What Is the Difference Between Hydrocodone and Oxycodone

Oxycodone and hydrocodone are prescription pain medications. Both can treat short-term pain caused by an injury or surgery. They might also be used to treat pain that is chronic, or long-term. In addition, each may likewise be recommended to treat other conditions, consisting of chronic cough, pain from cancer, and arthritis.

What Is the Difference Between Hydrocodone and Oxycodone

Both types of medications can be taken alone. You may likewise discover mix variations of each drug. For example, acetaminophen may be contributed to oxycodone to make a particular narcotic analgesic. This type of mix medicine can relax an individual’s state of mind, which offers the pain reliever time to work. Hydrocodone is typically integrated with antihistamines to develop a syrup that suppresses the cough reflex and supplies remedy for pain connected with coughing.

Oxycodone and hydrocodone

Oxycodone and hydrocodone are effective narcotic pain relievers. Both are readily available just with a prescription from your doctor. Both disrupt your main nerve system’s pain signals. They avoid the nerves in your body from sending out pain signals to your brain.

The differences between the two are mainly in the side effects they cause.

Who they’re for

Oxycodone is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Patients who take the medication normally do so on a 24/7 basis until the doctor ends their prescription or informs them to stop taking the medication. In other words, oxycodone must not be handled an as-needed basis the method you would take over-the-counter pain medication.

Hydrocodone is also used to treat moderate to severe pain brought on by a chronic condition, injury, or surgery. Like oxycodone, it should only be taken as prescribed by your doctor. This is necessary due to the fact that of the risk of dependency. Maybe because of the method it’s recommended, hydrocodone appears most likely to cause reliance than oxycodone. It is abused more than any other opioid in the United States, while in numerous European countries hydrocodone has actually been highly restricted for many years.

Drug class and how that class works

Till the fall of 2014, hydrocodone and oxycodone were in two various drug schedules. A drug schedule is a number that is designated to a medicine, chemical, or substance. The schedule number suggests the probability the compound might be abused, in addition to the drug’s accepted medical use.

Today, both hydrocodone and oxycodone are schedule II drugs. Schedule II drugs have a high potential for being abused.

Kinds and dosing

Frequently both oxycodone and hydrocodone are integrated with other pain relievers or chemicals. Pure oxycodone is available in a brand name medicine called Oxycontin.

Oxycontin is readily available as a tablet you take orally generally every 12 hours. The tablets are available in several different dosages. The dosage you use depends on the intensity of your pain.

Pure hydrocodone is readily available in an extended-release form. The trademark name for the medication is Zohydro ER. You can take an extended-release (regulated release) tablet orally every 12 hours. This medicine is created to release into your body slowly, not at one time. This allows the medicine to work over a long period of time. This medicine can likewise be used to treat long-lasting pain issues.


Both oxycodone and hydrocodone are effective pain relievers, and they have actually been shown to be highly reliable at treating pain.

In the event of an emergency situation, scientists have discovered the two medications treat pain similarly. In a research study with both drugs, scientists discovered that both oxycodone and hydrocodone were similarly reliable at treating pain brought on by fractures. Patients experienced equal pain relief 30 and 60 minutes after the medication was taken. However, patients who were provided hydrocodone experienced constipation more regularly than patients who used oxycodone.

Another research study found that the mix of oxycodone and acetaminophen (another type of pain reliever) was 1.5 times more potent than hydrocodone with acetaminophen when taken at equivalent doses.


Both oxycodone and hydrocodone are offered as brand name drugs and as generic alternatives. Generic medications are more affordable than their brand counterparts. Because of that, you might want to try the generic.

Before you do that, consult your doctor. Some generic variations of medications have various ratios of active and inactive components. To be classified as generic by the FDA, the drug should include the same strength of active ingredients, however may not have the same quantity of non-active ingredients.

If you have to use the brand however find that the cost is too high, prescription drug insurance and prescription vouchers might help reduce your total cost. Talk with your pharmacist about the savings you’re eligible to get.

Side effects

The most typical side effects of oxycodone and hydrocodone are comparable. These side effects include:

Hydrocodone is more likely to cause constipation and stomach pain.

Severe, though less common side effects include:

  • seizures
  • feeling like you might pass out
  • rapid heart beat (resulting in a possible heart failure)
  • painful urination
  • confusion

Cautions and interactions

Do not use these effective pain medications without first consulting with your doctor about your health history and any pre-existing conditions you have.

Individuals who have asthma or breathing troubles might have to prevent these pain medications entirely. Also, because of the risk of increased constipation, individuals who have obstructions or difficulty with constipation may not wish to take hydrocodone.

Do not take these medications if you have kidney or liver disease. These drugs can make these conditions worse. Furthermore, do not drink alcohol while taking these medications. The combination of alcohol and pain relievers can be deadly. You may experience extreme dizziness or drowsiness. The mix can also harm your liver.

If you are pregnant, talk with your doctor about the risks of these medications while you’re expecting. A research study released in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology found that there was an association in between opioid treatment and certain abnormality. Also, a few of the side effects of the medication might cause issues for you while you are pregnant. These side effects consist of habits changes, difficulty breathing, constipation, and lightheadedness.

If you are breastfeeding, do not take these medications. The medicine can go through breast milk and harm your baby.

Even at low levels and when taken precisely as recommended, these medications can be habit-forming. Abuse of these narcotics can cause dependency, poisoning, overdose, or even death. Do not leave these pills in a place where children could reach them.

Which medication should you pick?

Both hydrocodone and oxycodone are effective at easing intense and chronic pain. They both cause extremely similar side effects. The differences in between the two drugs are minimal, so the best method to pick which drug is right for you is by having a discussion with your doctor.

Based on your personal case history, your doctor can weigh the advantages and disadvantages of the two medications. Some scientists and doctor discover that hydrocodone is less effective compared with oxycodone. Because case, your doctor may choose to start you on a smaller dose to see how your body deals with the medication.

If the first choice you try does not work or causes adverse side effects, you and your doctor can discuss changing medications or doses to find something that works for you.

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