OxyContin is a prescription medication that is an opiate brand of oxycodone. This type of controlled-release medication works by changing the way the brain and central nervous system experience pain. As such, this extremely powerful medication is meant to help people who suffer from moderate to intense, severe pain. Furthermore, doctors will oftentimes prescribe this medication as a means to alleviate individuals from the oftentimes constant pain they are experiencing so that they may find a period of relief so that they can recover. However, while this medication’s primary objective is to help people who suffer from severe, chronic pain, the unfortunate reality is that OxyContin remains one of the most abused drugs in the U.S.  

To make matters worse, both oxycodone and OxyContin are extremely habit-forming, increasing the chances of an addiction for the user. Furthermore, OxyContin is associated with heroin and fentanyl abuse, both of which can cause serious health implications, and most particularly, death. As such, it is imperative for the user to understand what the side effects of OxyContin are, especially when abusing the drug, what the withdrawal symptoms are from detoxing off this medication, and how to seek help if addiction to OxyContin is in play. 

Side Effects of an OxyContin High

Although OxyContin can bring tremendous relief to someone suffering from severe, long-lasting pain, the dangers of using this drug are becoming more evident than ever as increasingly more people are abusing this drug. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently taken proactive measures in instilling that strong painkillers, such as OxyContin, should only be reserved for people suffering from severe, chronic pain, such as those suffering from conditions like arthritis or cancer. This, one would hope, would help mitigate the chances of being prescribed this addictive medication for reasons other than what one would consider an “absolute necessity”. 

Unfortunately, however, this practice is not fully in place at every clinic and, as such, people suffering from pain are prescribed this medication without understanding the side-effects beforehand. Because OxyContin can create euphoric effects in the user, especially when taken in large doses, people who may have started off innocent in their search to alleviate their pain may find themselves quickly hooked into the pleasure experienced when taking the medication. As such, many people who begin to abuse OxyContin will end up developing a tolerance and/or addiction  to the drug. Therefore, because this medication can cause serious health implications it is vital that if one finds themselves in the grips of addiction that they seek professional medical help immediately. 

Some common side-effects of taking OxyContin may include:

  • Sleepiness
  • Tiredness
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain 
  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Weakness
  • Itching
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Decreased ability to experience pain

Some more serious side effects that need to be brought to a doctor’s attention include:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Apnea (stopped breathing)
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Circulatory depression
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Shock

Additionally, because oxycodone decreases blood pressure and a person’s respiration the likelihood of experiencing a seizure, coma, or cardiac arrest is increased. As such, the most dangerous side effect of taking this drug is overdose and death. 

Withdrawal Symptoms from an OxyContin High

OxyContin is designed to release pain medication into the body of the user for over a period of up to 12 hours. Because OxyContin mimics that of an opioid painkiller, the withdrawal symptoms experienced from detoxing off OxyContin will also mimic that of detoxing off an opioid. 

While every individual may experience slightly different withdrawal symptoms, as genetics, history of drug abuse, severity of abuse/addiction, and other unique factors play a role in determining how a person will experience detox, there are some commonalities amongst most withdrawal symptoms experienced. As such, early withdrawal symptoms often experienced from OxyContin detox can be acute and last for 1-2 weeks after the individual has stopped taking the medication. These early withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sleep disturbances or insomnia
  • Changes in mood, such as anxiety, irritability, restlessness, agitation
  • Physical changes, like muscle aches and pains or cramps
  • Symptoms that mimic a cold or flu, like a runny nose, sweating, chills, fever, and constipation

Withdrawal symptoms that may occur later on can include:

  • Abdominal pain and cramps
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Reduced appetite or loss of appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Blurry vision
  • Shivering or goosebumps
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure

Since OxyContin is an extended-release medication, when taken in pill form, the effects of the medication wearing off will not occur until somewhere between the 12 to 24 hour mark after taking the last dose. However, because oxycodone has a half-life of about 4 hours, if the individual has highly abused the drug and been able to bypass the time-release aspect of the medication, then withdrawal can start as early as 4-8 hours after the last dose. Typically, the first full day off the medication will cause flu like symptoms for the individual with the second day creating more of the typical withdrawal symptoms experienced from detoxing off opioids. While most of the acute symptoms may begin to subside after a couple of days, there are people that will continue to experience withdrawal symptoms for two weeks or more. The later withdrawal symptoms will generally start around 24 hours after the early symptoms have lessened. 

How to Get Help for an Addiction to an OxyContin High 

Because detoxing off OxyContin can cause serious health consequences to the user, and oftentimes intense withdrawal symptoms, it is imperative that if one is wanting to detox off this medication that they seek the help of a trained medical professional either through a clinic or an inpatient drug rehab. As inpatient drug rehabs are the most skilled at effectively guiding an individual suffering from addiction on the path of long-term sobriety, it may be particularly beneficial to spend time recovering in an inpatient setting. Not only will an inpatient rehab remove all outside distractions and temptations that oftentimes keep people in the vicious cycle of addiction, they can also provide the necessary tools and guidance to get to the root of the matter so that one does not return to drug use in the future. 

If you or a loved one is struggling from an addiction to OxyContin or oxycodone, the time to get help is now. Your health, well-being, and serenity deserve the chance to start over again in a healthier, more fulfilling way. Reach out today and be on the path to a better, more satisfying future immediately.