Oxycodone Pills

Overview

Oxycodone has been used to treat both acute and chronic pain since the early 1910's. Since it's introduction, it has become one of the most prescribed drugs on the market and is a mainstay of pain management for countless patients.


Unfortunately, oxycodone is also one of the most abused prescription drugs and caution must be taken by prescribers, pharmacies, wholesalers and patients themselves to combat abuse and diversion.


There are two main forms of oxycodone products, immediate release and extended release. Among these forms are numerous different commercial products, many of which have slightly different properties in terms of how quickly they are absorbed, how long their effects lasts and how long they stay in the body. 

Below is a breakdown of the most common oxycodone products.

Oxycodone (Immediate Release)

Brand Names: Oxy IR, Roxycodone, Oxaydo (abuse deterrent), Oxecta (abuse deterrent)

How Fast Does It Work: Onset of pain relief typically occurs within 15 minutes after dosing. Maximum concentration in the body occurs about 1 to 1 1/2 hours after dosing.

How Long Does It Last:​ Pain relief (analgesia) typically lasts for 3-4 hours per dose. The half life of oxycodone is 3-5 hours and will be completely eliminated from the body within 15-25 hours.

Summary: Immediate release oxycodone will being to provide pain relief (analgesia) within 15 minutes of dosing. It typically lasts about 3-4 hours per dose and is eliminated from the body after 15-25 hours.​​    

Oxycodone (Extended Release)


Brand Names: Oxycontin, Oxycodone ER, Xtampza

How Fast Does It Work: Onset of pain relief typically occurs within 15-60 minutes after dosing. Maximum concentration in the body occurs about 4-5 hours after dosing.

How Long Does It Last:​ Pain relief (analgesia) typically lasts for 12 hours per dose. The extended release nature of these products lends itself to reaching a "steady state" in the body after 2-3 days of dosing. At this point, concentrations in the body tend to be more or less consistent over time.

Studies have shown that a 10 mg dose every 12 hours of extended-release tablets were equivalent to about 5 mg every 6 hours of the immediate-release tablets.

Extended release oxycodone also comes in a capsule version (Xtampza). It has a similar profile the extended release tablets and it can be expected to provide similar analgesia for patients. 

Summary: Extended release oxycodone tablets will being to provide pain relief (analgesia) within 15-60 minutes of dosing. It typically lasts about 12 hours per dose.

Final Words

So there you have it. The different properties of the many oxycodone formulations.

On a final note, we often get asked if there is a difference between oxycodone tablets and oxycodone capsules.

Although the tablets and the capsules aren't technically FDA approved to be substitutable with one another, they have a very similar profile. The onset of action and the duration of action are almost identical for the tablet and capsule versions.