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Does Oxycodone Have Codeine in it?

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Oxycodone and codeine are two different opioid analgesic medications, both used to treat moderate to severe pain. Although they are similar in their purpose, they are chemically distinct and are not the same compound. Oxycodone does not contain codeine; it is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine, an alkaloid found in the opium poppy plant. Codeine, on the other hand, is a natural alkaloid also obtained from the opium poppy plant.

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Is Oxycodone Combined With Codeine for Pain Relief?

While both oxycodone and codeine are effective in providing pain relief, they are not typically combined in a single medication. The reason for this is that combining two opioids can increase the risk of side effects, such as respiratory depression, without significantly improving pain relief. Instead, oxycodone is often combined with non-opioid analgesic medications, like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to enhance pain relief while minimizing the potential for adverse effects.

Why Is Prescription Oxycodone Mixed in Fixed Combinations With Other Drugs?

Combining oxycodone with other analgesic medications can provide more effective pain relief for certain patients. The idea behind these combinations is to target pain through multiple mechanisms, thus increasing the overall effectiveness of the medication.

These fixed-dose combination medications have several benefits:

  • Enhanced pain relief: By targeting pain through different pathways, the combination can provide more effective pain relief than a single drug alone.
  • Lower doses of opioids: Since the non-opioid medication contributes to pain relief, it may be possible to use lower doses of the opioid component, potentially reducing the risk of side effects and dependence.

Simplified medication regimens: Patients taking fixed-dose combination medications can avoid taking multiple pills for pain relief, which may help with medication adherence.

Different Drugs Oxycodone Is Combined With for Pain Management

There are several combinations of oxycodone with other medications available for pain management. Some of the most common include:

  • Oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet): Acetaminophen is a non-opioid analgesic that works by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins, which are responsible for causing inflammation and pain. The combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen can provide more effective pain relief than either drug alone.
  • Oxycodone and ibuprofen (Combunox): Like acetaminophen, ibuprofen is a non-opioid analgesic with anti-inflammatory properties. Combining oxycodone with ibuprofen can help manage pain and inflammation more effectively.
  • Oxycodone and naloxone (Targiniq ER): Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that counteracts the effects of opioids. In this combination, naloxone is included to reduce the potential for abuse by discouraging patients from crushing or dissolving the medication for unintended administration routes.

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Is Oxycodone Mixed With Codeine More Effective Than Oxycodone Alone?

As mentioned earlier, oxycodone and codeine are not typically combined in a single medication. The two opioids have similar mechanisms of action, and combining them may not offer significant additional pain relief compared to using either drug alone. Instead, oxycodone is combined with non-opioid analgesics, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen, to enhance pain relief while minimizing side effects and the risk of dependence.

Do Oxycodone Drug Combinations Cause More Severe Side Effects?

Combining oxycodone with other analgesic medications can alter the side effect profile. In some cases, these combinations may result in fewer side effects compared to taking oxycodone alone, as lower doses of the opioid component can be used. However, the non-opioid component can also contribute to the side effects experienced by the patient.

For example, when oxycodone is combined with acetaminophen or ibuprofen, patients may experience side effects related to the non-opioid component, such as gastrointestinal issues, kidney or liver damage, and allergic reactions. It is essential for patients to discuss potential side effects with their healthcare provider and to follow the prescribed dosage and administration instructions carefully.

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Does Risk of Abuse & Addiction Increase With More Effective Pain Management Medications?

The risk of abuse and addiction is a significant concern when prescribing opioid medications like oxycodone. Combining oxycodone with non-opioid analgesics can potentially lower the risk of abuse, as the non-opioid component contributes to pain relief and may allow for lower doses of the opioid component.

However, any medication containing opioids, including combination drugs, still carries a risk of abuse and addiction. Patients and healthcare providers must work together to balance the need for effective pain relief with the potential risks associated with opioid use.

Some strategies to reduce the risk of abuse and addiction include:

  • Screening for a history of substance abuse or addiction before prescribing opioids.
  • Prescribing the lowest effective dose and duration of opioid medication.
  • Regularly monitoring patients for signs of abuse, addiction, or adverse effects.
  • Encouraging alternative pain management strategies, such as physical therapy, counseling, and non-opioid medications when appropriate.

In summary, oxycodone does not contain codeine, and the two opioids are not typically combined in a single medication. Instead, oxycodone is combined with non-opioid analgesics to enhance pain relief while minimizing side effects and the risk of dependence. Patients should work closely with their healthcare providers to ensure they are receiving the most effective pain relief with the lowest risk of abuse and addiction.

Understanding the complexities of pain relief medications is crucial in ensuring safe and effective pain management. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to opioids or other substances, don’t hesitate to seek help. Guardian Recovery is here to provide the support, guidance, and evidence-based treatment programs you need to overcome addiction and regain control of your life. Our compassionate team of professionals is dedicated to helping you achieve lasting recovery. Take the first step towards a healthier, happier future by reaching out to Guardian Recovery today.


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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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