

  • severe respiratory depression is present.
  • You suffer from intestinal paralysis.
  • severe  COPD  or bronchial asthma.
  • you are pregnant or breastfeeding your child.
  • You suffer from acute, severe abdominal pain (acute abdomen) or delayed gastric emptying.

If you have any of the following conditions, you should only take oxycodone after careful consideration by your doctor:

  • Functional limitations or diseases of the liver, kidneys, pancreas, gallbladder, lungs, adrenal cortex, thyroid or prostate
  • Obstructive inflammatory bowel disease
  • circulatory disorder
  • Alcohol or opioid addiction
  • Epilepsy

Elderly or weakened patients should also seek advice from their doctor before taking the active ingredient.

Interactions with other drugs

Taking certain medications can increase the side effects of oxycodone. These include sleeping pills and tranquilizers,  allergy  and vomiting medicines, drugs to treat Parkinson’s, other opioids, alcohol and drugs that affect the central nervous system.

In addition, the following drugs and active substances should not be taken at the same time as oxycodone, or only after consultation with a doctor: MAO inhibitors, cimetidine or coumarin-type anticoagulants.


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