- Oxycodone vs. hydrocodone comparison of differences and similarities
- What is oxycodone? What is hydrocodone?
- What are the differences in the uses for oxycodone vs. hydrocodone?
- What are the differences in the side effects of oxycodone vs. hydrocodone?
- Are oxycodone and hydrocodone addictive painkillers? What are the withdrawal symptoms of these drugs?
- Are oxycodone and hyrocodone controlled substances?
- What are the differences in the dosages of oxycodone vs. hyrocodone?
- What are the differences in the drug interactions of oxycodone vs. hyrocodone?
- Are oxycodone and hyrocodone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
Oxycodone vs. hydrocodone comparison of differences and similarities
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond) and hydrocodone (Zohydro ER) are strong prescription opioid (narcotic) pain relievers similar to morphine, fentanyl, and methadone.
- These narcotics are prescribed to manage acute or chronic, moderate to severe pain in people who need to take pain medication over a long period of time, and other pain treatments haven't been effective in managing their pain.
- They are available in combination with other pain medication, for example, they each can be combined with acetaminophen (for example, Percocet, Roxicet, Oxycet, Vicodin, Lortab, Norco) to treat moderately severe pain, fever, and inflammation.
- One difference between these two narcotics is that hydrocodone also can be combined with ibuprofen to manage pain, fever, and inflammation. It also can be combined with an expectorant and decongestant (for example, guaifenesin and pseudoephedrine) to treat nasal congestion, cough, and to the loosen mucus people tend to get with the common cold.
- Most narcotics have the same common side effects, for example:
- The main differences between oxycodone are the more serious effects and adverse reactions.
- Both of these pain medications are opioids, and increase the effects of other medication that slows brain function, for example, alcohol, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and skeletal muscle relaxants. If you combine opioids with other medication that slows brain function, it may lead to dangerous impairment of breathing or death.
- Narcotics also are highly addictive, even if you take the correct dosage your doctor prescribed for you.
- If you are an addict or have an addiction problem and you don't take the medication as prescribed; if you crush or snort pills, or inject opioids such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, or fentanyl; you at a higher risk of overdose, and possibly death.
- Interactions are similar between oxycodone and hyrocodone.
What is oxycodone? What is hydrocodone?
Oxycodone and hydrocodone are strong narcotic pain medications similar to morphine and other opioids (narcotics). Doctors prescribe them to manage chronic to severe pain in people who need long-term pain medicine, and haven't responded to other treatments for pain.
Researchers don't know exactly how oxycodone works in decreasing discomfort and increasing pain tolerance. But on the other hand, we do know how hydrocodone works. It works like other opioid narcotics by stimulating the receptors in the brain to increase a person's threshold to pain (the amount of stimulation it takes to feel pain) and reduce how painful it feel it feels (the perception of pain).
What are the differences in the uses for oxycodone vs. hydrocodone?
One difference between these two narcotics is how they are prescribed. Hydrocodone can be combined with other medicine, for example, ibuprofen (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug or NSAID), to relieve pain, decrease inflammation, and reduce a fever (brand name Vicoprofen). Or it can be combined with homatropine (Hycodan) or chlorpheniramine (Tussionex) to relieve pain and suppresses cough.
A similarity between these narcotics is that they both can be combined with other non-narcotic pain medication like acetaminophen to relieve pain, inflammation, and reduce fever (for example, brand names Percocet and Vicodin).
What are the differences in the side effects of oxycodone vs. hydrocodone?
Both medications have common side effects like dizziness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, and sweating. The more dangerous side effects and adverse reactions are the main differences between these narcotics.
Oxycodone may cause more serious side effects and adverse reactions like:
- Loss of energy or strength (asthenia)
- Gas or flatulence
- Dry skin
- Urinary retension
Hydrocodone also may cause more serious side effects and adverse reactions like:
- Peripheral edema (swelling)
- Upper respiratory tract infections
- Muscle spasms
- Urinary tract infections (URIs)
- Back pain
- Hot flashes
- Both opioids can impair thinking and the physical abilities to drive or operate machinery. It can slow (depress) the breathing in the elderly, disabled, and people with serious lung disease.
Latest Chronic Pain News
Are oxycodone and hydrocodone addictive painkillers? What are the withdrawal symptoms of these drugs?
Both of these medications are habit forming (addictive), misused, and abused; as can all strong painkillers. You can become mentally and physically dependent on them when you take them for pain over a long period of time, even at the dosage your doctor has prescribed. Take them as your doctor has prescribed and don't crush or snort pills, or inject the product.
They also react with alcohol and benzodiazepines, for example, alprazolam (Xanax), lorazepam (Ativan), diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), and may cause the patient to become extremely sedated, suffer respiratory depression, coma, and even death.
If you suddenly stop taking either pain medication you may experience withdrawal symptoms like:
People who abuse narcotics and those with addiction disorders misuse strong narcotics to get “high” by crushing, snorting, or injecting them, which results in uncontrolled delivery of the medicine and can lead to overdose and death.
Are oxycodone and hyrocodone controlled substances?
The US Drug Enforcement Agency classifies certain substances, chemicals, and drugs into five (5) classified categories. They are classified by their potential abuse by a patient. Oxycodone and hydrocodone are both Schedule II drugs, which means they have a high potential for physical and psychological addiction, and are considered dangerous to the patient. Both drugs, and any other combinations of these drugs, for example when they are combined with either acetaminophen or ibuprofen (Percocet, Vicodin, Lortab, etc.) are classified as Schedule II drugs. This means that they are considered dangerous, addictive, and are regulated by the DEA and your doctor. It also means that you have to pick up your prescription for pain at your health-care providers office. Your doctor can't call it into your pharmacy; not even for refills.
The only drugs classified as more dangerous by the DEA than opioids are Schedule I drugs. These are illegal drugs, and they are highly addictive like heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote. Schedule III includes drugs have a moderate to low potential for addiction. Examples include Tylenol with codeine, anabolic steroids, and testosterone. Schedule IV medicine has a low potential for abuse and addition. Examples include alprazolam (Xanax), Soma, diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), tramadol (Ultram), and zolpidem (Ambien). Schedule V drugs have the lowest potential for addition. Examples include some cough suppressants, pain medication, and antidiarrheals. Schedule III-V drugs can be called into your pharmacist, including refills.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
What are the differences in the dosages of oxycodone vs. hyrocodone?
Your doctor or other health care professional will tailor your initial dose based on your past history with prescription narcotic pain medication, risks for addiction, abuse, or misuse.
- You should be monitored closely for respiratory depression in the first 24-72 hours of taking oxycodone.
- Take the tablets water and swallow them whole after putting the pill in your mouth. Don't lick or presoak the tablets.
- The usual starting dose of immediate release tablets is 5mg to 30mg every 4 to 6 hours. Some people may need 30 mg or more every 4 hours.
- The usual starting dose for the extended release tablets (is 10mg every 12 hours). These tablets are prescribed by your doctor if you need treatment 24 hours a day for a long period of time. Extended release pills are made to release the medication into your system slowly over an extended period of time. Extended release tablets also have fewer effects and adverse reactions.
- You should only use the 60mg and 80mg tablets or single doses greater than 40mg if you have been using other opioids and have become tolerant of therapy with narcotics.
- The usual adult dosage for oxycodone oral concentrate is 20mg/ml (5mg) every 6 hours.
- The usual adult dosage for the oral solution is 5mg/5ml (10mg to30 mg) every 4 hours.
- You should be monitored closely for respiratory depression in the first 24-72 hours of taking it.
- Capsules should be taken with water and swallowed whole after putting it in your mouth. Don't lick or presoak the capsules.
- The initial dose of is 5mg every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain.
- The initial dose for extended release tablets (ER) is one 10mg capsule twice a day (every 12 hours). This also is the starting dose if you can't tolerate opioid medication. It can be dangerous if it's taken in larger doses in the beginning because it may cause fatal respiratory depression (death).
- You should stop taking all other opioids when you start treatment to avoid overdose. Talk to your doctor before you begin taking it if you are currently taking other narcotic pain medication.
What are the differences in the drug interactions of oxycodone vs. hyrocodone?
The differences between these two opioids is oxycodone interacts, and include:
- It may cause constipation. Talk to your doctor about medications and lifestyle changes to prevent and relieve constipation.
- If you combine oxycodone with drugs that affect activity of particular liver enzymes or discontinuing such drugs may result in a fatal overdose.
- A fatty meal may increase the absorption of oxycodone by 27%
The other drug interactions, warnings and precautions are similar, and include:
Combining these narcotics with other medicine that suppresses the central nervous system (CNS), for example, tranquilizers (Valium), hypnotics (Ambien, Intermezzo), benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Restoril), other narcotics (morphine, fentanyl or other opium based products), and alcohol can increase the risk of respiratory depression (your system is so sedated that your lungs aren't able to take in enough oxygen to breath), which can lead to coma and death.
Combining oxycodone or hydrocodone with other medicine that suppresses the central nervous system (CNS), for example, tranquilizers (Valium), hypnotics (Ambien, Intermezzo), benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Restoril), other narcotics (morphine, fentanyl or other opium based drugs), and alcohol can increase the risk of respiratory depression (your system is so sedated that your lungs aren’t able to take in enough oxygen to breath), which can lead to coma and death.
You shouldn't take these opioids with a type of antidepressant called monoamine oxidase inhibitors or MAOIs (for example, isocarboxazid [Marplan], phenelzine [Nardil], and tranylcypromine [Parnate]) or other drugs that inhibit monoamine oxidase, (for example, linezolid [Zyvox]), because combining these drugs with narcotics can lead to confusion, tremor, hyperactivity, high blood pressure, coma, and even death. If you are taking an MAOI, talk to your doctor before you start taking opium products because you should stop taking MAOIs 14 days before you begin treatment with opioids.
Acetaminophen can cause liver damage when taken in large doses or combined with alcohol. Tylenol liver damage can be avoided if you don't drink alcohol while taking these products, and pay careful attention to the dosage of acetaminophen in combined products, for example, Percocet or Vicodin.
Are oxycodone and hyrocodone safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- The safety of taking hydrocodone during pregnancy or while breastfeeding is not known.
- The safety of taking oxycodone during pregnancy has not been established.
- Small amounts of oxycodone are secreted into breast milk, and may have serious effects in a nursing newborn.
- Infants born to women who were taking any narcotic for a long period of time may have life-threatening signs of respiratory depression or withdrawal symptoms.
Oxycodone and hydrocodone are prescription opioid pain medications, both of which are controlled substances. Both drugs have similar uses and side effects, for example dizziness, sedation, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, constipation, headache, and rash.
Oxycodone and hydrocodone addictive and may cause withdrawal symptoms if discontinued abruptly.
Both oxycodone and hydrocodone are available in combination with other drugs. Examples of brand names include Percocet, Vicodin, and Zohydro ER.
Drug interactions, dosage, uses, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Appendix Pain? Appendicitis, Surgery, and More
What causes appendicitis? Appendix pain can lead to appendicitis. Learn about appendicitis symptoms and signs. Explore the steps...
Low Back Pain: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, Relief
Do you suffer from low back pain? Watch this slideshow to see common triggers of lower back pain and what kind of treatments you...
Chronic Pain Syndrome: Treatment and Management for CPS
What is chronic pain syndrome (CPS)? See causes, symptoms and treatment options including medications. Learn about pain...
Exercises for Knee Osteoarthritis and Joint Pain
Learn about osteoarthritis and exercises that relieve knee osteoarthritis pain, stiffness and strengthen the knee joint and...
Back Pain: 16 Back Pain Truths and Myths
Which mattress is best for back pain? Back pain conditions are very common. Learn the causes of upper and lower back pain. Find...
Pain Management: 15 Easy Ways to Reduce Chronic Pain
Chronic pain can be a symptom of many conditions, including arthritis, headaches, and others. Comprehensive pain management...
Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu
What natural remedies work for the flu and common cold? Many claim cold symptoms and flu symptoms can be relieved with Echinacea,...
Nasal Irrigation: Natural Relief for Cold & Allergy Symptoms
Clogged sinuses and congestion bothering you? Nasal irrigation can relieve sinus symptoms associated with colds and allergies....
Common Cold Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Take this quiz to learn the truth behind the infectious, contagious, uncomfortable disease known as the common cold. Test your...
Cold & Flu Quiz: Influenza vs. Common Cold
Aches? Pain? Fever? This Cold & Flu Quiz tests your knowledge on the difference between coming down with the common cold and...
Back Pain Quiz: Test Your Back Pain IQ
There are numerous causes of chronic lower back pain and only one ailment gets more complaints. What is it? Quiz your knowledge...
Pain Quiz: Test Your IQ of Pain
Is pain all in the brain? Take the Pain Quiz to learn everything you've ever wanted to know about the unpleasant sensation we...
Cold, Fever and Flu Treatment in Children: Medications and Home Remedies
Colds and fevers are some of the most common ailments in children. Learn common cold symptoms, treatment options, over the...
A Cold or The Flu? How to Tell the Difference
Learn common symptoms of a cold and the flu. Discover the difference between a cold and the flu. Read about cold and flu...
Home Remedies for Sick Children
Home remedies for kids can help with things like colds, flu, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, fever, and upset stomach. Eating...
Related Disease Conditions
Kidney Pain Symptoms, Treatment, and Cure
Kidney pain has a variety of causes and symptoms. Infection, injury, trauma, bleeding disorders, kidney stones, and less common conditions may lead to kidney pain. Symptoms associated with kidney pain may include fever, vomiting, nausea, flank pain, and painful urination. Treatment of kidney pain depends on the cause of the pain.
Gallbladder Pain (Gall Bladder Pain)
Gallbladder pain (often misspelled "gall bladder") is generally produced by of five problems, biliary colic, cholecystitis, gallstones, and pancreatitis. Causes of gallbladder pain include intermittent blockage of ducts by gallstones or gallstone inflammation and/or sludge that also may involve irritation or infection of surrounding tissues, or when a bile duct is completely blocked. Treatment of gallbladder depends on the cause, which may include surgery.
Cough: 19 Tips on How to Stop a Cough
Coughing is a reflex that helps a person clear their airways of irritants. There are many causes of an excessive or severe cough including irritants like cigarette and secondhand smoke, pollution, air fresheners, medications like beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, the common cold, GERD, lung cancer, and heart disease.Natural and home remedies to help cure and soothe a cough include stay hydrated, gargle saltwater, use cough drops or lozenges, use herbs and supplements like ginger, mint, licorice, and slippery elm, and don't smoke. Over-the-counter products (OTC)to cure and soothe a cough include cough suppressants and expectorants, and anti-reflux drugs. Prescription drugs that help cure a cough include narcotic medications, antibiotics, inhaled steroids, and anti-reflux drugs like proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, for example, omeprazole (Prilosec), rabeprazole (Aciphex), and pantoprazole (Protonix).
Lower Back Pain
There are many causes of back pain. Pain in the low back can relate to the bony lumbar spine, discs between the vertebrae, ligaments around the spine and discs, spinal cord and nerves, muscles of the low back, internal organs of the pelvis and abdomen, and the skin covering the lumbar area.
Coccydynia (Tailbone Pain)
Coccydynia is an inflammation of the bony area (tailbone or coccyx) located between the buttocks. Coccydynia is associated with pain and tenderness at the tip of the tailbone between the buttocks. Pain is often worsened by sitting. There are many causes of tailbone pain that can mimic coccydynia including: fracture, pilonidal cysts, infection, and sciatica. Treatment methods include medication and rest.
Shoulder and Neck Pain
Shoulder and neck pain may be caused by bursitis, a pinched nerve, whiplash, tendinitis, a herniated disc, or a rotator cuff injury. Symptoms also include weakness, numbness, coolness, color changes, swelling, and deformity. Treatment at home may incorporate resting, icing, and elevating the injury. A doctor may prescribe pain medications and immobilize the injury.
Foot pain may be caused by injuries (sprains, strains, bruises, and fractures), diseases (diabetes, Hansen disease, and gout), viruses, fungi, and bacteria (plantar warts and athlete's foot), or even ingrown toenails. Pain and tenderness may be accompanied by joint looseness, swelling, weakness, discoloration, and loss of function. Minor foot pain can usually be treated with rest, ice, compression, and elevation and OTC medications such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen. Severe pain should be treated by a medical professional.
Neck Pain (Cervical Pain)
Neck pain (cervical pain) may be caused by any number of disorders and diseases. Tenderness is another symptom of neck pain. Though treatment for neck pain really depends upon the cause, treatment typically may involve heat/ice application, traction, physical therapy, cortisone injection, topical anesthetic creams, and muscle relaxants.
Ankle Pain (Tendinitis)
Ankle pain is commonly due to a sprain or tendinitis. The severity of ankle sprains ranges from mild (which can resolve within 24 hours) to severe (which can require surgical repair). Tendinitis of the ankle can be caused by trauma or inflammation.
Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction (SI Joint Pain)
Sacroiliac joint (SI) dysfunction is a general term to reflect pain in the SI joints. Causes of SI joint pain include osteoarthritis, abnormal walking pattern, and disorders that can cause SI joint inflammation including gout, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Treatment includes oral medications, cortisone injections, and surgery.
Acute injuries, medical conditions, and chronic use conditions are causes of knee pain. Symptoms and signs that accompany knee pain include redness, swelling, difficulty walking, and locking of the knee. To diagnose knee pain, a physician will perform a physical exam and also may order X-rays, arthrocentesis, blood tests, or a CT scan or MRI. Treatment of knee pain depends upon the cause of the pain.
Elbow pain is most often the result of tendinitis, which can affect the inner or outer elbow. Treatment includes ice, rest, and medication for inflammation. Inflammation, redness, warmth, swelling, tenderness, and decreased range of motion are other symptoms associated with elbow pain. Treatment for elbow pain depends upon the nature of the patient's underlying disease or condition.
Chronic cough is a cough that does not go away and is generally a symptom of another disorder such as asthma, allergic rhinitis, sinus infection, cigarette smoking, GERD, postnasal drip, bronchitis, pneumonia, medications, and less frequently tumors or other lung disease. Chronic cough treatment is based on the cause, but may be soothed natural and home remedies.
Arthritis, bursitis, IT band syndrome, fracture, and strain are just some of the causes of hip pain. Associated symptoms and signs include swelling, tenderness, difficulty sleeping on the hip, and loss of range of motion of the hip. Treatment depends upon the cause of the hip pain but may include anti-inflammatory medications and icing and resting the hip joint.
Pain management and treatment can be simple or complex, according to its cause. There are two basic types of pain, nociceptive pain and neuropathic pain. Some causes of neuropathic pain include: complex regional pain syndrome, interstitial cystitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. There are a variety of methods to treat chronic pain, which are dependant on the type of pain experienced.
Chronic pain is pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over a long period of time. In contrast to acute pain that arises suddenly in response to a specific injury and is usually treatable, chronic pain persists over time and is often resistant to medical treatments.
Pelvic Pain (in Women and Men)
Pelvic pain is described as pain, usually in the lower pelvic area. Causes of acute and chronic pelvic pain in women include endometriosis, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, menstrual cramps, ovarian cysts, tumors, or fibroids, ovulation, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or congestion syndrome, vulva pain, and rarely cancer. Pelvic pain during pregnancy may be caused by miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy), preterm or premature labor, and placental abruption. Causes of pelvic pain in men include prostate problems, testicular pain, and groin pain. Causes of pelvic pain in men and women include kidney stones, appendicitis, UTIs, IBD, and STDs. Signs and symptoms associated with pelvic pain depend on the cause, but man include pain during or after sexual intercourse, abdominal pain, distension, and tenderness, diarrhea, constipation, vaginal discharge or bleeding, blood, pus, in the urine, cloudy urine, blood in the stool, stool color changes, and low back pain. The cause of pelvic pain is diagnosed by a physical exam, blood tests, and imaging procedures. Treatment for pelvic pain depends on the cause.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease that causes drug-seeking behavior and drug use despite negative consequences to the user and those around him. Though the initial decision to use drugs is voluntary, changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self-control and ability to make the right decisions and increase the urge to take drugs. Drug abuse and addiction are preventable.
Myofascial Pain Syndrome
Myofascial pain syndrome is muscle pain in the body's soft tissues due to injury or strain. Symptoms include muscle pain with tender points and fatigue. Treatment usually involves physical therapy, massage therapy, or trigger point injection.
Is a Cough Contagious?
There are many types of coughs: for example, dry cough, wet cough, a barking cough, whooping cough, stress induced cough, acute cough, and chronic cough. Cough is a symptom of an underlying condition or disease. Treatment of cough as a symptom is generally with OTC lozenges and liquids. The cause of the cough will be necessary to treat.
Teen Drug Abuse
Drugs commonly abused by teens include tobacco products, marijuana, cold medications, inhalants, depressants, stimulants, narcotics, hallucinogens, PCP, ketamine, Ecstasy, and anabolic steroids. Some of the symptoms and warning signs of teen drug abuse include reddened whites of eyes, paranoia, sleepiness, excessive happiness, seizures, memory loss, increased appetite, discolored fingertips, lips or teeth, and irritability. Treatment of drug addiction may involve a combination of medication, individual, and familial interventions.
Pain Management: Musculoskeletal Pain
Natural menopause is the permanent ending of menstruation that is not brought on by any type of medical treatment. For women undergoing natural menopause, the process is described in three stages: perimenopause, menopause, and postmenopause. However, not all women undergo natural menopause. Some women experience induced menopause as a result of surgery or medical treatments, such as chemotherapy and pelvic radiation therapy.
Pregnancy and Drugs (Prescription and OTC)
Taking prescription medications or over-the-counter drugs or supplements should be discussed with your doctor. There are some medications that have been found to cause no problems in pregnancy, however, medications such as Accutane for acne, should never be taken during pregnancy.
Cancer pain results from the tumor pressing on nerves or invading bones or organs. Cancer treatments like chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery can also cause pain. Over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription medications, radiation, biofeedback, and relaxation techniques are just some treatments for cancer pain.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- Oxycodone vs. Tramadol for Pain
- Pain Medications (Narcotics)
- Dilaudid vs. Percocet for Pain
- Benzodiazepines vs. Narcotics (Opioids)
- Oxycodone for Pain (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond)
- hydrocodone/acetaminophen (Vicodin, Norco)
- Hydrocodone vs. Hydromorphone (Differences between Side Effects)
- Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen, Roxicet, Tylox, Oxycet)
- Percocet vs. Lortab
- hydrocodone (Zohydro ER)
- hydrocodone/homatropine (Tussigon)
- chlorpheniramine and hydrocodone, Tussionex, TussiCaps, Tussionex Pennkinetic, Vituz
- hydrocodone and ibuprofen, Vicoprofen
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.
FDA. "HYSLINGA® ER."
FDA Prescribing Information. "Zohydro® ER
FDA. "Medication Guide; OXYCONTIN®."
Jarzyna, D. et al. "American Society for Pain Management Nursing Guidelines on Monitoring for Opioid-Induced Sedation and Respiratory Depression." Medscape.
United States Drug Enforcement Administration. "Drug Scheduling."