Oxycontin treats severe pain. May cause stomach upset and taking it with food may help. May also cause constipation.

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Pharmacist Anyssa S. Garza, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Oxycontin
Opioid Analgesics
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Opioid Analgesics
Pharmacist Anyssa S. Garza, PharmD overviews the uses and common side effects of Oxycontin
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Oxycontin Overview


Oxycontin is a prescription medication used to treat severe pain. Oxycontin belongs to a group of drugs called opioids which work by stopping pain signals made in the brain.

Oxycontin comes as extended-release tablets and is taken every 12 hours.

Common side effects of Oxycontin include constipation, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how Oxycontin affects you.

Patient Ratings for Oxycontin

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  • Other
  • Pain, Postoperative

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  • A couple weeks
  • A month or so
  • A few months
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Oxycontin Cautionary Labels


Uses of Oxycontin

Oxycontin is a prescription medicine used to treat moderate to severe pain.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.



Oxycontin Drug Class

Oxycontin is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Oxycontin

Serious side effects have been reported. See "Drug Precautions" section.

Common side effects include:

  • nausea
  • constipation
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • itching

This is not a complete list of Oxycontin side effects. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Oxycontin Interactions

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Be especially careful about taking other medicines that make you sleepy such as:

  • pain medicines
  • sleeping pills
  • anxiety medicines
  • antihistamines
  • anti-depressants
  • tranquilizers
  • anti-nausea medicine
  • alcohol

This is not a complete list of Oxycontin drug interactions. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Oxycontin Precautions

  • Do not drive, operate heavy machinery, or participate in any other possibly dangerous activities until you know how you react to this medicine. This medication can make you sleepy.
  • Do not drink alcohol while using Oxycontin. It may increase the chance of getting dangerous side effects.
  • Do not take other medicines without your doctor’s approval. Other medicines include prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and supplements. Be especially careful about products that make you sleepy.

Do not take Oxycontin if:

  • your doctor did not prescribe it for you
  • are allergic to any of its ingredients
  • have had a severe allergic reaction to a medicine that contains oxycodone. Ask your healthcare provider if you are not sure.
  • are having an asthma attack or have severe asthma, trouble breathing, or any lung problems
  • have a bowel blockage called paralytic ileus
  • have recently had a head injury
  • you have a history of drug or alcohol dependence
  • you have had a severe allergic reaction to codeine, hydrocodone, dihydrocodeine, or oxycodone (such as Tylox, Tylenol with Codeine, or Vicodin). A severe allergic reaction includes a severe rash, hives, breathing problems, or dizziness.

Oxycontin can cause serious breathing problems that can become life-threatening, especially if Oxycontin is used the wrong way. Call your healthcare provider or get medical help right away if:

  • your breathing slows down
  • you have shallow breathing (little chest movement with breathing)
  • you feel faint, dizzy, confused, or
  • you have any other unusual symptoms

Oxycontin can cause your blood pressure to drop. This can make you feel dizzy and faint if you get up too fast from sitting or lying down. Low blood pressure is also more likely to happen if you take other medicines that can also lower your blood pressure. Severe low blood pressure can happen if you lost blood or take certain other medicines.

There is a chance of abuse or addiction with Oxycontin. The chance is higher if you are or have been addicted to or abused other medicines, street drugs, or alcohol, or if you have a history of mental problems.

Oxycontin Food Interactions

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Oxycontin and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor.

Inform MD

Tell your doctor if you:

  • have trouble breathing or lung problems
  • have had a head injury
  • have liver or kidney problems
  • have adrenal gland problems, such as Addison's disease
  • have severe scoliosis that affects your breathing
  • have thyroid problems
  • have enlargement of your prostate or a urethral stricture
  • have or had convulsions or seizures
  • have a past or present drinking problem or alcoholism
  • have hallucinations or other severe mental problems
  • have past or present substance abuse or drug addiction
  • have any other medical conditions
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant
  • are breastfeeding

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. 

Oxycontin and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

The FDA categorizes medications based on safety for use during pregnancy. Five categories - A, B, C, D, and X, are used to classify the possible risks to an unborn baby when a medication is taken during pregnancy.

Oxycontin falls into category B. There are no well-done studies that have been done in humans with Oxycontin. But in animal studies, pregnant animals were given this medication, and the babies did not show any medical issues related to this medication.

Oxycontin and Lactation

Oxycontin has been detected in human breast milk. Because of the possibility for adverse reactions in nursing infants from Oxycontin, a choice should be made whether to stop nursing or to stop use of this medication. The importance of the drug to the mother should be considered.


Oxycontin Usage

Oxycontin comes as an extended-release tablet and is taken every 12 hours.

The instructions for use will vary depending on which form of the medication you have been prescribed. Follow the directions carefully.

Oxycontin may cause stomach upset. Taking it with food may help.

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once unless your doctor tells you to.

Oxycontin Dosage

Take Oxycontin exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully. Your doctor will determine the best dose for you. The dosage of Oxycontin must be individualized.

Oxycontin Overdose

If you take more Oxycontin than prescribed, or overdose, call your local emergency number (such as 911) or your local Poison Control Center right away, or get emergency help.

Other Requirements

  • Keep Oxycontin out of the reach of children. Accidental overdose by a child is dangerous and can lead to death.
  • Store Oxycontin at 59˚F to 86˚F (15˚C to 30˚C).
  • Keep Oxycontin in the container it comes in.
  • Keep the container tightly closed and away from light.

Oxycontin is a federally controlled substance (CII) because it can be abused or lead to dependence. Keep this medication in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse. Selling or giving away Oxycontin may harm others, and is against the law.