Side Effects of Oxycodone that need emergency medical help

If you are using Oxycodone and do not know about its side effects, then this article can help you know the side effects of Oxycodone that need emergency medical help. If you have started taking Oxycodone, you may experience some side effects that can range from mild to severe. Do not ignore any side effects that last for long or become troublesome.

Major side effects that need immediate medical attention

Less Common

  • confusion
  • chills
  • fever
  • twitching
  • chest tightness
  • cold sweats
  • faintness, light-headedness or dizziness when rising from a lying/sitting position
  • breathing problems


  • chest pain
  • convulsions
  • swelling or bloating of feet, hands, arms and lower legs
  • cough
  • blood in urine
  • decreased
  • rapid breathing
  • fainting
  • feeling of heat or warmth
  • irregular, racing or fast pulse or heartbeat
  • headache
  • skin rash, itching, hives
  • dry mouth
  • vomiting and nausea
  • unexpected weight gain
  • muscle cramps or pain
  • puffiness/swelling around eyes, tongue, lips and face
  • increased thirst
  • severe vomiting
  • severe constipation
  • sunken eyes
  • thirst
  • sweating
  • tingling of feet or hands
  • wrinkled skin
  • unusual weakness or tiredness
  • shaking or trembling feet or hands
  • unusual weigh loss or gain
  • light-headedness
  • swollen, tender or painful neck, groin or armpit

Occurrence not known

  • choking
  • blurred vision
  • diarrhoea
  • weak or fast pulse
  • clammy or cold skin
  • gagging
  • unconsciousness
  • blue or pale fingernails, skin or lips
  • appetite loss
  • slow heartbeat
  • yellow skin or eyes
  • shallow, irregular, fast or slow breathing

Symptoms of Oxycodone overdose

  • severe sleepiness
  • extreme drowsiness
  • constricted, small or pinpoint pupils
  • chest discomfort or chest pain
  • mo muscle movement or muscle tone
  • decreased responsiveness or awareness
  • irregular or slow heartbeat

Minor side effects

Some side effects of Oxycodone do not need medical attention. As the body gets used to Oxycodone the side effects go away. Your physician can help you reduce or prevent these side effects. If any of these side effects exist for a long time, consult your physician immediately.

More Common

  • drowsiness
  • calm and relaxed feeling
  • unusual drowsiness or sleepiness
  • loss or lack of stamina
  • problems with bowel movement

Less Common

  • anxiety
  • belching
  • sour or acid stomach
  • hiccups
  • heartburn
  • burning feeling in stomach or chest
  • stomach pain, upset or discomfort
  • tenderness in stomach area
  • weight loss
  • abnormal dreams
  • unusual or false feeling or well being
  • indigestion
  • sleeping problems


  • dry skin
  • dysphasia
  • depression
  • crying
  • cracks in the skin
  • congestion
  • change in balance or walking
  • full or bloating feeling

In case any of the above symptoms persist, Call your health care provider immediately as even mild side effects if left untreated can lead to health problems.

Right Dosage can help use Oxycodone safely

Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets are used to manage mild to severe pain in patients who need oral opioid analgesic treatment. The dose needs to be individually adjusted depending upon the patient’s response, severity of pain and patient size. If the severity of pain increases, if analgesia is not sufficient, if the patient is getting tolerant to medicine, a gradual increase in oxycodone dosage may be needed.

Patients who have not been prescribed opioid analgesics should begin with initial dose of Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets in range of 5-15 mg after every 4-6 hours as required for pain. The dose needs to be adjusted based on individual response of a patient to the starting dose of Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets. Patients suffering from chronic pain should be given around the clock dosage so that pain doesn’t occur again than managing pain after it occurs. This dose can be adjusted later to a tolerable analgesic level considering the side effects observed in patients.

To control chronic pain, which is severe in nature, Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets should be given on a regular and scheduled basis after every 4 to6 hours at very low doses that meets the sufficient analgesic requirement.

Like with any other powerful opioid, it is important to adjust the dosing schedule for every patient individually considering patient’s previous experience with analgesic treatment. Although it is not easy to list every possible condition that is crucial in selecting the initial dose of Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets, there are some points that can be considered to decide the initial dose and they are

  1. The daily dose, strength and features of a mixed antagonist/agonist or pure agonist the patient has been using previously.
  2. The reliability of respective strength estimate to calculate the required dose of Oxycodone.
  3. The level of opioid tolerance
  4. The medical status and general condition of the patient
  5. The stability between the adverse experiences and pain control

Over dosage of Oxycodone and its treatment

Symptoms and Signs

Acute overdose can be reflected by somnolence progressing to coma or stupor, respiratory depression, clammy or cold skin, skeletal muscle stiffness, constricted pupils, hypotension, bradycardia and even death.


To treat the overdose of Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets, main attention should be given to re-building of patient’s airway, establish and facilitate controlled ventilation. Supportive measures like vasopressors and oxygen should be used to deal with pulmonary edema or circulatory shock along with overdose as stated. Arrhythmias or cardiac arrest may also require defibrillation or cardiac massage.

The specific antidotes available for overdose are nalmefene, naloxone, narcotic antagonists etc., The action of Oxycodone is quite fast and in case of overdose, the patient should be kept under observation to track the symptoms of overdose and provide required treatment.

Gastric emptying is quite useful in flushing out the unabsorbed drug. In case you notice symptoms of overdose, call medical help immediately as if it is not treated in time can lead to life threatening complications. You should not ignore overdose symptoms as it needs immediate treatment.

Possible Oxycodone drug interactions elaborated

There are many drugs that can interact with Oxycodone. In order to use the Oxycodone drug, tell your doctor if you are using any other prescription, non prescription, nutritional, recreational, herbal dietary drugs you are using. The following drugs are some out of a plenty of other drugs that can interact with Oxycodone.

  • Antibiotics like erythromycin and clarithromycin
  • Antidepressants
  • Drugs for nausea, mental illness and anxiety
  • narcotic drugs
  • sleeping drugs
  • diuretics
  • tranquilizers
  • sedatives
  • MAOIs like selegine, phenelzine etc.,
  • muscle relaxants
  • Rifampin
  • Rifabutin
  • Phenytoin
  • Antihistamines
  • some HIV medicines like ritonavir, indinavir

Neuromuscular Blocking- Agents

Oxycodone increases the neuromuscular blocking activity of skeletal muscle relaxant and generates a high level of respiratory depression.

Mixed Antagonist/Agonist Opioid Analgesics

Antagonists/Agonist analgesics like butorphanol, nalburphine, pentazocine etc., should be given with caution to patients receiving or received a series of therapy with a natural opioid agonist analgesic like Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets. In such circumstances, mixed antagonist/agonist analgesics can decrease the analgesic effect of Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets or may trigger withdrawal symptoms in such patients.

CNS depressants

Patients who are given general anaesthetics, narcotic analgesics, tranquilizers, phenothiazines, sedative hypnotics or CNS depressants taking Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets simultaneously can experience additional CNS depression. Influential effects result in hypotension, respiratory depression, coma or profound sedation, if you take these drugs with Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets. In case a therapy including the combination of both is given, the dose of either of the agents needs to be reduced.


MAOIs escalate the effect of minimum one opioid drug that causes confusion, anxiety, coma or respiratory depression. Oxycodone hydrochloride tablets are not advised in case the patient has been taking MAOIs in past 14 days of treatment or after stopping the treatment.

Interaction between Oxycodone and Furosemide

Oxycodone and Furosemide can have additional effects in decreasing your blood pressure. You may notice dizziness, headache, and change in heart rate or pulse rate, fainting, light-headedness. These effects are noticed in initial stages of treatment, following an increase in dose or when the treatment is started again after a gap. Tell your doctor if these symptoms do not disappear after a couple of days or become bothersome. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery till the time you know how the medication works for you. Be careful when rising from a lying or sitting position. Let your doctor know about any other medications that you are using like vitamins, minerals or herbs. Do not stop using the medications suddenly without speaking to your doctor.

Before you make any changes to the dose or Oxycodone, speak to your doctor. Drug interactions can affect how Oxycodone works for you; therefore it is necessary to let your doctor know about other drugs you are using. Your doctor can help you know which medications interact with Oxycodone so that you can get maximum benefit from Oxycodone and use drug with care. Do not take any decision regarding the dosage of any drug without discussing with your doctor.

Oxycodone treats mild to severe pain effectively

Oxycodone is a common narcotic or opioid medication used to treat mild to severe pain. The generic name is Oxycodone and brand names are Roxicodone, Oxyfast, Oxaydo, Xtampza ER.

Extended release form of Oxycodone is used as a 24 hour treatment for pain.  This form of oxycodone cannot be used as, as-needed treatment method for pain.

Some important information

Avoid using oxycodone if you are suffering from breathing problems, severe asthma, or a blockage in intestines or stomach. Oxycodone can stop or slow your breathing, especially when your Oxycodone dose is changed or when you start taking the medication. Do not take this medication in excess or for a long term. Do not break, crush or open Oxycontin (extended-release) pill. Swallow the pill as whole to prevent life threatening complications.

Oxycodone can be addictive even when you take regular doses. Take this medication as prescribed by your doctor. Do not share the medicine with any other person. Misuse of any narcotic drug can lead to overdose, addiction or even death, especially in children or a person who is taking the medication without doctor’s prescription.

Before you start using Oxycodone, make sure you avoid using it, if you are allergic to the medication or if you are suffering from

  1. breathing problems or severe asthma
  2. an allergy to narcotic medicines used for pain like Vicodin, Percocet, methadone, morphine, Lortab etc., or if you are allergic to narcotic medicine used to treat cough like hydrocodone, codeine etc.,
  3. a blockage in intestines or stomach

Avoid using Oxycodone if you are not using similar narcotic medicine already or not tolerant to opioid medication. You can check with your doctor if you are tolerant to opioid medication.

Some drugs may interact with Oxycodone and result in a serious medical condition like serotonin syndrome. Make sure you have already informed your doctor about other medications you are using for mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, depression, serious infections, headaches, prevention of vomiting and nausea.  Makes sure you consult your health care provider before making changes to the dose or frequency of this medication.

To know if Oxycodone is safe for you, tell your physician if are suffering from

  1. any type of lung disease or breathing problem
  2. urination problems
  3. a history of seizures, brain tumor or head injury
  4. kidney or liver disease
  5. adrenal’s disease or other disorders of adrenal gland
  6. problems with pancreas, gallbladder or thyroid
  7. a history of mental illness, alcohol addiction or drug abuse

Is Oxycodone addictive?

Oxycodone is a highly addictive narcotic drug. When a person takes Oxycodone regularly, gradually he/she tends to develop drug dependency. Once a person becomes addictive to this drug he/she seeks drug at any cost. Some people join rehabs to overcome addiction. Rehabs help people reduce their dependency on the drug. Make sure you avoid drug dependency by choosing other alternative pain treatments.

Oxycodone addiction can lead to severe side effects, which can be fatal too. Avoid taking high doses of this medication to avoid complications.

Effects of Oxycodone during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Most women during their pregnancy or breastfeeding often ask this question, whether Oxycodone is safe during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Because Oxycodone is used by many and has a history of regular use, most pregnant women feel it is safe to use oxycodone during pregnancy. Unfortunately, increasing number of scientific evidences say that Oxycodone can cause birth defects.

Oxycodone and pregnancy

The FDA categorize Oxycodone in Category B, which means they claim Oxycodone is safe to use during pregnancy and risks to growing baby are quite less. In reality, the risks associated with Oxycodone use during pregnancy are underestimated and there are still a very few studies that highlight the risk of using Oxycodone during pregnancy. Some studies conducted in past suggested that Oxycodone can increase the risk of baby having cleft lip, heart defects and cleft palate.

Birth defects are quite common these days and the primary cause is use of different medications during pregnancy. Medications lead to greater risk during pregnancy.

Oxycodone intersects the placenta and using Oxycodone can cause respiratory depression in new born baby. New born baby may suffer with serious withdrawal symptoms like hyperactive reflexes, tremor, excessive crying, convulsions, vomiting, yawning, sneezing, diarrhoea and irritability.

Oxycodone and Breastfeeding

Are you frustrated by the constant aches or pain while breastfeeding?  Are you planning to take Oxycodone as a regular medicine, but don’t know if it is safe during breastfeeding. If these questions are bothering you then read on

Oxycodone during nursing causes infant sedation. New born babies are quite sensitive to even low doses of narcotic medications. Besides sedation, taking Oxycodone during pregnancy can lead to many problems in infants. Keep a check on your baby’s health for weight gain, drowsiness and other developmental factors, especially in new born babies.  If you notice problems while breastfeeding, increased sleepiness, limpness, breathing problems, contact your paediatrician immediately.

If possible look for an alternative method of pain treatment to avoid the side effects of oxycodone in your baby. You can speak to your doctor to advise you other pain relief options that won’t affect the health of your baby.

If you feel it is essential to take oxycodone then 30mg of maximum dose of oxycodone per day is a perfect dose while breastfeeding. If you forget to take a dose, then do not take the missed dose as taking extra dose can lead to complications.

The common side effects of oxycodone while breastfeeding are

  1. chills
  2. loss of stamina
  3. problems in passing stools
  4. drowsiness
  5. calm and relaxed feeling

Some rare oxycodone side effects seen during breastfeeding are

  1. cold sweats
  2. twitching
  3. chest tightness
  4. fever
  5. breathing problems
  6. stomach or abdominal pain
  7. dizziness
  8. decreased volume of urination
  9. problems while swallowing

You should tell your doctor that you are a lactating mother before he prescribes you any narcotic medicine. This will help your doctor judge if the medicine is safe for you and what are the right doses that you can take so that your baby’s health is not affected.

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