Side Effects of Oxycodone
Like any drug, oxycodone produces some side effects even when used as directed. The most common oxycodone side effects are minor and include dizziness, lightheadedness, tiredness, lethargy, headache, nausea/vomiting, constipation, loss of appetite, rash, itching, sweating and dry mouth. Anyone who is prescribed oxycodone and experiences these side effects, should talk to the prescribing doctor. There may be another pain reliever that will be tolerated better.
In some cases, oxycodone can cause an allergic reaction that can be very dangerous. Signs of a serious allergic reaction include difficulty breathing, swelling in the face, lips, tongue or throat and hives. This type of reaction is a medical emergency and medical attention should be sought immediately. If the throat or tongue swells enough to block the airway, suffocation is a possibility.
In some cases, oxycodone can impair breathing without causing an allergic reaction. This is most common with elderly patients and those with lung diseases or impairments like asthma. Additionally, oxycodone can slow thinking and reflexes making driving and operating heavy machinery difficult and dangerous. Those who begin oxycodone for the first time should take the time to evaluate how their bodies respond to the drug.
One of the most common and potentially dangerous side effects of oxycodone is oxycodone addiction. Whether it’s Percocet (oxycodone), OxyContin (oxycodone) or another type of oxycodone medication, they are all potentially habit-forming. The vast majority of those who use oxycodone medication will not become addicted (an NIDA study showed only 4 in over 12,000 prescription opiod users became addicted), but a physical dependency is quite common. Physical dependency occurs when an individual builds a tolerance to a drug. Oxycodone withdrawal occurs when there is a physical dependency. In these cases, a managed detox is necessary.
Click here to read the next part in the series, "Oxycodone Abuse: Beyond Pain Management." Click here to return to the first part in the series, "Introduction to Oxycodone Abuse, Addiction and Treatment."
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