Pain management includes the use of opioid analgesics, that are considered ass effective to treat moderate or severe pain. Two medications that belong to this category include oxycodone and hydrocodone, and due to the similarities in name and the sale classification, patients require additional information to differentiate between the two. Following sub-sections offer in-depth information about the two medications, and also help in highlighting the efficacy of each vis-à-vis the other. This answers the question Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone – how do they compare?

Overview of Oxycodone

A potent opioid analgesic used to treat moderate to severe pain, Oxycodone is used to manage pain in a variety of conditions, including:

The opioid analgesic is to be used only under the supervision of a healthcare professional and should be taken as directed. It is known to be habit-forming, and misuse or abuse can lead to serious side effects and addiction.

Overview of Hydrocodone

An opioid pain medication used to treat moderate to severe pain, Hydrocodone is used to manage pain for conditions similar to the conditions managed by Oxycodone. The drug is also available in combination with other medications, such as acetaminophen, to increase effectiveness. Like Oxycodone, this should also be used only under the supervision of a healthcare professional. The drug may result in addiction and patients/caregivers are to take suitable precautions and prevent misuse or abuse.

Mechanism of action of Oxycodone

Oxycodone works by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord known as mu-opioid receptors. These receptors are involved in the modulation of pain and are also associated with feelings of euphoria and reward. Upon binding to mu-opioid receptors, the drug activates a series of biochemical events that ultimately result in decreased perception of pain. Specifically, it inhibits the release of neurotransmitters involved in the transmission of pain signals and triggers the release of neurotransmitters involved in the modulation of pain. Oxycodone also activates the reward pathways in the brain, leading to feelings of pleasure and euphoria, and this effect is responsible for the drug to be abused and addictive.

The overall mechanism of action of Hydrocodone is mostly similar to that of Oxycodone – Binding to mu-opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in decreased perception of pain and feelings of pleasure and euphoria.

What is the difference in side effects of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone

While both are opioid pain medications that work in similar ways, there are certain differences in their side effect profiles.

Common side effects of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone include:

While the above effects are common to both drugs, there are some differences in the frequency and severity of certain side effects. For instance, oxycodone is more likely to cause respiratory depression than hydrocodone, especially at higher doses. Oxycodone is also more likely to cause withdrawal symptoms when abruptly stopped. Hydrocodone is more likely to cause dizziness and lightheadedness, increase the risk of falls and accidents, and is also more likely to cause an upset stomach.

What is the difference in the drug interactions of Oxycodone and Hydrocodone?

Though both the opioid analgesics have similar drug interactions, some differences in the specific drug interactions need to be highlighted. Common drug interactions for both medications include the following:

Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone – How do they compare?

As outlined and explained in detail above, Oxycodone and hydrocodone belong to the same category of opioid pain medications. A roundup of the differences between the two drugs are as given below:

Both opioid analgesics are effective at treating pain, with differences in potency, duration of action, and side effect profiles. Zeroing in on one among the two is best determined by a healthcare specialist, based on the assessment of the condition, and suitability for each patient.

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