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Hydrocodone Vs. Oxycodone

Hydrocodone Vs. Oxycodone

Hydrocodone vs. oxycodone has been a debatable topic for many years. Doctors generally prescribe these drugs as severe pain relievers. This article discusses some of the points regarding the differences between these two drugs.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Last Updated: Mar 19, 2018
Hydrocodone and oxycodone are narcotic drugs that are chemically similar, and used as painkillers to relieve mild to severe pain and suppress excessive coughing. These are prescription drugs that are significantly becoming addictive. They can cause a lot of health hazards when used excessively.
Both drugs are available in generic form and do not cost much. There are different strengths of these drugs available and both have similar side effects and drug interactions. The withdrawal symptoms of both the drugs are also more or less similar. The government has monitored and regulated the use and distribution of these habit-forming drugs.
Difference Between Hydrocodone and Oxycodone
The following information will give you an overview of both the drugs. Both the drugs are similar to morphine, and thus have a high potential of a person becoming addictive to the drug. They help provide patients relief from pain and coughing, but also give them a feeling of euphoria and relaxation. Constipation, dizziness, sedation, and respiratory depression are some of the side effects of hydrocodone and oxycodone. When both of them are taken in large doses in a short period, it leads to many health problems. These serious health problems include liver toxicity, respiratory arrest, and even death.
Characteristics of Hydrocodone
  • One of narcotic analgesic drugs prescribed by doctors to treat mild to moderate pain and control coughing.
  • It is classified as a Schedule II narcotic drug under Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
  • Medications like vicodin, lortab, and lorcet that contain hydrocodone are classified under Schedule III list of controlled substances. Thus, suggesting the abuse of this drug is not as high as compared to oxycodone.
  • Vicodin and other similar drugs are made from a combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen.
  • The doctor can 'call in' the drug from the pharmacy as it is not as stringently regulated as oxycodone.
Characteristics of Oxycodone
  • Oxycodone is a 5 times more potent drug than hydroconone.
  • It is used to treat moderate to severe pain due to trauma, injury, and especially for people with chronic pain due to cancer and coughing.
  • Also, an analgesic narcotic, oxycodone is Schedule II narcotic drug under Controlled Substances Act of 1970, and all drugs under oxycodone are also placed under the same agenda. This proves that this drug has a higher abuse potential than hydrocodone.
  • The generic names of oxycodone are percocet, tylox, roxilox, etc. These drugs are also made from a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone.
  • The doctor cannot 'call in' the drug as hydrocodone, and one needs a written prescription from a doctor to buy it from the pharmacy.
As hydrocodone is more easy available, doctors prescribe it more often for patients in all age groups. It has been observed that young children in 8th to 12th grades are using vicodin for non-medical purposes, and the rate of addiction to this drug is growing. This has led the Drug Enforcement Administration to consider moving Schedule III drugs of hydrocodone to Schedule II. Oxycodone is mostly abused by 12th graders, and many states have taken up legislation to monitor the use and distribution of the drug. These states include, California, Hawaii, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Virginia.
Always follow the advise of your physician who prescribes this drug for pain management, and make sure you get off the drug as soon as the treatment is over.