If you’ve ever had a serious injury or required surgery, it’s possible that you have been prescribed hydrocodone or oxycodone for pain management. Though many people have no problems with these drugs and successfully cycle off of them when they are no longer needed, others develop an addiction that may require treatment. It’s estimated that more than 18 million people in the U.S. have reported misusing a prescription drug, and opioids alone are responsible for more than 110,000 deaths in 2023. For those who do not overdose, opioid addiction can still ruin relationships, careers, and families, as well as cause long-term physical and mental health issues.
Here is more information on hydrocodone vs oxycodone, the addiction risks of both, and what you can do if you feel you’ve developed an addiction.
How Are Hydrocodone and Oxycodone Similar?
Both the potent medications oxycodone and hydrocodone are used to treat acute, chronic, or long-term pain. Since both drugs are Schedule II prohibited narcotics (opioids), there is a significant chance that they will be abused. The prescribed medications of oxycodone and hydrocodone function by obstructing the central nervous system and the transmission of pain signals in the body.
Both medications, when recommended, should be taken for a limited period of time instead of taking them as needed, like you would with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This is because medicines provide euphoric effects that have the potential to become addictive.
Both hydrocodone and oxycodone are frequently recommended in addition to other drugs or painkillers, and the majority of medical experts concur that they are equally effective at treating pain. Both drugs share many of the same side effects, such as nausea, drowsiness, dry mouth, itching, and dizziness.
How Are Hydrocodone and Oxycodone Different?
When comparing hydrocodone vs oxycodone, there are a few minor variations, but overall, there are a lot of similarities. Hydrocodone is more likely to result in constipation and stomach pain, whilst Oxy is more likely to cause lethargy, headaches, dizziness, and euphoric emotions. Because oxycodone is stronger than hydrocodone, lower dosages are usually prescribed for it.
The FDA approved oxycodone in 1995, and it was made available on the American market in 1996. 1923 saw the patent for hydrocodone, which was approved in the United States in 2013 in its long-acting formulation.
Hydrocodone Vs Oxycodone: Addiction Risks
Because it is a more potent drug and more likely to cause euphoria, oxycodone presents more of an addiction risk than hydrocodone. Because of its potency, it is also easier for users to overdose on oxy. If a patient has a history of addiction, a physician may opt for hydrocodone over oxycodone or may try to avoid prescribing opioids altogether.
Seeking Treatment for Addiction
There are some signs to look out for if you believe you or someone you care about has become addicted to oxycodone or hydrocodone. These signs include anxiety, excessive sweating, an inability to stop using the drug, increased heart rate, and seeking out more powerful opioids.
If you believe someone you are close to is at risk for overdose, there are also signs to look for. They include the person going limp, the face of the person becoming clammy or extremely pale, the fingernails of the person turning blue or purple, a person’s heartbeat slowing, and unconsciousness.
If you suspect an opioid addiction, it’s essential to seek out treatment as soon as possible. Treatment for addiction to hydrocodone or oxycodone usually involves several therapies, including support during the detox process, using medications such as methadone to ease withdrawal symptoms, and therapy to help address underlying conditions and guide the patient through obtaining and maintaining a life without opioids.
If you’re ready to break your addiction to opioids, reach out to a professional rehab facility that offers either in or out-patient services.