Questions and Answers about OxyContin
1. What kind of medicine is OxyContin?
OxyContin contains oxycodone, a very strong narcotic pain reliever similar to morphine. OxyContin is designed so that the oxycodone is slowly released over time, allowing it to be used twice daily. You should never break, chew, or crush the OxyContin tablet since this causes a large amount of oxycodone to be released from the tablet all at once, potentially resulting in a dangerous or fatal drug overdose.
2. What kind of pain is appropriate to treat with OxyContin?
OxyContin is intended to help relieve pain that is moderate to severe in intensity, when that pain is present all the time, and expected to continue for a long time. This level of pain severity may be caused by a variety of different medical conditions.
3. How do I know if I have the right kind of pain to use OxyContin?
Only a physician can determine if OxyContin is a good choice to manage a your pain. If you have pain every day that lasts for a large part of the day, and the pain is moderate or severe in intensity, depending upon other factors in your medical history, OxyContin may be a good choice for you. Speak with your physician.
If you feel you only need to take a pain reliever occasionally and this adequately treats your pain, OxyContin is NOT the right drug for you. If you only need a pain reliever for a few days, for example following a dental or surgical procedure, OxyContin is not the right drug for you.
4. Are there any activities that I should not perform while using OxyContin for pain relief?
OxyContin may interfere with your ability to do certain things that require your full attention. You should not drive a car, operate heavy machinery, or do other possibly dangerous activities while taking OxyContin.
5. What should I do if I still have pain after I take the OxyContin?
Because OxyContin is a very strong medication, you should not adjust the dose without first speaking with your physician.
6. Can I take other medicines while I am using OxyContin for pain relief?
Combining OxyContin with some other types of medication such as sleeping pills, tranquilizers, and other pain medications may be dangerous due to the risk of interactions of these medications that can result in injury or death. You should speak with your physician before taking any other medicines with OxyContin. You should also tell your physician about all prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements/herbal remedies that you are taking before starting OxyContin.
7. Can I drink an alcoholic beverage while I am using OxyContin for pain relief?
You should not drink any beverage that contains alcohol while you are taking OxyContin. This includes beer, wine, and all distilled liquors. OxyContin and alcoholic beverages may have dangerous interactions that can result in serious injury or death.
8. Will I become addicted to OxyContin if I take it every day?
OxyContin is only intended for moderate to severe pain that is present on a daily basis and that requires a very strong pain reliever. Patients with this type of severe pain condition require daily pain treatment. Taking OxyContin daily can result in physical dependence, a condition in which the body shows signs of narcotic withdrawal if the OxyContin is stopped suddenly. This is not the same thing as addiction, which represents a situation in which people obtain and take narcotics because of a psychological need, and not just to treat a legitimate painful condition. Physical dependence can be treated by slowly under the advice of a physician by slowing decreasing the OxyContin dose when it is no longer needed for the treatment of pain. Concerns of addiction should not prevent patients with appropriate pain conditions from using OxyContin or other narcotics for pain relief.
9. What should I do when I no longer need the OxyContin for pain relief?
When you no longer need OxyContin, the dose should be gradually reduced so that you do not feel sick with withdrawal symptoms. You should ask your physician for a plan on how to gradually decrease the dose and when to stop the OxyContin.
10. Haven't there been press reports about the misuse of OxyContin?
OxyContin is a safe and effective pain medication when properly prescribed and used as directed. OxyContin has also been used as a drug of abuse. You should protect your prescription and your medication from theft and never give OxyContin to anyone else. You should destroy any left over OxyContin tablets that you may have once your physician instructs you to stop taking the medication.
11. Can I take OxyContin if I am pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or planning to nurse my baby?
Your should speak to your physician about the effects of drugs like OxyContin on an unborn or newborn child.
12. Are there any other special precautions I should take with my OxyContin?
Because there is a large dose of medication in each OxyContin tablet, you must be very careful to keep OxyContin stored in a secure location, out of the reach of children. When you no longer need OxyContin for pain relief, you should flush the unused tablets down the toilet.
SOURCE: Food and Drug Administration
Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2007