Oxycodone Uses, Dosage & Side Effects - Drugs.com (2024)

Generic name: oxycodone [ox-i-KOE-done]
Brand names: Oxaydo, OxyCONTIN, Roxicodone, RoxyBond, Xtampza ER, ... show all 14 brands
Dosage forms: oral capsule (5 mg), oral capsule, extended release (13.5 mg; 18 mg; 27 mg; 36 mg; 9 mg), ... show all 6 dosage forms
Drug class: Opioids (narcotic analgesics)

Medically reviewed by Melisa Puckey, BPharm. Last updated on Jul 1, 2024.

What is oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe pain when other pain treatments do not work well enough. Oxycodone helps reduce pain by activating opioid receptors in the nervous system, as it is an opioid agonist. Oxycodone can be used as a single-ingredient pain reliever (Oxycontin, Roxicodone) and is also available in combination with acetaminophen (Percocet).

Oxycodone is a controlled substance Schedule II, which means it has an accepted medical use but may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence and has a high potential for abuse.

Oxycodone is available in immediate-release or extended-release forms. The immediate-release tablets, capsules, and oral solution are used as needed for acute (short-term) pain, and the extended-release tablets are used around the clock to treat severe and chronic pain that requires longer treatment. Extended-release products should not be used for as-needed pain relief.

Oxycodone is available as:

  • immediate-release tablets oxycodone 5mg, 10mg, 15 mg, 20mg and 30mg.
  • immediate-release capsules oxycodone 5mg.
  • immediate-release oral solution oxycodone 5 mg per 5 mL (1 mg/mL), 100 mg per 5 mL (20 mg/mL)
  • extended-release tablets oxycodone 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, and 80 mg.

Oxycodone should only be used when non-opioid analgesics or opioid combination products have not been tolerated, are not expected to be tolerated, or have not provided adequate pain relief or are not expected to provide adequate pain relief. This medicine should only be used for an extended period of time if the pain remains severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and other treatment options continue to be inadequate.

Oxycodone side effects

Common oxycodone side effects

Common oxycodone side effects may include drowsiness, dizziness, tiredness, headache, constipation, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, itching, red eyes, or flushing.

Serious oxycodone side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to oxycodone hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Opioid medicine, including this medicine, can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should give naloxone and/or seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue-colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
  • a slow heart rate or weak pulse;
  • cold, clammy skin;
  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
  • confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;
  • seizure (convulsions);
  • low cortisol levels - nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness; or
  • high levels of serotonin in the body - agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.

Serious breathing problems may be more likely in older adults and in those who are debilitated or have wasting syndrome or chronic breathing disorders.

Long-term use of opioid medication, such as this medicine, may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.

This is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Oxycodone side effects (more detail)


Oxycodone carries several Boxed Warnings for risk of addiction, overdose, and death; serious or fatal respiratory depression; fatalities from accidental ingestion by children; fatal side effects when used with other respiratory depressants or CYP3A4 inhibitors; the risk of Neonatal Opioid Withdrawal syndrome in babies born dependent on oxycodone; and the Opioid Analgesic REMS program.

MISUSE OF OPIOID MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it.

Taking this medicine during pregnancy may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the newborn.

Accidental ingestion of even one dose, especially in children, can result in a fatal overdose of oxycodone.

Fatal side effects can occur if you use opioid medicine with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.

Oxycodone can slow or stop your breathing. This is more likely in elderly or ill patients but can occur in anyone taking this medicine.

Interactions with medicines called CYP450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in oxycodone plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may increase oxycodone plasma concentration. Patients receiving oxycodone and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer should be regularly monitored.

Opioid Analgesic REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy). Healthcare providers are strongly encouraged to complete a REMS-compliant education program and to counsel patients and caregivers on serious risks, safe use, and the importance of reading the Medication Guide with each prescription.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use oxycodone if you are allergic to it, or if you have:

  • severe asthma or breathing problems; or
  • a blockage in your stomach or intestines.

You should not use this medicine if you are already using a similar opioid medicine and are tolerant to it. Do not use this medicine if you have used a MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine or have received a methylene blue injection.

FDA-approved indications may vary for different oxycodone forms and strengths. Check the product package insert for indications and usage for each product.

To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • breathing problems, sleep apnea;
  • a head injury, brain tumor, or seizures;
  • drug or alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
  • lung disease;
  • liver or kidney disease;
  • thyroid disorder;
  • adrenal disease (such as Addison's disease;
  • urination problems; or
  • problems with your gallbladder or pancreas.

Also tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, intending to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.


If you use opioid medicine such as oxycodone while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using oxycodone. If you become pregnant while taking oxycodone, do not stop your medication suddenly without talking to your doctor. You may need to decrease your medicine gradually.


Ask a doctor before using oxycodone if you are breastfeeding. Tell your doctor right away if you notice increased sleepiness (more than usual), breathing difficulties, or limpness in your baby.

Oxycodone pregnancy and breastfeeding warnings (more detail)

How should I use oxycodone?

Take this medicine exactly as prescribed. Follow the directions on your prescription label and read all medication guides. Never use this medicine in larger amounts or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if you feel an increased urge to take more of this medicine.

Never share opioid medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medication in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away opioid medicine is against the law.

Swallow the capsule or tablet whole to avoid exposure to a potentially fatal overdose. Do not crush, chew, break, open, or dissolve.

Never crush or break an oxycodone pill to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid to inject the drug into your vein. This can cause in death.

Measure liquid medicine carefully. Use the dosing syringe provided, or use a medicine dose-measuring device (not a kitchen spoon).

You should not stop using this medicine suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about gradually decreasing your dose.

Store at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and light. Keep track of your medicine. Oxycodone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.

Do not keep leftover opioid medication. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush the unused medicine down the toilet.

Detailed Oxycodone dosage information

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since oxycodone is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An oxycodone overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, slow breathing, or no breathing.

Your doctor may recommend you get naloxone (a medicine to reverse an opioid overdose) and keep it with you at all times. A person caring for you can give the naloxone if you stop breathing or don't wake up. Your caregiver must still get emergency medical help and may need to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on you while waiting for help to arrive.

Anyone can buy naloxone from a pharmacy or local health department. Make sure any person caring for you knows where you keep naloxone and how to use it.

What should I avoid while using oxycodone?

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.

Avoid medication errors. Always check the brand and strength of oxycodone you get from the pharmacy.

What other drugs will affect oxycodone?

You may have breathing problems or withdrawal symptoms if you start or stop taking certain other medicines. Tell your doctor if you also use an antibiotic, antifungal medication, heart or blood pressure medication, seizure medication, or medicine to treat HIV or hepatitis C.

Cytochrome P450 3A4 Interaction The concomitant use of oxycodone with all cytochrome P450 3A4 inhibitors may result in an increase in oxycodone plasma concentrations, which could increase or prolong adverse reactions and may cause potentially fatal respiratory depression. In addition, discontinuation of a concomitantly used cytochrome P450 3A4 inducer may result in an increase in oxycodone plasma concentration. Regularly evaluate patients receiving oxycodone and any CYP3A4 inhibitor or inducer

Opioid medication can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:

  • other opioids - opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;
  • sedative medications including alprazolam or Xanax, clonazepam or Klonopin, diazepam or Valium, lorazepam or Ativan, temazepam or Restoril and others;
  • sleeping pills;
  • muscle relaxants or tranquilizers;
  • medicine for depression, anxiety, or other mental illness;
  • medicine for Parkinson’s disease;
  • migraine headache treatment; or
  • medications used for the prevention of nausea and vomiting.
  • cold or allergy medicines, bronchodilator asthma/COPD medication, or a diuretic ("water pill");
  • medicines for motion sickness, irritable bowel syndrome, or overactive bladder;

This list is not complete and many other drugs may interact with oxycodone. This includes prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible drug interactions are listed here.

Oxycodone drug interactions (more detail)

Popular FAQ

Immediate-release oxycodone has a half-life of just under 4 hours which means the pain-relieving effects of one dose will be gone within 6 to 24 hours, but it can remain detectable in saliva, urine, and hair for much longer. In saliva, oxycodone is detectable within minutes of taking it and lasts for up to 48 hours (2 days). Oxycodone is detectable in urine within 1 to 3 hours and will stay detectable for 1 to 4 days. Like most other opioids, oxycodone is detectable in hair for up to 90 days. Continue reading

Any drug that is classified as an "opioid" can cause constipation. Examples of commonly prescribed opioids that may cause this side effect include morphine, tramadol, fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, codeine and oxycodone. Continue reading

How long opioid withdrawal lasts depends on the opioid you have been taking and whether it is a short-acting or long acting opioid.

If you have been using a short-acting opioid, acute opioid withdrawal lasts 4 to 10 days, with withdrawal symptoms starting 8 to 24 hours after last use.

If you have been using a long-acting opioid, acute opioid withdrawal lasts 10 to 20 days, with withdrawal symptoms starting 12 to 48 hours after last use. Continue reading

Immediate-release oxycodone starts to work quickly, within 10 to 30 minutes, but it may take up to 1 hour for it to be fully absorbed, and the full effects reached. Food can delay how quickly oxycodone takes to work, but not how much is absorbed. Continue reading

Oxycodone (also known as Oxy IR) and Oxycontin both contain oxycodone, but the main difference is that Oxycontin is the brand name of a long-acting form of oxycodone. Oxycontin releases oxycodone slowly and continuously over 12 hours and only needs to be given twice a day. Oxycodone is shorter-acting, with an average half-life of 3.2 hours, which means that half the dose of oxycodone is eliminated in 3.2 hours, which is why it is usually given four to six times a day to provide all-day pain relief. Oxycodone is usually given for acute pain, such as that following surgery or trauma, whereas Oxycontin may be given for chronic or long-term pain, such as that caused by cancer. Oxycontin should only be considered in those with chronic severe pain that have already found a trial of oxycodone to be beneficial. Continue reading

Withdrawal from oxycodone is likely to happen to people who have taken oxycodone consistently or misused oxycodone. Common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings for oxycodone – these are one of the main symptoms that drive relapse
  • Diarrhea
  • Fast heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances/Insomnia
  • Stomach cramps
  • Sweating.

Continue reading

More FAQ

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View more FAQ

More about oxycodone

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  • Drug class: Opioids (narcotic analgesics)
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Patient resources

  • Oxycodone Capsules and Tablets patient information
  • Oxycodone Extended-Release Capsules
  • Oxycodone Concentrate
  • Oxycodone Solution
  • Oxycodone Sustained-Release Tablets

Other brands

OxyContin, Roxicodone, Xtampza ER, Oxaydo, ... +8 more

Professional resources

  • Oxycodone monograph
  • Oxycodone (FDA)
  • Oxycodone Capsules (FDA)
  • Oxycodone ER (FDA)
  • Oxycodone Extended-Release Tablets (FDA)

Other brands

OxyContin, Roxicodone, Xtampza ER, Oxaydo, RoxyBond

Related treatment guides

  • Chronic Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Pain

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circ*mstances.

Medical Disclaimer

Oxycodone Uses, Dosage & Side Effects - Drugs.com (2024)
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