Hydrocodone vs. oxycodone, or, to use their commercial brand names, Vicodin vs. Percocet, is in some ways a scientific hair-splitting if you consider how highly addictive both of these semi-synthetic opioid painkillers can be. But, in truth, the differences can be meaningful when doctors choose which one to prescribe. Both of these powerful pain relievers are intended to be used only when prescribed. However, nearly 10 million Americans a year misuse prescription opioids. The slippery slope from medical use to abuse and addiction can be precipitous. If you or someone you care about struggles with abuse of either hydrocodone or oxycodone, reach out to our prescription drug addiction treatment center in Pennsylvania.
At Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC), we are well aware of the concerning rates of prescription drug addiction in Pennsylvania. Our evidence-based treatments and superb clinical professionals can help you on the road to recovery. Don’t wait to reach out and learn more. We’d be glad to answer your questions about painkiller abuse, hydrocodone vs. oxycodone, and what your treatment could look like with us. Use this online form or call 844.442.8673.
Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone
Both of these drugs are synthesized in laboratories from other opiates that are originally derived from the opium poppy. They are narcotics that interact within the brain and central nervous system to treat pain. The human body quickly grows tolerant of their effects, so they are generally intended for short-term use. When used for longer periods, dependence is likely. That means there is no stopping without experiencing the discomforts of withdrawal. Addiction is close behind in many cases, and increased dosage results from both tolerance and also the desire to experience the euphoric side effects of these opioids.
The differences between the two narcotics are related to their chemical makeup, their source, and their uses by medical practitioners.
- Oxycodone has an extra oxygen atom. This is something only those who study these substances on a molecular and atomic level will ever need to know, but it gives a clue to its name.
- Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, while hydrocodone is synthesized from codeine, both of which originate from opium. Thebaine is an organic chemical found in opium, and codeine is a morphine alkaloid found in the opium poppy.
- Oxycodone only treats pain, but hydrocodone, due to its source (codeine), can be used to relieve pain and cough.
Hydrocodone was once the most widely prescribed painkiller. However, when it was classified as a schedule II drug, which alerted users to its addictiveness, oxycodone took its place. This fact is interesting and ironic because it has been determined that both drugs are equally potent, effective for pain, and addictive.
Painkiller Abuse and Addiction
How will you know if your use of Vicodin or Percocet has become abuse? When does abuse become an addiction?
Warning signs of abuse and addiction to prescription opioids start small and grow over time:
Do you notice that the amount of the drug you’ve been prescribed doesn’t take care of your pain for as long or that you find yourself looking at the clock only to realize you have to wait another two hours before your next dose?
If you develop tolerance, you are more likely to fudge the timing of your doses or to self-prescribe an increase, maybe cutting a pill in half and taking one and a half instead of one.
Dependence means that you feel sick and anxious if you go too long before your next dose. Your body and mind are experiencing withdrawal.
If you have increased your own dose or have taken your pills more frequently, you run out too soon and need to acquire more. Illicit may mean anything from lying to your doctor about leaving your pills in a hotel room to asking friends if they have leftover Oxy, all the way to stealing pills or buying them on the street.
Addiction inevitably has an effect on your life, such as missed work, failure to meet job goals or deadlines, financial setbacks, and family and relationship fallout, such as deteriorating communications and loss of trust.
You may experience, among others:
- Poor appetite and weight loss
- Stomach issues like diarrhea, cramps, vomiting
- Joint and muscle aches and other flu-like symptoms
There is no shame in finding yourself in trouble with prescription painkillers. You deserve to live a healthy life free of addiction, and help is out there for you.
PAATC – Opioid Addiction Treatment in Pennsylvania
Reach out today to PAATC and let us hear your story. We have the expertise and knowledge to figure out the very best plan forward for you as you explore recovery. Our caring and professional staff is ready to speak to you if you call 844.442.8673 or reach out to any inquiry you make on our online form.
Our evidence-based and faith-based treatment modalities can help you turn your world around.