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Oxycodone vs OxyContin

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Oxycodone and OxyContin are two medications that are often confused with one another. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid. OxyContin is also classified as an opioid. OxyContin is known as the brand name, extended-release version of Oxycodone. Both substances can be prescribed by a doctor and are used to help treat chronic pain or pain that is present following a surgical procedure.

Opioids are extremely addictive substances. Approximately 14.3 million individuals, over the age of 12, reportedly engaged in prescription medication misuse within a 12 month period in 2021. (1) Additionally, approximately 8.7 million individuals engaged in the misuse of prescription opioid medications during the same year. (2) Here at Guardian Recovery, we are dedicated to helping reduce these statistics.

If you or someone you love are experiencing prescription opioid misuse, or dependency to any other substances, treatment at one of our facilities may be beneficial. With Oxycodone and OxyContin specific detoxification services, you or someone you love can begin to start a substance free lifestyle in a safe environment. Contact us to receive more information and to start your road to recovery today.

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Is Oxycodone the Same as OxyContin?

Oxycodone and OxyContin are two names given for formulation differences of the same substance. Many of their properties overlap with one another due to them essentially being the same substance. OxyContin is the brand name for Oxycodone.

Other brand names for Oxycodone include: (3)

  • Oxypro
  • Longtex
  • Reltebon
  • Zomestine

Similarities Between the Two

Both Oxycodone and OxyContin are analgesics, meaning that they are used to help treat pain. Both substances are classified as narcotics. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies both Oxycodone and OxyContin as Schedule II substances. (4) This drug classification means that both substances are illegal for recreational purposes, but they can be used for specific medical reasons. Both substances affect the brain similarly. They both attach to the endogenous opioid receptors. (5) These receptors are responsible for changes in experiences of pain, stress, and anxiety.

Oxycodone & Extended-Release Variant

Oxycodone is available in an immediate release version and extended-release version. (6) Immediate-release substances are released into the body quicker, while extended-release versions are released into the body slowly. This is why extended-release versions are taken less often than immediate-release forms. OxyContin is only available in the extended-release form. (7)

Under What Circumstances Is OxyContin Chosen Over Oxycodone?

Oxycodone and OxyContin are both used to treat moderate to severe pain. Since Oxycodone is an immediate-release formula, it is often used for treating pain after surgery or from a severe injury. Since OxyContin is an extended-release formula and slowly enters the body, it is often used for pain that accompanies the varying stages of chronic diseases. (8) Oxycodone is often used for shorter treatment, while OxyContin is often used for longer treatments.

In What Forms Are Oxycodone & OxyContin Prescribed?

Oxycodone can be prescribed as an immediate-release oral tablet, capsule, or solution. (9) OxyContin can be prescribed as an extended-release tablet. Oxycodone tablets can be cut, opened, and crushed, while OxyContin tablets cannot.

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Is Oxycodone Stronger Than OxyContin for Pain Relief?

Due to Oxycodone and OxyContin being essentially the same, one is not stronger than the other. 5 milligrams of Oxycodone is equivalent to 5 milligrams of OxyContin. (10)

Common Side Effects

Oxycodone and OxyContin produce similar side effects due to them both being opioids.

Common side effects associated with Oxycodone and OxyContin include: (11)

  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Constipation
  •  Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of energy
  • Difficulties sleeping
  • Itchiness

There are some serious side effects associated with Oxycodone and OxyContin use. If you or someone you love experience heavy muscle stiffness, dizziness, or low energy, seek immediate emergency care. (12)

Long-Term Issues That Can Result From Prolonged Use

Chronic or long-term Oxycodone or OxyContin use can lead to adverse effects. (13) These can be minimal such as gastrointestinal issues, or severe such as coma or death. Long-term use of both substances can also lead to tolerance. Tolerance is developed when more of a substance is needed in order to produce similar effects as past uses, or to reach the desired effects. This means that higher doses of Oxycodone or OxyContin would be needed in order to experience pain relief. Developing a tolerance to a substance more than likely is a sign of addiction.

Interactions and Warnings for Oxycodone & OxyContin

Drug interactions occur when another substance changes how a particular drug works. Drug interactions can affect how well a substance works and can even be harmful. When opioids interact with other substances it often results in dangerous side effects.

Substances that can interact with Oxycodone and OxyContin include: (14)

  • Other opioids
  • Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, or other sedative medications.
  • Sleeping medications
  • Tranquilizers or muscle relaxants
  • Medications used for the treatment of mental health disorders such as depression or anxiety
  • Medications used for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease
  • Medications used for the treatment of migraines or headaches
  • Medications used to help treat and prevent nausea, vomiting, or motion sickness
  • Cold and allergy medications
  • Medications for irritable bowel syndrome

It is important to let your doctor know if you take any of the above medications when prescribed Oxycodone or OxyContin.

What Are the Differences Between the Two?

With many similarities, some wonder what are the differences of Oxycodone vs OxyContin? The main difference between the two substances is that Oxycodone is available in multiple pharmacological formulations while OxyContin is only available in one. Oxycodone is used as a main ingredient in various pain medications, including OxyContin. Oxycodone is taken every 4 to 6 hours. (15) While OxyContin is taken every 12 hours. (16)


Since Oxycodone is available in the generic form, it is often cheaper than OxyContin. Insurance companies may sometimes prefer generic Oxycodone in comparison to OxyContin. Contacting your insurance plan can help you determine which types of medications are covered.


Not all pharmacies carry Oxycodone, OxyContin, or both. Contacting your pharmacy can help determine which medications are in stock and available.

Can Both Oxycodone & OxyContin Use Cause Addiction & Dependence?

Since both Oxycodone and OxyContin are prescription opioids, they are extremely addictive. When an individual is experiencing a dependence to either substance, they may swallow it, crush it, or dissolve it in powder, or inject the liquid into their veins.

Ways that individuals may misuse Oxycodone and OxyContin include:

  • Taking someone else’s prescription
  • Taking extra doses or the substances in ways other than they are prescribed
  • Taking the medications in order for the effects to produce a high

Approximately 5 million individuals were diagnosed with a prescription opioid use disorder in 2021. (17)

Treatment for Oxycodone & OxyContin Addiction & Dependence

The combination of medication-assisted treatment and psychotherapy have been found to be effective in the treatment for Oxycodone, OxyContin, and other prescription opioids.

Medications used in the treatment of Oxycodone and OxyContin dependence include:

  • Methadone – This medication is a full agonist. It works by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Buprenorphine – This medication is a partial agonist. It works similarly to methadone, reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
  • Naltrexone- This medication is an antagonist. It works by blocking the effects of Oxycodone and OxyContin

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Here at Guardian Recovery, we offer psychoeducation and comprehensive care for individuals experiencing substance use disorders, including prescription opioid use disorder. Our facilities include dual diagnosis treatment options, which are available for those experiencing substance use and mental health disorders at the same time. Contact us to receive a free, no obligation insurance benefits check. Start your recovery journey today with Guardian Recovery.


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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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