OxyContin (oxycodone) is an opioid pain medication sometimes called a narcotic.OxyContin is a strong prescription medicine used when an opioid medicine is needed to manage severe pain enough to require daily around-the-clock, long-term treatment with an opioid, when other pain treatments such as non-opioid pain medicines or immediate-release opioid medicines do not treat your pain well enough or you cannot tolerate them. OxyContin is not to be used on an as-needed basis for pain that is not around-the-clock.
How to use Oxycontin
- This medication is used to help relieve severe ongoing pain (such as due to cancer). Oxycodone belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics. It works in the brain to change how your body feels and responds to pain.The higher strengths of this drug (more than 40 milligrams per tablet) should be used only if you have been regularly taking moderate to large amounts of an opioid pain medication. These strengths may cause overdose (even death) if taken by a person who has not been regularly taking opioids.Do not use the extended-release form of oxycodone to relieve pain that is mild or that will go away in a few days. This medication is not for occasional (“as needed”) use.
- Take this medication on a regular schedule as directed by your doctor, not as needed for sudden (breakthrough) pain. Take this drug with or without food, usually every 12 hours. If you have nausea, it may help to take this drug with food. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about other ways to decrease nausea (such as lying down for 1 to 2 hours with as little head movement as possible). If nausea persists, see your doctor.
- Swallow the tablets whole. Do not break, crush, chew, or dissolve the tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of oxycodone overdose.
- To lessen the chance of choking or having trouble swallowing the tablet, take only one a tablet at a time if your dose is for more than one tablet. Do not pre-soak, lick, or wet the tablet before placing it in your mouth. Be sure to drink enough water with each tablet to swallow it completely.
- Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while using this medication unless your doctor or pharmacist says you may do so safely. Grapefruit can increase the chance of side effects with this medicine. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.
- The dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Do not increase your dose, take the medication more frequently, or take it for a longer time than prescribed. Properly stop the medication when so directed.
- Nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, weakness, sweating, lightheadedness, dizziness, or drowsiness may occur. Some of these side effects may decrease after you have been using this medication for a while. If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
- To prevent constipation, eat dietary fiber, drink enough water, and exercise. You may also need to take a laxative. Ask your pharmacist which type of laxative is right for you.
- To reduce the risk of dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.
- Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
- Tell your doctor right away if you have any serious side effects, including: interrupted breathing during sleep (sleep apnea), mental/mood changes (such as agitation, confusion, hallucinations), severe stomach/abdominal pain, difficulty urinating, signs of your adrenal glands not working well (such as loss of appetite, unusual tiredness, weight loss).
- Get medical help right away if you have any very serious side effects, including: fainting, seizure, slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/difficulty waking up.
- A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.