Just How Dangerous Is OxyContin, Anyway?

Comments (20)


Just How Dangerous Is OxyContin, Anyway?

By: Albert Frantz

OxyContin belongs to a family of drugs called opioids, which are derived from the opium poppy and are among the most common drugs used to address both chronic and acute pain. Due their abuse and addictive potential, they are nearly always prescribed with caution.

Opioids suppress the body's response to pain by acting on what is called the mu receptor, which is a molecule that bonds with the body's natural pain killers. The mu receptor is thus the body's most significant pain gateway. It also bonds with opiate drugs such as heroin and morphine. This receptor affects not only the experience of pain but also of euphoria, which contributes to the addictive potential of these drugs.

Unfortunately, medical textbooks inform us that all opioids have been abused, and there is no way around their high abuse potential.

To control distribution of addictive drugs, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency classifies drugs for regulatory purpose into schedules, of which there are five. Schedule 1 drugs, like raw opium and LSD, are as close to completely prohibited as is possible (they're permitted, for instance, in special laboratory research circumstances), while schedule 5 drugs are common over-the-counter medications that pose extremely little risk of addiction or abuse.

Where do opioids fit into the picture? Oh, they're in with their schedule 2 neighbors heroin, cocaine, morphine, amphetamine and the like. All except oxycodone (the active ingredient in OxyContin), which despite an addictive potential comparable to heroin is in the more "harmless" schedule 3!

OxyContin has been popping up in the news quite a lot lately. It's become the drug of choice among new addicts. In fact, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency, between 50 and 90 percent of new patients admitted to drug rehabilitation programs in the states most severely affected by OxyContin abuse (West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and Virginia) list OxyContin as their drug of choice.

To be fair, chronic pain sufferers are seeking relief from their pain, rather than a dangerous high, and medication certainly plays a useful role in pain management in many circumstances. Further, OxyContin becomes most addictive when its long-acting time-release safeguard is circumvented, usually by chewing the pill, thus releasing the active drug oxycodone all at once. Patients using the drug legally, for its intended purpose and under their doctor's supervision are clearly at less risk.

Still, the risk is definite and grows over time, as all opioids are known to diminish in effectiveness over time, mandating either higher doses or opioid rotation (temporarily switching to a new opioid) or both. Further, withdrawal symptoms can be experienced when patients stop taking opioids, making them crave more drugs. In fact, many patients report that their sensation of pain is worse after ceasing treatment than it was before they started! (In some cases, such as cancer, this effect could be attributed to the progression of the disease.) Surely it's best never to get started along this vicious cycle.

Let us understand that even dangerously addictive drugs have their legitimate medical uses, one of which may indeed be to relieve chronic pain sufferers of their plight. Still, regardless of whether or not you and your doctor choose drugs as one means of treatment, never forget that pain is a message that you're doing the wrong thing or you're doing things wrong. Listen to your body. Don't shoot the messenger.

About The Author

Albert Frantz is an American concert pianist living in Vienna, Austria, where he came as a Fulbright Scholar in 1998. Diagnosed with scoliosis in his adolescence, he was told by his doctors "not to worry." Unfortunately, he didn't. It was not until much later, some years following his sudden discovery of the piano and classical music in his upper teens, that round-the-clock unilateral back pain resulting from the curved spine would cripple his playing ability.

Never one to back down from a challenge, despite overwhelming obstacles Albert stubbornly refused to give in to his doctors' prognoses and set about with ferocious determination to restore his body to health once and for all. After years of intensive research and therapies, he is nearly pain-free and is enjoying a gradual comeback to the concert stage.

Albert created http://www.backpaincoach.com to offer fellow back pain sufferers the knowledge, tools, insights and psychological strategies to live healthy and pain-free lives.

Copyright 2005 Albert Frantz / www.backpaincoach.com -- All rights reserved.

Comments

AGBert 20.12.2008. 19:57

How does Oxycontin affect your weight? Does anyone who has experience with Oxycontin know if it makes you gain weight, lose weight, or neither? Thanks.

AGBert

Admin 20.12.2008. 19:57

Oxycontin is a very dangerous drug, and if you become addicted to it, it then you are addicted to an apoiate because that is what it is, and its just like being addicted to heroin, the exact same thing basically, and normally people who are addicted to opiates start to lose weight because it does alot of damage to your body. Once you become addicted you do not want to eat as much, and it just starts to wear away at your body and you will lose weight. But the only way oxys have any effect on your weight is if your adicted to them, otherwise they dont effect it at all. Most people who are prescribed oxycontin are prescribed it for major pain, like cancer patients and stuff so they tend to lose weight anyways because of the cancer and chemo and radiation.

Admin

Faith 13.07.2010. 23:53

What would happen if I took 80mg of Oxycontin? I have never taken opioid before, i'm 15, and i weigh about 90 pounds. What would happen if i took a coated 80mg pill of Oxycontin as directed (swallowing it without crushing it or sucking on it)? Would it be dangerous or deadly? What would be the side effects? (This is hypothetical, not planning on doing it!)

Faith

Admin 13.07.2010. 23:53

uhh that guy treesap is an idiot, it would not take 12 80 mil oxy to kill an "adult",it would prolly take less, if you took 1 you would probably be puking your guts out, i have no idea why you would want to take one anyways it is one of the most expensive and addictive drugs there is, I am addicted to it right now and it is very hard to get off of, I wish I would have never tried it, ive lost like 30 pounds and spend my whole paycheck in 2 days ... dont try it!

Admin

Ben 26.07.2009. 17:38

How bad is freebasing oxycontin for the health if only tried once? I tried it the other day and am not planning on doing it again... I'd like to heal my body as well, any suggestions? Thank you.

Ben

Admin 26.07.2009. 17:38

I am not going to quote you the DIH or the PDR. Instead I am going to give you as short an answer as I can:

Opiates are actually a lot less dangerous than most other classes of drugs, but they are still addictive and still should not be taken without supervision of a doctor.

The most dangerous part of what you did by freebasing of oxycodone (which is the actual drug that is in the name brand Oxycontin) is catching your face and hair on fire. Also, if depending on what you used to "cook" it on to free base the fumes, could cause some pretty bad damage to your lungs, but this damage is repairable.

There is really no benefit to freebasing an opiate anyway. Taken orally you actually get more of the drug in your blood stream than when you heat it (which causes the drug compound to begin breaking down and reducing).

Just steer clear of the freebasing. You will be fine as long as you don't do it again.

Admin

ChillyWinterEvening 07.09.2009. 18:18

Can someone give me information about removing wisdom teeth? a week from now im gettin all 4 of my wisdom teeth removed. my brother got two removed and he said it constantly bleeds, is tht true?
will i be in pain for hours on end after the removal?
do they drug me durin the surgery?
do i realy have to clean out all the gunk that ends up in the holes by hand?

ChillyWinterEvening

Admin 07.09.2009. 18:18

You may be sedated, or you may just have freezing. The sedation should relax you (or put you completely under, if it's a general anesthetic). If you are getting something stronger than just laughing gas, you should have an empty stomach. The sedatives used can really do a number on your stomach, and an empty stomach means much less risk of vomiting.

Unless you're completely asleep, you will also be well-frozen with Novocaine. There are several strengths of it, and your dentist will probably use one of the more potent ones. It may take quite a while for it to fully freeze you, or it could work very quickly, it all depends on your own nerve structure.

Your dentist will use small pliers to grip the tooth, in order to work it loose from the bone. You will feel a bit of pressure, as the dentist rocks & twists each tooth, and you'll hear some cracking. It sounds really freaky, but it's just noise. Listening to music on an MP3 player, & closing your eyes will help take your mind off it.

Afterwards, your dentist will have you bite down on gauze, to stop the bleeding. The bleeding will continue for an hour or so afterwards. If you really can't make it stop, biting down on a cool, wet teabag will help. NEVER pull out the clots (the "gunk" in the holes). It's necessary for the healing process. Leave it there, and it will become incorporated with the gum tissue that grows in. If you remove the clots, you'll get dry sockets, which won't heal properly.

You should take a couple of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or generic) before you leave the dentist's office. That way, it'll already be working when the freezing wears off. Ibuprofen is the BEST painkiller for dental pain, because it reduces the swelling, and that swelling is what causes the pain. You don't need super-strong painkillers (Vicodan, Oxycontin). They cost a lot more, aren't as effective as ibuprofen, and are extremely dangerous. They can also cause nausea & vomiting, which will make your mouth hurt even more.

Take another couple of ibuprofen, every few hours, to keep on top of the pain. You should also use ice packs, and eat a popsicle (just don't suck it) or smooth ice cream, to reduce the swelling & bruising.

There will be a lot of swelling, due to the accumulation of fluid in the hinges of your jaws. The fluid is the body's natural response to a major injury, and is part of the healing process. That swelling will greatly limit how far you can open your mouth, and whenever you move your jaw to speak or swallow or yawn, it will hurt.

The pain & swelling will reach their peak on the 3rd day, and will gradually decrease after that. During the first few days, eat only soft foods that are cold, cool, or warm. Avoid hard or hot foods, since your mouth will be very tender, and you don't want to carve it up or burn it.

Do not smoke, spit, or use a straw until at least the 4th day. If you do, you'll create suction, which could suck the clots out of the extraction sites, and give you dry sockets. If this happens, they won't heal properly.

For the next couple of weeks, do not work out or exert yourself. If you do, you'll increase blood flow, which will add to the swelling. You probably won't feel much like exerting yourself anyway, because your body will be concentrating all its energy on healing the extraction sites.

Admin

JulezRulez 15.09.2009. 18:11

I'm getting a bottom molar pulled tomorrow, how much swelling can I expect to occur? I am being knocked out, (twilight). I'm concerned, because the next night I have a school open house that I'd like to attend w/o looking like a chipmunk. Share your experiences, please! Thanks.

JulezRulez

Admin 15.09.2009. 18:11

Unless you're having all 4 wisdom teeth out, you won't end up looking like a chipmunk. However, you will be swollen in the area, and you will be in some pain. For those reasons, you may not feel like attending the open house anyway. Just see how you feel when it's time for the open house, and decide then. Pain & swelling reach a peak on the third day, then very gradually decrease after that.


Here's what to expect during an extraction:

The sedation should relax you (or put you completely under, if it's a general anesthetic). If you're getting something stronger than just laughing gas, you should have an empty stomach. The sedatives used can really do a number on your stomach, and an empty stomach means much less risk of vomiting.

Unless you're completely asleep, you will also be well-frozen with Novocaine. There are several strengths of it, and your dentist will probably use one of the more potent ones. It may take quite a while for it to fully freeze you, or it could work very quickly, it all depends on your own nerve structure.

Your dentist will use small pliers to grip the tooth, in order to work it loose from the bone. You will feel a bit of pressure, as the dentist rocks & twists each tooth, and you'll hear some cracking. It sounds really freaky, but it's just noise. Listening to music on an MP3 player, & closing your eyes will help take your mind off it.

Afterwards, your dentist will have you bite down on gauze, to stop the bleeding. The bleeding will continue for an hour or so afterwards. If you really can't make it stop, biting down on a cool, wet teabag will help. NEVER pull out the clot (the "gunk" in the hole). It's necessary for the healing process. Leave it there, and it will become incorporated with the gum tissue that grows in.

You should take a couple of ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, or generic) before you leave the dentist's office. That way, it'll already be working when the freezing wears off. Ibuprofen is the BEST painkiller for dental pain, because it reduces the swelling, and that swelling is what causes the pain. You don't need super-strong painkillers (Vicodan, Oxycontin). They cost a lot more, aren't as effective as ibuprofen, and are extremely dangerous. They can also cause nausea & vomiting, which will make your mouth hurt even more.

Take another couple of ibuprofen, every few hours, to keep on top of the pain. You should also use ice packs, and eat a popsicle (just don't suck it) or smooth ice cream, to reduce the swelling & bruising.

There will be swelling, due to the accumulation of fluid in the area. The fluid is the body's natural response to a major injury, and is part of the healing process. That swelling may limit how far you can open your mouth, and whenever you move your jaw to speak or swallow or yawn, it will hurt.

The pain & swelling will reach their peak on the 3rd day, and will gradually decrease after that. During the first few days, eat only soft foods that are cold, cool, or warm. Avoid hard or hot foods, since your mouth will be very tender, and you don't want to carve it up or burn it.

Do not smoke, spit, or use a straw until at least the 4th day. If you do, you'll create suction, which could suck the clot out of the extraction site, and give you a dry socket. If this happens, you need to see your dentist, ASAP.

For the next couple of weeks, do not work out or exert yourself too much. If you do, you'll increase blood flow, which will add to the swelling. You probably won't feel much like exerting yourself anyway, because your body will be concentrating all its energy on healing the extraction site.

Admin

jmac0002 12.04.2008. 02:06

im on a prescription of about 3 mg of xanax a day...i have a 20 mg oxycontin...i would like to snort it...? I know its illegal...and dangerous...but my question...and read carefully, b/c this is the question...does the xanax effect the respitory depression that oxycontin causes anyway...in other words does xanax and oxycontin together amplify resp. dep. INTELLIGENT ANSWERS ONLY (for one stupid f.ing question)

jmac0002

Admin 12.04.2008. 02:06

Don't do it. I will give you an intelligent answer that you probably will not hear----------don't be a dumb ass. Enough people are on drugs and screwed up --we don't need another intelligent one like you doing it too.

Admin

Theava 15.10.2007. 02:34

Why do people think heroin is so much worse than any other drug? I mean people who are well educated, not middle school pot heads destined for failure anyway...

Theava

Admin 15.10.2007. 02:34

I'm going to be the devil's advocate here. But everything I'm going to say is perfectly true. People who believe that heroin is the worst drug are ignorant of the facts. Opiates (heroin, morphine, oxycontin, etc.) are far less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco, which are legal. As far as illegals, methamphetamines and cocaine are more dangerous. What gives heroin its bad name is the fact that most users inject it and that repulses many people. There are other ways to do it which are far safer, and if you never do it more than two days in a row, you won't get addicted.

Heroin, when it is clean, does not deteriorate your body like alcohol, cigarettes and meth do. Far more people die from drinking and speed than from CLEAN opiate use. Opiates come from a beautiful flower, meth comes from battery acid and anything else under the kitchen sink. Nasty.

The very biggest problem with heroin is its reputation and legal status! If there were not the stigma and legal worries, users would be much more likely to all have jobs and be normal citizens. More people actually ARE than many people realize, they just get it prescribed by their doctors in different forms. All comes from the same pretty flower.

Ohh, don't get me wrong. There IS risk of physical addiction IF the person is NOT CAUTIOUS. This can lead to untold pain and suffering, or a life of going to methadone clinics.

Admin

UGARULZ 08.06.2011. 00:33

My hydrocodone tolerance is very high (i think) i take 5 at a time and then 3 more 4 hours later.? How much Oxycontin will be equivalent? When I take 5 hdryocodone pills the effect only last 1.5 hours and that's why I'm switching to oxycontin.

UGARULZ

Admin 08.06.2011. 00:33

The amount of hydrocodone you're taking (assuming it's Vicodin or Norco type drug) is insignificant compared to the amount of tylenol you are taking. If you keep going you're going to kill yourself. You need to keep your daily tylenol intake (they may call it acetaminophen or APAP, its still tylenol) below 4000mg daily and many docs think that's too much. You're going to need a new liver or kidneys if you don't have a heart attack first. People just don't know how dangerous that poison really is.
A couple things about OxyContin - You know it's an all day type of medicine, right? They say it's supposed to last 12 hours. I don't know a soul that gets more than 8 hours out of it. So it would still be less hassle than all the Vicodin or whatever. You wont have to worry about the tylenol any more which is the most important part for you right now, even more than controlling the pain.. I don't know if you tried before they reformulated it, but it's not even close to what it used to be. They'll still start you at 10 or 20 milligrams and adjust upwards from there. It's going to be a very big, very bad choice if you stray from the Rx'ed amount. Instead of a whole bunch of pills, you'll have a lot less and if you think you can borrow from the next day, you're going to end up in withdrawal before the month is out. You only have to feel it once and you'll make damn sure you take as prescribed. Self medicating is not a good idea. Something that may help you is taking Oxycontin 2 or 3 times a day as a long acting drug and have just regular oxycodone for in between pain flares.
Now if you're real serious about long acting pain control, you should check out Methadone. It lasts about 36 hours, so dosing every 24 (you can divide it up in a couple doses through the day or all at once) you stay ahead of the game. The other big selling point is it's way cheaper than OxyContin.
I'm not going to do you a dose conversion to OxyContin cause it doesn't seem like you have a set dose that you are taking. A search for narcotics calculator should find you at least a couple. It's kind of a moot point anyway since all the conversions have a built in factor that allows the physician to cut the dose by as much as 50% when switching drugs. It's called cross tolerance and it's the reason why they really need to give you rescue or breakthrough medication at least the prescription or two on a new med.
Good luck and take it easy on the APAP...

Admin

Laura B 19.08.2009. 19:52

Oxycontin in system before surgery? I took a 20mg pill of Oxycontin last night(tuesday) for pain. I am having surgery at noon on Friday. Will that effect me in any way because of the anesthesia? It will be about 48 hours between the time the med wore off and the surgery. Is that enough time to make sure it won't effect me during surgery?

Laura B

Admin 19.08.2009. 19:52

You will be fine. Doctors actually are not generally bothered by that kind of drug in your system. It's drugs that affect the clotting properties of your blood, blood pressure, etc that they worry about.

Anyway, oxycodone and other drugs of that type are generally completely out of your system in about 48 hours.

And good luck with the surgery. (I've had three ankle surgeries and one wrist surgery--I'm a ballet dancer. It's a dangerous sport! Haha.) Anyway, I hope it goes well for you

Admin

LiiiiZ010 19.08.2009. 16:58

Can you get high off cymbalta? Just answer the question, dont tell me i need help or etc, can you get high off cymbalta if you take it & your not prescribed it
There is no 420 channel smarta**, if there was, believe me, id be there!

LiiiiZ010

Admin 19.08.2009. 16:58

No, if anything it ll make you a bit sick, the first few days i took 60mg of it, it made me sick, and ive been abusing drugs for about 6 years.
ive been on about 7 different antidepressants - zoloft, luvox, effexor, largactal, placil, lexapro and cymbalta and none got me high.

how ever some sleeping tablets can get you high including-
valium
mogadon
temazipan

also these antidepressiants can make you feel out of it-
xanax

drug withdrawal drugs that give u a high-
methadone
subutex

pain meds that get you high-
oxycontin
ms contin
oxydone
morphine sulfate
pethadine


vet medication

ketamine


i no longer take any of these. no one can tell you how dangerous they can be, cause most users think itll never happen to them, but when it does is when your whole outlook on life changes.


anyway take care and be good lol

Admin

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