Categories: Drugs

Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone: Differences Between Opiate Drugs

Opiate drugs are derived from opium that has a morphine-like effect, commonly prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, especially in patients who have undergone surgery or suffered a serious injury. Despite the fact that opiates are prescription drugs, it isn’t uncommon for users to become addicted and begin using the drugs inappropriately, which can increase the risk of opiate overdose and death. In fact, many people who use opiate drugs for an extended period of time will develop a tolerance to them, meaning the same amount of the drug no longer has the same effect on the user as it once did, which can trigger the cycle of addiction. In cases such as this, the user routinely takes more and more of the drug in order to elicit the desired response, which can put him or her at risk for opiate overdose. Some examples of widely used opiate drugs include heroin, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and hydrocodone.

What are Oxycodone and Hydrocodone?

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate drug developed in the early 1900s as an alternative to morphine, codeine, and similar addictive pain medications. Some common trade names of oxycodone include OxyContin and Percocet, which are commonly prescribed following surgery or severe injury, in order to relieve the pain that occurs as the body is healing. Medically supervised use of oxycodone is legal. However, because oxycodone is an opiate drug, like morphine and codeine, it has the same highly addictive qualities as the others, and the constant use of oxycodone can result in a tolerance that increases the risk of addiction and overdose.

Like oxycodone, hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic drug developed from codeine compounds, that is commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain among patients who have undergone surgery, suffered a major injury, or been diagnosed with a chronic condition. Some common trade names for hydrocodone include Vicodin and Lortab, both powerful narcotic painkillers that work by preventing the nerves in the body from sending pain signals to the brain. Unlike other painkillers though, hydrocodone is often combined with other ingredients, including the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen.

Differences Between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone

Although there are many similarities between oxycodone and hydrocodone, the main differences between the two opiates have to do with their potency, their cost, and how they are prescribed. Oxycodone, for example, is a highly potent drug that is prescribed on its own, while hydrocodone is typically prescribed in combination with other medications, like acetaminophen. Although both oxycodone and hydrocodone are prone to abuse, oxycodone appears to be the drug of choice among opioid abusers, and one study ( published in the journal Pain in 2013 attributed this fact to the quality of the high individuals seeking such effects get from oxycodone, compared to hydrocodone. This remains true, despite the fact that oxycodone costs nearly twice as much as hydrocodone, probably because hydrocodone users are less likely to increase the dose of the drug in order to get high, due to the risk of acetaminophen overdose.

Addiction to Opiate Drugs

Opiate addiction is a major problem in the United States, with more than 100,000 Americans dying from painkiller overdoses in the past ten years, and both oxycodone and hydrocodone are now categorized as Schedule II drugs, which means the government recognizes the fact that they have a high potential for being abused. Some common side effects of opiate drugs abuse may include nausea, vomiting, anxiety, headaches, depression, respiratory problems, suicidal thoughts, strokes, heart attacks, and possibly even death. Unfortunately, patients can become addicted to opiates like oxycodone and hydrocodone even when they take the drugs as prescribed, and many opiate abusers eventually abuse or become addicted to heroin, as the drug offers a similar high to prescription opiates at a cheaper price. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to oxycodone, hydrocodone or another opiate drug, Best Drug Rehabilitation can help.

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