13 November 2004

Opiates: oxycodone

My friend broke his wrist the other day. In talking to him, I realized that I don't know how the various opiate drugs stack up against each other: i.e., which are stronger and by how much, which last longer, and how they differ in their indications. So I'm on the hunt. First up: oxycodone

He was prescribed Percocet which turns out to be oxycodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol). According to the DOJ,

Oxycodone is an effective analgesic for mild to moderate pain control, chronic pain syndromes, and for the treatment of terminal cancer pain. Five mg of oxycodone is equivalent to 30 mg of codeine when administered orally. Oxycodone and morphine are equipotent for pain control in the normal population; 10 mg of orally-administered oxycodone is equivalent to 10 mg of subcutaneously administered morphine. Oxycodone is considered to be similar to morphine, in all respects, including its abuse & dependence liabilties. Oxycodone in dosages of 5 to 10 mg in combination with acetaminophen or aspirin are abused orally. High dose single entity sustained release formulations containing 10 to 80 mg of oxycodone are abused by crushing or chewing the tablet and then swallowing, snorting or injecting the drug.


Oxycodone [4,5a-epoxy-14-hydroxy-3-methoxy-17-methylmorphinan-6-one, dihydrohydroxycodeinone] is a semisynthetic opioid structurally related to codeine and is approximately equipotent to morphine in producing opiate-like effects. The first report that oxycodone, sold under the brand name Eukodal, produced a "striking euphoria" and habituation symptoms was published in Germany in the 1920's. While oxycodone is metabolized by the liver to oxymorphone, the physiological and behavioral effects are not related to, nor dependent on, the formation of this metabolic by-product. Link

and it looks like this:

Oxycodone comes from thebaine, a minor constituent of opium. Unlike codine and morphine, thebaine produces stimulatory instead of depressant effects.

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