How Long Does It Take For Oxycodone To Kick In?

September 13, 2017

The increasing severity of oxycodone abuse has raised concern in the US about the crisis so called “Opioid epidemic,” which approximately costs over 30,000 lives of the Americans per year. Reports about illegal prescriptions of Oxycodone for money or affiliation of doctors in drug rings are not rare in the States. The newest case is about Dr. Craig Gialanella, a physician practicing at Newark, New Jersey.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone, also known as Oxycontin or Oxy, is an opioid analgesic synthesized from alkaloids found in the opium poppy.  It is in the same group along with morphine and heroin. These drugs are also recognized as narcotics for its sleep-inducing effect, and more notably, they can cause addiction among users.

What is the medicinal use of Oxycodone?

Like morphine and codeine, as an opioid analgesic, Oxycodone is prescribed to help alleviate moderate and mid-severe pain, either acute or chronic pain. Oxycodone is considered the optimal treatment for the cancer patient because the terminally ill patients cannot rely on morphine all the time. Oxycodone is legalized in Western countries and only a few developed Asian countries. However, the distribution and use of Oxycodone must be put under strict regulation.

How does it work?

This is the question we have to solve if you want to know how long it takes for Oxycodone to kick in. The therapeutic mechanism of Oxycodone is like that of any opioid analgesic.

Oxycodone molecules will bind to endorphin’s receptor in the body (endorphin is an opioid neuropeptide produced by the body when people are in pain). Once the bonds between receptors and opioid molecules are formed, the signal of pain will be interfered, which leads to the sense of relief. First-time users also describe the feeling of “get high” or euphoria.

How long does it take for Oxycodone to kick in?

To know exactly when Oxycodone starts its effects, it depends on the type of Oxycodone you are using. The faster Oxy absorbed into the body and bound to the receptors, the quicker the alleviation comes.

Injections give almost a simultaneous effect. However, it is only available in some European countries. In the US, Oxycodone is only distributed in oral or sublingual administration, in which there are two main types:

  • Immediate-release Oxycodone (OxyIR, OxyFast): 5-15 mg/dose, effects kick in 10-15 minutes –and the therapeutic duration will last 3-4 hour. The interval between each dose is 4-6 hours.
  • Controlled-release Oxycodone (Oxycontin): 10-30 mg/dose, effects kick in about 1 hour, persists for 8-10 hr. The interval between each dose is 10-12 hr.
  • Moreover, doctors could prescribe you a medication which is the combination of Oxy and another NSAID such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to achieve better results.

Whichever type you are on, the threshold amount is 105mg/day, and you must not exceed this. Also, just swallow the pills, do not chew because the crush of medication may cause overdose from excessively rapid absorption. Remember to always check for yourself whether the dose doctors give you is the right one for your pain threshold.

Factors that influence on the effects of Oxy

The absorption of Oxycodone is varied between people so there might be differences in patient’s experience on the similar kind of Oxy. The reasons for these differences are internal factors such as genetics or the drug tolerance occurring in long-term users.

You could also improve the effect of Oxy by taking the dose after a full meal. The high concentration of fat in foods will help your body absorb Oxy faster, thereby making the alleviation kick in sooner and last longer, especially if you are taking Immediate-Release Oxycodone.

Do not attempt to take Oxy with alcohol for better effects because people have died from respiratory failure, which is an adverse effect of a psychotropic depressant (alcohol) combined with Oxycodone’s side effect.

What are the risks of Oxycodone?

More than 150 mg of Oxy per day may cause the overdose, which is dangerous to life. Call the ambulance immediately if you see someone on Oxy manifest these symptoms: drowsiness, muscle weakness, confusion, cold clammy skin and significantly breathlessness.

Other common side effects of Oxycodone are also more likely to occur, such as:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation & anorexia
  • Dizziness, headache, feeling tired
  • Dry mouth and excessive sweating
  • Itchiness

However, the severity of these symptoms will dwindle when you are on Oxy for a longer time. Also, the critical thing is that check whether you are developing drug tolerance because this could be an early sign of Oxycodone dependence.

Make sure that the doctor is cautious about other potential risks you might have before prescription. For example:

  • Decreased kidney and liver function
  • Thyroid disorder
  • Asthma, COPD, and other respiratory distress
  • Indigestion; bowel obstruction and other gastrointestinal problems
  • Neurological disorders such as difficulty swallowing & seizures
  • Alcoholism and other mental disorders related to substances abuse

Finally, is Oxycodone available for everyone?

If you have read carefully until this part, you know that the prescription of Oxycodone must be thoroughly considered and not anybody can use this medication. Every act of distributing or supplying of Oxycodone without authorization from medical professionals is illegal in the US. If any person asks you the question ”How long does it take for Oxycodone to kick in?”, make sure you know why they ask it, not because they simply just want to get high.

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