Oxycodone is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone should be used to treat severe pain in people who are need pain medication around the clock. This monograph only includes information about the use of oxycodone alone. If you are taking an oxycodone combination product, be sure to read information about all the ingredients in the product you are taking and ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.
How should this medicine be used?
- capsules – usually 4 to 6 times a day
- slow-release tablets – usually 1 to 2 times a day
- liquid – usually 4 to 6 times a day
You can take oxycodone at any time of day. Take it at the same time every day and space your doses evenly. For example, if you take oxycodone twice a day and have your first dose at 8am, take your second dose at 8pm.
Oxycodone comes as a solution (liquid), a tablet or a capsule and taken by mouth. Take it with or without food every 4 to 6 hours. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor. Take oxycodone exactly as directed.
Common side effects of oxycodone include constipation, nausea, vomiting, somnolence, dizziness, itching, dry mouth, and sweating. Less common side effects include loss of appetite, nervousness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, urine retention, dyspnea, and hiccups. In high doses, or in some persons not tolerant to opioids, oxycodone can cause shallow breathing, slowed heart rate, cold/clammy skin, pauses in breathing, low blood pressure, constricted pupils, circulatory collapse, respiratory arrest, and death. Oxycodone overdose has also been described to cause spinal cord infarction in high doses and ischemic damage to the brain, due to prolonged hypoxia from suppressed breathing. The symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal, as with other opioids, may include “anxiety, panic attack, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, muscle weakness, fevers, and other flu-like symptoms”. Chronic use of oxycodone (particularly with higher doses) often causes concurrent hypogonadism or hormone imbalance.