- Surprising Reasons You're in Pain Slideshow
- Take the Pain Quiz
- Joint-Friendly Exercises to Reduce RA Pain Slideshow
- Oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) for pain review
- What are oxycodone and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), and how do they work?
- What brand names are available for oxycodone and hydrocodone/acetaminophen?
- What are the uses for oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?
- What are the side effects of oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?
- How should oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) be taken (dosage)?
- Which drugs interact with oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?
- Are oxycodone and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
Oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) for pain review
- Oxycodone is a strong opioid narcotic pain reliever (analgesic), and Vicodin is a combination of two drugs, hydrocodone (a strong narcotic pain reliever) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Oxycodone and hydrocodone are similar to other drugs that are opioid narcotics, for example, methadone, fentanyl, and morphine.
- Both oxycodone and Vicodin are prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. However, hydrocodone also may prescribed to treat fever, inflammation, and cough.
- Oxycodone also is available in combination with acetaminophen (Percocet, Roxicet, Tylox, Oxycet).
- Other brand names for hydrocodone and acetaminophen, for example, include Vicodin ES, Vicodin HP, Lortab, Lorcet, and Norco.
- Common side effects of both oxycodone and Vicodin include:
- The dosages for oxycodone and Vicodin are not the same and should be reviewed prior to taking either medication.
- Oxycodone and Vicodin interact with several other medications, for example, neither drug should be taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI), a class of antidepressants. Combining oxycodone or Vicodin with alcohol or other drugs may lead to increased sedation and cause confusion.
- Acetaminophen taken in large doses or when used with other drugs like alcohol may lead to liver toxicity or liver damage.
- Oxycodone and Vicodin are listed as schedule II drugs by the Controlled Substances Act because their use may lead to addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
What are oxycodone and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), and how do they work?
- Oxycodone: Oxycodone is prescribed strong narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone. The precise mechanism of action is not known but may involve stimulation of opioid receptors in the brain. Oxycodone does not eliminate the sensation of pain but decreases discomfort by increasing the tolerance to pain. In addition to tolerance to pain, oxycodone also causes sedation and depression of respiration.
- Vicodin is a prescribed combination of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is a strong narcotic pain-reliever (analgesic) and a cough suppressant, similar to codeine. Hydrocodone blocks the receptors on nerve cells in the brain that give rise to the sensation of pain. Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). Acetaminophen works by elevating the threshold to pain, that is, in order for pain to be felt, greater stimulation of the nerves responsible for the sensation of pain is necessary. It reduces fever through its action on the temperature-regulating center of the brain. Frequently, hydrocodone and acetaminophen are combined to achieve pain relief, as in Vicodin.
What brand names are available for oxycodone and hydrocodone/acetaminophen?
Oxycodone brand names
Examples of brands of oxycodone available in the US include:
There are many other brand name for oxycodone to include combinations with other drugs, for example:
Hydrocodone and acetaminophen brand names
Brand names available for hydrocodone and acetaminophen in the US include:
- Vicodin ES
- Vicodin HP
- Lorcet Plus
- Anexsia is a discontinued brand and is no longer available in the US.
What are the uses for oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?
- 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.
- Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) is prescribed for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain. It also may be used as a cough suppressant.
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What are the side effects of oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?
Oxycodone side effects
The most frequent side effects of oxycodone oxycodone include:
Other side effects of oxycodone include:
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.
Is oxycodone additive?
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.
Vicodin side effects
Common side effects of Vicodin are:
- nausea, and
Other important side effects of Vicodin include:
- constipation, and
- spasm of the ureter, which can lead to difficulty in urinating.
Hydrocodone can impair thinking and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery. Hydrocodone can depress breathing, and should be used with caution in elderly, debilitated patients and in patients with serious lung disease.
Acetaminophen can cause severe liver failure if excessive amounts are used and when combined with chronic alcohol use or other drugs that also impair liver function.
Is Vicodin addictive?
Hydrocodone may be habit forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when used for short-term pain relief.
How should oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) be taken (dosage)?
- 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 of time. Extended release tablets should not be broken, crushed or chewed but should be swallowed whole. Braking, crushing or chewing extended release tablets may lead to rapid absorption of the medication and dangerous levels of oxycodone.
- The 60 and 80 tablets or single doses greater than 40 mg should only be used by patients who have been using opioids and have become tolerant to opioid therapy. 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 dose of Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) for adults is 1 to 2 tablets or capsules (hydrocodone 2.5 to 10 mg; acetaminophen) 300 to 750 mg) every 4 to 6 hours or 15 mL of liquid every 4 to 6 hours as needed.
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Which drugs interact with oxycodone vs. Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?
Oxycodone drug interactions
- Oxycodone, like other narcotic pain-relievers, increases the effects of drugs that slow brain function, such as:
- Combined use of the above drugs and oxycodone may lead to increased respiratory depression.
- Oxycodone should not be taken with any of the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) class of antidepressants, for example, isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), selegiline (Eldepryl), and procarbazine (Matulane) or other drugs that inhibit monoamine oxidase, for example, linezolid (Zyvox). Such combinations may lead to confusion, high blood pressure, tremor, hyperactivity, coma, and death. Oxycodone should not be administered within 14 days of stopping an MAOI.
- Since oxycodone causes constipation, the use of antidiarrheals, for example, diphenoxylate and atropine (Lomotil) and loperamide (Imodium), in persons taking oxycodone, can lead to severe constipation.
- Drugs which stimulate and also block opioid receptors for example, pentazocine, nalbuphine (Nubain), butorphanol (Stadol), and buprenorphine (Subutex) may reduce the effect of oxycodone and may precipitate withdrawal symptoms.
- Combining oxycodone with drugs that affect activity of certain liver enzymes or discontinuing such drugs may result in fatal oxycodone overdose.
- A fatty meal may increase the absorption of oxycodone by 27%.
Vicodin drug interactions
- Combining alcohol and other sedatives with hydrocodone can lead to increased sedation and even cause confusion.
- Combining carbamazepine (Tegretol, Tegretol XR , Equetro, Carbatrol) with acetaminophen may increase the risk of liver toxicity.
- Hydrocodone should not be taken with any of the monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) class of antidepressants, for example, isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), selegiline (Eldepryl), and procarbazine (Matulane) or other drugs that inhibit monoamine oxidase, for example, linezolid (Zyvox). Such combinations may lead to confusion, high blood pressure, tremor, hyperactivity, coma, and death. Hydrocodone should not be administered within 14 days of stopping an MAOI.
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Are oxycodone and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?
Oxycodone, pregnancy, and breastfeeding safety
- 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 and may cause side effects in the newborn.
Safety of Vicodin during pregnancy or while breastfeeding
- There are no adequate studies of hydrocodone and acetaminophen in pregnant women.
- Hydrocodone/acetaminophen is excreted in breast milk, and, therefore should be used cautiously by nursing mothers.
Oxycodone and Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) are narcotic medications prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. Vicodin also may be prescribed to treat fever, inflammation, and cough.
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Related Disease Conditions
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.
Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.
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.
Migraine headache is a type of headache associated with a sensitivity to light, smells, or sounds, eye pain, severe pounding on one side of the head, and sometimes nausea and vomiting. The exact cause of migraine headaches is not known. Triggers for migraine headaches include certain foods, stress, hormonal changes, strong stimuli (loud noises), and oversleeping. Treatment guidelines for migraines include medicine, pain management, diet changes, avoiding foods that trigger migraines, staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, and exercising regularly. Prevention of migraine triggers include getting regular exercise, drinking water daily, reducing stress, and avoiding trigger foods.
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.
Burns (First Aid)
Burn types are based on their severity: first-degree burns, second-degree burns, and third-degree burns. First-degree burns are similar to a painful sunburn. The damage is more severe with second-degree burns, leading to blistering and more intense pain. The skin turns white and loses sensation with third-degree burns. Burn treatment depends upon the burn location, total burn area, and intensity of the burn.
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.
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.
Tension Headache (Symptoms, Relief, Causes, Treatment)
A tension headache s one of the most common types of headaches, and the exact cause is not known. Factors that may contribute to tension or stress headaches are lack of sleep, increased stress (referred to as a stress headache), skipping meals, dehydration, medical diseases or conditions, anxiety, or changes at home, work, or school. Treatment of tension headaches include prescription and OTC medications, stress management, and treating any underlying illness or condition.
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.
Cluster headaches are a type of headache that recurs over a period. Episodes can last one to three times a day during this time, which may last from 2 weeks to 3 months. The three main types of treatments for cluster headaches are, 1) Abortive medications that work to stop the process in the brain that causes migraines and stops the symptoms too. 2) Preventive prescription medications, or 3) surgery which involves blocking the trigeminal nerve.
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.
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.
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
- acetaminophen (Tylenol, Tylenol Arthritis Pain, Tylenol Ext, Little Fevers Children's Fever/Pain)
- Acetaminophen vs. Ibuprofen for Pain (Differences in Side Effects and Dosage)
- Dilaudid vs. Percocet for Pain
- Benzodiazepines vs. Narcotics (Opioids)
- Oxycodone for Pain (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Oxecta, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER, Roxybond)
- Hydrocodone vs. Hydromorphone (Differences between Side Effects)
- Ketorolac vs. tramadol
- Ketorolac vs. hydrocodone
Prevention & Wellness
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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.
Drug Enforcement Agency. "Drug Fact Sheet Oxycodone."
FDA Prescribing Information.
U.S. Department of Justice; Drug Enforcement Administration; Diversion Control Division. "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding OxyContin®."
United States Drug Enforcement Administration. "Drug Schedules."