What is the difference between Hydrocodone and Oxycodone
Opiates are a wide class of drugs commonly used to manage varying levels of pain. They are also the most prescribed pain medication among the major groups of painkillers, including NSAIDs. This is largely because of their efficiency at reducing or eliminating pain altogether. They are also used as part of other drug formulations, for instance, to suppress coughing and many heart-related medical issues.
Despite their many advantages on the medical scene, opiates are highly addictive drugs. They include some of the most commonly abused drugs such as heroin and morphine, which have presented problems for individuals for over two decades. For first time users, what starts out as a typical pain management regimen often turns into a life of drug abuse and, subsequently, total dysfunction.
Opiates are primarily prescribed according to the type and level of pain that the individual is experiencing. Hydrocodone and oxycodone are examples of opiates that are prescribed to manage different levels of pain, despite being almost identical at the molecular level. In today’s post, we take a look at some of the differences between these two drugs as we try to illustrate how individual opiate drugs can differ in function.
Hydrocodone is an opioid analgesic that is synthesized from codeine, a common opiate used as a cough suppressant. Hydrocodone is normally prescribed for mild to severe pain and is also used in other drug formulations as an anti-inflammatory agent. Vicodin and Norco are some of the most popular pain medications that contain hydrocodone as the active agent.
Despite its global availability, the U.S remains the largest consumer of hydrocodone. Hydrocodone-containing drugs also top the list of the most frequently prescribed pain meds, with over 140 million prescriptions written in 2014.
Drug formulations containing hydrocodone were classified under both Schedule II and III controlled substances prior to 2014. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), in response to the high number of people abusing hydrocodone and related drugs, reclassified all hydrocodone products as Schedule II controlled substances in August of 2014.
Hydrocodone is primarily prescribed for moderate pain but can also be used for some types of coughs and as an anti-inflammatory agent. As a painkiller, hydrocodone works by binding to receptor sites – called opioid receptors – along nerve cells. This has the net effect of amplifying the body’s resistance to pain by causing systemic numbness. Apart from numbing the pain, hydrocodone causes euphoria, a general sense of wellbeing, and increased lethargy or sleepiness.
Hydrocodone is also effective at suppressing coughs. It works by altering chemicals in the brain that suppress the urge to cough. Hydrocodone compound is one of the most common formulations prescribed for coughs, but is also addictive and should be taken with caution.
Like hydrocodone, oxycodone is a popular opioid analgesic that is prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone is manufactured synthetically by modifying an organic chemical found in the popular opium poppy. Oxycodone was approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1995 and classified as a Schedule II drug, owing to its great potential for abuse.
Since its approval in the 90s, research studies have tied oxycodone overdose to numerous deaths every year. Despite initial reports that this opioid was abused by only a select few in the population, oxycodone abuse affects all member of the population, including teenagers, men, and women from different walks of life.
Oxycodone is usually prescribed for moderate to severe pain due to its effectiveness as a swift pain reliever. In fact, oxycodone exerts the same effects as morphine, a strong opiate that is also frequently abused. OxyContin is one of the most common oxycodone products for pain management in cases of chronic pain as is the case with arthritis and cancer. It is a slow-release product and can exert its effects on the body for up to12 hours, which makes it perfect for long-term pain relief.
Differences between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone
Oxycodone and hydrocodone share a lot of similarities by virtue of belonging to the same group of painkillers. They both exert their painkilling effects by altering the chemical characteristics of opioid receptors on nerve cells. However, these two opioids also have a few differences that set them apart.
To begin with, hydrocodone is much more likely to cause addiction and dependency than oxycodone under the same treatment regimen. Additionally, even though both drugs produce an almost similar sequence of symptoms, hydrocodone is more likely to give you constipation and other digestive issues.
Both drugs are also equally efficient at dealing with acute and chronic pain. However, some users who have used both drugs report more pain relief from using oxycodone. A recent study also found that oxycodone and acetaminophen combination drugs were at least one and a half more effective than hydrocodone and acetaminophen combination drugs at the same dosage.
Different people also react differently to these drugs. Always speak to your doctor before taking any formulations containing these opioids.
I Think I am Addicted. What Next?
Hydrocodone and oxycodone are effective pain medications that can be useful for people with acute and chronic pain. However, when used incorrectly, they can be habit-forming. If you skip your regular dose and begin experiencing symptoms such as aches and pains, fatigue, anxiety, and other hosts of symptoms, you are probably addicted to the drugs.
While you will be tempted to panic at first, the best way to deal with the situation is to stay calm. There are plenty of ways you can come off an addiction involving hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other opiates. One of the best ways is to try and gradually reduce your dosage until you can completely stop taking the drugs.
You can easily come off these drugs at home without having to visit a medical facility. A slow, controlled taper will enable you to quit while keeping those nasty withdrawals at bay.
CalmSupport is an opiate withdrawal aid that provides a bio-available formula that was formulated specifically to help with opiate withdrawal. Along with the formula, CalmSupport offers a comprehensive withdrawal guide for people addicted to hydrocodone, oxycodone, and other opiates.
Additionally, CalmSupport offers tons of information and support for thousands of active and recovering addicts and always seeks to create support networks for individuals who would otherwise have no one to turn to. Join the CalmSupport network today and live a better, opiate-free life.