Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone

Last Updated: Sep 20th 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

Many doctors prescribe opioid medicines to treat painful conditions. Although very similar, comparing oxycodone vs hydrocodone highlights their differences. While they’re the most common drugs doctors prescribe, they have highly addictive properties. Understanding these drugs and what they’re capable of helps you make an informed decision about taking them.

What Are Oxycodone and Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone and Oxycodone are semi-synthetic opioids, meaning parts of their makeup comes from natural opiates. Oxycodone is a derivative of thebaine, and hydrocodone is a derivative of codeine.

Additionally, because of their opiate ingredients, the drugs are Schedule II narcotic painkillers. This means you can only legally obtain them with a medical professional’s prescription. However, many people illegally buy them from the street.

Hydrocodone is available in capsule, extended-release capsule, extended-release liquid suspension, syrup, and tablet forms. Oxycodone is available in capsule, concentrated solution, extended-release tablet, liquid solution, and tablet forms. Both drugs are detectable in the urine for up to four days after the last dose. However, hair tests can detect them up to 90 days after.

Comparing Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone

These prescription opioids are both powerful pain relievers. Although their main differences primarily lie in their side effects, their addictive natures differ slightly as well.

Side Effects

Common side effects for these drugs include constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and headache. Additionally, they cause itching, nausea, stomach pain, and vomiting. Oxycodone causes flushing, loss of appetite, mood changes, sweating, and weakness. On the other hand, hydrocodone effects include back and muscle pain, sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose, and swelling in the hands or feet.

Both opioids have common, serious side effects as well. These include difficulty breathing, hives, lightheadedness, seizures, severe drowsiness, and swelling in the face, lips, tongue, or throat. Additionally, oxycodone can cause chest pain, irregular heartbeat, and rash. Other hydrocodone side effects include burning or pain during urination, confusion, and tremors.

Potential for Abuse and Addiction

Many people who need these drugs for pain management, and take them correctly, don’t develop problems. However, oxycodone and hydrocodone have a high addiction risk, especially when people take them for extended periods. Additionally, while hydrocodone has a slightly lower risk of causing dependence, oxycodone is more popular among opioid abusers.

Overdose Side Effects

In addition to the potential for drug abuse and addiction is the risk for overdose. Those who abuse these drugs could experience confusion, drowsiness, fainting, or shallow breathing. Other overdose signs for oxycodone include clammy skin, muscle weakness, and coma. Hydrocodone overdose may also cause painful urination, slow heart rate, and tremors. Most importantly, both drugs could cause death if taken irresponsibly.

Treatment for Pain Pill Addiction Is Available

If you need treatment for a hydrocodone or oxycodone addiction, help is available. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we offer a range of rehab programs and therapies, including:

Don’t let prescription drugs ruin your health. By understanding oxycodone vs hydrocodone, you can now get necessary help at a quality rehab facility so that your body can heal. Dial (866) 319-6126 now to learn how to start your recovery.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.

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