Hydrocodone and Oxycodone are drugs that are used to treat extreme pain. These two ingredients are usually found in most prescription painkillers. Oxycodone is marketed under the genres like ibuprofen and NSAID, while Hydrocodone is common with brands like Lortab, Lorcet and Vicodin.
Patients can use hydrocodone as a cough suppressant as well. Research shows that oxycodone is more effective when it comes to relieving pain. The hydrocodone is less potent compared to oxycodone and the analgesic action of hydrocodone begins 20-30 minutes and lasts about 4-8 hours. Oxycodone can be administered orally, intravenously or through a subcutaneous injection.
The side effects of hydrocodone include vomiting, drowsiness, nausea, constipation, lightheadedness, anxiety and being moody. An extreme case like progressive bilateral hearing loss is an infrequent adverse reaction to hydrocodone misuse. Hydrocodone is addictive to people who have used it for a long time and it can lead to physical and psychological dependence. The abuse liability is less than oxycodone.
These drugs are highly potent and they tend to have similar side effects and drug interactions. Hydrocodone and Oxycodone also have similar dosage instructions and are available in generic form.
When using these drugs the patients must take some certain precautions. One of the precautions is staying away from alcohol when taking either oxycodone or hydrocodone. This is because alcohol can worsen the side effects that come as a result of taking these drugs. Patients are also advised not to break the extended release pills. Breaking them can cause a dangerous influx of the drug.
The tolerance level of opiates should also be taken into consideration. This is because people without an opiate tolerance may suffer from adverse problems which can even result in death. The other important thing to note is that one cannot suddenly stop taking oxycodone or hydrocodone at once as that can result in withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal problems can cause irritability, muscular problems, fast heartbeat, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, pain and depression.
Just as stopping the use of the drug too quickly can cause problems, so can overdosing. If overdosed, both drugs can cause blue skin, loss of consciousness, cessation of breathing, excessive sleepiness and change in the size of the pupils.
Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone – The major differences between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone
A lot has been said about these two drugs and research has been carried out to determine which of these two drugs are efficient. The oxycodone and hydrocodone are quite different. Here are some major differences;
§ Potency-Oxycodone is one of the highly potent drugs and it comes separately. However the hydrocodone comes in combination with other drugs. Hydrocodone cannot be administered without a secondary preparation combined with it. Although oxycodone can be administered in combined preparations, its potential as a single preparation is enough. Oxycodone has two dosage options, either short-acting version or the long-acting version. Patients also need to use oxycodone once a day
§ Prescriptions- Due to Oxycodone highly potent nature, it cannot be easily prescribed by a chemist or a practicing pharmacologist. Oxycodone can only be purchased after a relevant prescription has been issued and it does not have any refills like other pain medications such as Hydrocodone.
Hydrocodone can be obtained from a chemist after the prescription has been phoned to the pharmacist. One can also get six refills of hydrocodone over five months. In addition, the hydrocodone is usually prescribed by the doctor as a remedy for moderate to minor degrees of pain and to help manage a cough. On the other hand, Oxycodone is given to patients who suffer from a more severe pain like cancer related pains, chronic pain injuries or pain related to trauma.
Discussions on oxycodone vs. hydrocodone indicate they are both restricted controlled substances. But these two drugs are classified differently. Oxycodone is considered to be a schedule 3 while hydrocodone is considered a schedule 2. The difference in rating means that more people abuse oxycodone compared to hydrocodone. That is why it is hard to easily get oxycodone in the chemists. This practice aims to prevent abuse of the drug.
§ Dosage-The dosage of both oxycodone and hydrocodone differ. For those with a weak stomach, a dosage of 7.5 mg of hydrocodone is prescribed. Those with a tough stomach and are heavy in weight; 5 mg of oxycodone is prescribed. Oxycodone is also ideal for those with a quick metabolism.
§ Although both drugs are prone to abuse, hydrocodone is abused more compared to oxycodone. This is because hydrocodone is more available in chemists and it is also cheaper unlike oxycodone.
§ Weaning off the drugs- Supposing a doctor prescribes any of these medications to help you relieve the pain, one day you will need to begin weaning off the drug. Weaning means that you will be less dependent on the drug. The task is easy to accomplish with hydrocodone.
This is because hydrocodone does not last in the system for a long time and this makes it easier to lower the dosages and use other conventional methods of dealing with the withdrawal symptoms. If one has a temporary rebound pain, these methods may also be used instead of going back to hydrocodone.
Oxycodone is a stronger pain reliever with a long half life, attempting to wean off this drug requires careful planning. The weaning off process also takes longer for patients who have been taking oxycodone.
Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone – which one is best for you
If one needs a pain reliever prescription, it is important to talk with your doctor about the issue of oxycodone vs. hydrocodone. The doctor will help you choose the medication likely to provide you with relief and one that will pose fewer issues for you in the long run. Supposing in the past you had a drug abuse issue, the doctor may start you off with hydrocodone first.
If it proves to manage your level of pain, then moving on to oxycodone may not be necessary. It is also important to let your doctor know if you are taking any other medications as both oxycodone and hydrocodone react negatively when combined with other drugs. Combing these drugs may also lead to adverse side effects and so it is important to inform your doctor about this to avoid a number of potential issues.