- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
Oxycodone vs. codeine
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, and Roxybond) and codeine are both narcotic pain relievers. Both are also used as cough suppressants similar to morphine and hydrocodone.
- Oxycodone and codeine also cause sedation and drowsiness, and depress breathing.
- Both drugs are available in generic form.
- Both oxycodone and codeine are often available in forms combined with other non-narcotic pain relievers such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or aspirin.
- Similar side effects of oxycodone and codeine include lightheadedness, dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, itching, and rash.
- Combining opioids such as oxycodone and codeine with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants may result in severe sedation, respiratory depression, coma, and death.
- Both oxycodone and codeine have potential for abuse and addiction. Withdrawal symptoms for both drugs include restlessness, watery eyes, runny nose, yawning, sweating, chills, muscle pain, and dilated pupils.
Quick GuideChronic Pain Syndrome: Treatment and Management for CPS
What is oxycodone? What is codeine? How do they work?
Codeine is another narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine and hydrocodone. The mechanism of action of codeine is not known but codeine binds to receptors in the brain and increases tolerance to pain, decreasing discomfort, but the pain still is apparent to the patient. Codeine also causes sedation and drowsiness, and depresses breathing. Codeine is often combined with acetaminophen or aspirin for more effective pain relief.
What are the uses for oxycodone vs. codeine?
Oxycodone is prescribed for the management of pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term treatment with a narcotic, and for which alternative treatment options are inadequate for the relief of moderate to severe pain.
Codeine is used for the relief of mild to moderately severe pain and for suppressing cough.
What are the side effects of oxycodone vs. codeine?
Codeine side effects
The most frequent side effects of codeine include:
- Shortness of breath
- Allergic reactions
- Abdominal pain
Serious side effects of codeine include:
- Life-threatening respiratory depression
- Severe low blood pressure
- Adrenal insufficiency
- Accidental ingestion of codeine can result in fatal overdose
Oxycodone side effects
The most frequent side effects of oxycodone include:
- Dry mouth
- Urinary retention
Other side effects of oxycodone include:
- Heart attack
- Abnormal heartbeats
Oxycodone can depress breathing and is used with caution in elderly, debilitated patients and in patients with serious lung disease.
Oxycodone can impair thinking and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery.
Oxycodone is habit forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when used for short-term pain relief. If oxycodone is suddenly withdrawn after prolonged use, symptoms of withdrawal may develop. The dose of oxycodone should be gradually reduced in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
What is the dosage for oxycodone vs. codeine?
- The usual starting dose using immediate release oxycodone tablets is 5 to 30 mg every 4 to 6 hours. Patients who have never received opioids should start with 5-15 mg every 4 to 6 hours. Some patients may require 30 mg or more every 4 hours.
- The usual starting dose using extended release tablets is 10 mg every 12 hours. Extended release tablets are used when around the clock treatment is required for an extended period. Extended release tablets should not be broken, crushed, or chewed but should be swallowed whole. Breaking, crushing or chewing extended release tablets may lead to rapid absorption of the drug and dangerous levels of oxycodone.
- Patients who have been using opioids and have become tolerant to opioid therapy should only use the 60 and 80 tablets or single doses greater than 40 mg. Administration of large doses to opioid-naïve patients may lead to profound depressed breathing. Administration of large doses to opioid-naïve patients may lead to profound depression of breathing.
- The usual adult dose of the oral concentrate (20 mg/ml) is 5 mg every 6 hours.
- The usual adult dose for the oral solution (5 mg/5 ml) is 10-30 mg every 4 hours.
- The usual adult dose of codeine for pain is 15-60 mg every 4-6 hours as needed.
- The dose for cough is 10 to 20 mg every 4-6 hours as needed.
- The maximum dose for treating cough is 120 mg every 24 hours.
Are oxycodone or codeine safe to take if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Safety during pregnancy has not been established. Children born to mothers who were taking oxycodone for a prolonged period may exhibit respiratory depression or withdrawal symptoms.
- Small amounts of oxycodone are secreted in breast milk, which may cause side effects in the newborn.
- Small amounts of codeine are secreted in breast milk, but the risk of adverse events in the infant is small.
Codeine and oxycodone are both opioid (narcotic) pain relievers and cough suppressants. Codeine and oxycodone both are similar to hydrocodone and morphine. Similar side effects of oxycodone and codeine include constipation, dry mouth, itching, rash, dizziness, sedation, and lightheadedness. Serious side effects of codeine include severe low blood pressure (hypotension), adrenal insufficiency, and life-threatening respiratory depression. Serious side effects of oxycodone include heart attack, depression, and abnormal heartbeats.
Both codeine and oxycodone are addictive when taken long-term, and may cause withdrawal symptoms if stopped suddenly. Oxycodone or codeine taken accidentally can result in a fatal overdose.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
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Treatment & Diagnosis
- Muscle Pain (Myalgia)
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- Pain Management: Dealing with Back Pain
- Pain Management
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Medications & Supplements
- Tramadol: for Pain (Ultram, Ultram ER, Conzip)
- tramadol/acetaminophen - oral, Ultracet
- Tramadol vs. Codeine
- codeine (for Pain)
- Oxycodone for Pain (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond)
- Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen, Roxicet, Tylox, Oxycet)
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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
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