Uses, precautions, side effects, and dosages of OxyContin and Vicodin

Uses, precautions, side effects, and dosages of OxyContin and Vicodin

Uses, precautions, side effects, and dosages of OxyContin and Vicodin

OxyContin and Vicodin: A Comparison of Two Opioid Medications

OxyContin and Vicodin are opioid narcotics commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. They belong to the same class of drugs as fentanyl, methadone, and morphine. While both medications are effective for pain relief, they also carry a high risk of addiction. In fact, the effects of Vicodin and OxyContin are so similar that it can be difficult to differentiate between the two based on symptoms alone.

Understanding Vicodin for Pain Relief

Vicodin is a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It is primarily used to treat moderate to severe pain and can be taken orally. Hydrocodone, a synthetic opioid, activates the same neurotransmitters as heroin and other opiate drugs. Vicodin changes the perception of pain and emotional response to pain, providing relief for those who take it. However, its potential for addiction and misuse should not be overlooked. Vicodin is typically prescribed for short-term or acute pain resulting from surgery or injury, but in some cases, it may be used for long-term or chronic pain caused by conditions like arthritis.

The half-life of Vicodin is approximately 3.9 hours, and withdrawal symptoms can occur within six to twelve hours after the last dose. These symptoms peak around 48 to 72 hours.

Understanding OxyContin for Pain Relief

OxyContin is a powerful medication used to relieve extreme pain. It works by altering the brain’s response to pain and inflammation, changing the way pain is perceived. OxyContin is a long-acting form of oxycodone, releasing the medication slowly over twelve hours. It is typically taken twice a day and may be prescribed for chronic or long-term pain. However, OxyContin should only be considered for individuals who have already found relief with oxycodone.

Differences Between OxyContin and Vicodin

  • OxyContin is a potent opioid narcotic painkiller, while Vicodin is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone.
  • OxyContin is usually prescribed for severe pain requiring long-term treatment when other options are inadequate. Vicodin, on the other hand, is generally prescribed for mild to moderately severe pain and can also be used as a cough suppressant.
  • Vicodin is primarily used to relieve moderate to moderately severe pain and can also act as an antitussive. OxyContin, similar to codeine and morphine, is a strong narcotic pain reliever and cough suppressant.

Mechanism of Action: How Vicodin and OxyContin Differ

  • OxyContin increases pain tolerance but does not eliminate the sensation of pain. It can also cause respiratory depression and sedation.
  • Hydrocodone in Vicodin blocks the receptors in the brain responsible for pain sensation. The acetaminophen component acts as a non-narcotic analgesic and fever reducer by elevating the pain threshold and affecting the temperature-regulating center of the brain.

Benefits of OxyContin and Vicodin

Both OxyContin and Vicodin provide pain relief and can act as cough suppressants. Vicodin also offers the additional benefit of reducing fever.

Safety Considerations: Vicodin vs. OxyContin

Studies suggest that the combination of OxyContin and acetaminophen is 1.5 times more potent than Vicodin when taken at equal doses for pain relief. However, both medications carry the risk of severe side effects. It is important to consult with a doctor to determine the most suitable medication based on individual medical history. Some professionals consider Vicodin to be less potent than OxyContin.

Dosages of OxyContin and Vicodin


For adults:

Extended-release tablet strengths: 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 60mg, 80mg

Usually taken every 12 hours for pain relief.

For children: Safety and effectiveness should be determined by a doctor.


The usual dosage for adults is 1 to 2 tablets or capsules (hydrocodone 2.5 to 10mg; acetaminophen 300 to 750mg) every 4 to

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