Oxycodone vs. Hydrocodone – which one is better?

Often when a patient is prescribed a pain killer medication it is hard to tell what the difference is between what they were prescribed and other common medications in the same category. From the patient perspective it is important to know what a certain drug is, what it is used for and how it compares to the other similar drugs. The most commonly prescribed pain killer drugs are Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. These are similar drugs with similar uses, but there are some important differences to keep in mind.

oxycodone vs. hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is mainly used to help treat moderate to sever pain. This drug falls under the opioid category and is derived from codeine. It has been noted that the time it takes hydrocodone to begin acting against the pain is between twenty to thirty minutes and generally keeps the pain at bay somewhere between four to eight hours. The recommended time to wait before taking another dose is around four to six hours. The common side effects of this drug are nausea, vomiting and constipation along with drowsiness. When this drug is prescribed it is usually combined with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. This is a common pain killer used in the United States, but is in rare use elsewhere. This drug also has a habit-forming component, which could cause a drug addition.

Oxycodone is another pain killer used to treat moderate to severe pain. This drug is derived from the poppy plant. Unlike hydrocodone this drug is available in a single-ingredient medication, it is not mixed with anything else. It comes in two forms: immediate release and controlled release. A controlled-release tablet is designed to be taken every twelve hours to maintain a constant pain relief system. This is a common drug prescribed to cancer patients who have chronic pain problems. The common side effects for this drug are similar to that of hydrocodone: fatigue, constipation and nausea. One big issue with this drug is the risk of drug dependance or experiencing withdrawal symptoms when stopping the medication. These can be very hazardess situations and need to be closely monitored.

Oxycodone vs. Hydrocodone
Even though these two drugs are similar in their uses and directed effects, they have some major differences that are important to keep in mind. Studies have been done and it was found that it took 50% more hydrocodone to reach the same effect of oxycodone. The conclusion that was reached was that oxycodone is 50% more potent than the other drug. In another study that looked into ER visits of patients that had fractures it was accessed that both oxycodone and hydrocodone had equal pain killing effects. This then showed that for fracture pain or immediate pain both drugs are equal, but for more chronic and long term pain oxycodone is the drug of choice. When comparing which drug has a higher probability of drug dependance and withdrawals, both drugs show signs of dependance but to different degrees. Hydrocodone dependance is similar to morphine, but it is much less than the oxycodone dependance and withdrawal problems. When it comes to deciding which drug is better for which situation, the amount of time that the drug will be needed to be taken is a good starting point. Oxycodone is the better drug for chronic pain while hydrocodone is the better choice for accident type pain.


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