Sunday March 29th 2015

Is oxycodone the same as OxyContin?

Is oxycodone the same as OxyContin?

Yes.  And no.

Oxycodone is a generic chemical opioid and is the active ingredient in OxyContin.  And OxyContin is a brand name drug that contains oxycodone.  The addictiveness of OxyContin and oxycodone are generally the same.  So how is oxycodone different than OxyContin?

Here we explore the principle of time release in pain medications, generic versus brand name considerations , pain relief efficiency and give you practical information about similarities and differences between oxycodone and OxyContin below.

Oxycodone and OxyContin actions – what do they do?

Oxycodone is the main ingredient in OxyContin.  Oxycodone is a very powerful opioid drug which is used as a pain reliever. Oxycodone acts by attaching to a specific “receptor” in the brain, spinal cord, and gastrointestinal tract. After taking oxycodone, your perception of pain is different, and you may possibly feel euphoric, or an extreme sense of well-being.  Oxycodone creates the OxyContin euphoric feeling that usually gets people addicted to oxycodone and OxyContin.

Immediate vs. extended release formulas

1. OxyContin is a extended, controlled release drug.

2. Straight, generic oxycodone is available in either immediate release or extended release formulations.

Immediate release oxycodone – Short acting or immediate release (IR) opioids have a rapid onset but short lived therapeutic effect. Opioids in IR form typically start working 15–30 minutes after administration, with peak analgesic effect within 1–2 hours and active pain relief for about 4 hours. Immediate release medications can treat acute pain that is anticipated to last only a few days and are taken every few hours, or during a trial period to test response and tolerance to opioid therapy in people who are considering extended release opioids for chronic pain.

Extended release oxycodone – Extended release (ER) opioids medications are usually prescribed for people who want to treat moderate to severe chronic pain. ER opioids have a more lasting therapeutic effect and can be taken less frequently than IR opioids. These medications are also called sustained release (SR), controlled release (CR) or long acting opioids.

Pain relief efficiency

In terms of analgesic efficacy, extended release versions oxycodone such as OxyContin offer no advantages over immediate release (IR) formulas. In fact, extended release oxycodone formulas like OxyContin have been found to be inferior to a combination of IR oxycodone plus acetaminophen for certain types of pain. The main clinical advantage of the ER over the IR oxycodone versions is less frequent dosing.

Brand vs. generic

Many people aren’t aware that opioid drugs like OxyContin are available in generic form as extended release oxycodone. Confusion is typical, since the brand and generic names are hard to keep straight and doctors can tend to “upsell” you on a brand name opioid pain reliever. But oxycodone is available as a generic extended release medicine and is less expensive and just as effective as brand name OxyContin.

In fact, there is no reason to take the brand-name version of extended release oxycodone, or any opioid at all. But name recognition of opioids like OxyContin is well known and causes some people to request brand name drugs when looking for a strong pain reliever.

Addiction liability

Oxycodone in either immediate release or extended release form is extremely habit forming. In fact, tolerance and physical dependence are expected outcomes of regular treatment with oxycodone. While prescription pain pills may be helpful when used properly, taking oxycodone without a doctor’s approval can be highly addictive and dangerous.

OxyContin has been reformulated to be 100% extended release to help discourage misuse and abuse of the medication. The idea was to prevent OxyContin from being cut, broken, chewed, crushed or dissolved to release more medication. This new formulation may prevent tampering, and can likely result in less abuse by snorting or injection. But OxyContin can still be abused or misused by simply taking larger doses than recommended.

How to treat OxyContin addiction?  Either with long term residential treatment or with medications.

Questions about oxycodone or OxyContin use

Do you have any other questions about using oxycodone or OxyContin? Do you think that you may have a problem with either of these pain medications? We invite your questions, comments and feedback below. We answer all legitimate concerns personally and promptly.

Reference sources: FDA guide to safe use of pain medicine
FDA – OxyContin Q & A
FDA New Release – FDA Approves New Formulation for OxyContin
Consumer Reports Best Buys for Opioid Drugs
APCA Consumer Guide to Pain Medication and Treatments
Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection: Oxycodone, Protect Your Teens
VA Criteria for Use of Controlled-release Oxycodone

Photo credit: Justice [dot] gov

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24 Responses to “Is oxycodone the same as OxyContin?
Erich Hayner
10:35 pm December 22nd, 2011

I knew right away that an Rx for the “oxys” would lead to dependency. I was, and still am in a lot of pain from a couple accute (hopefully) conditions, and I suffer from a few chronic conditions that can’t be cured and have gotten much worse over the last few years. I currently take both quick and extended and am confused about my actual plasma levels from each med. What is the fast release equivalent of a 40mg extended release during a 6 hour period? It seems that I’m taking a lot of this stuff : 4x40mg Oxycontin daily and 2-4 15mg oxycodone daily.
I’m losing my benefits soon and pain or not pain, I must cease taking them. What now? Especially since the pain will still be here…

1:25 pm December 23rd, 2011

Hi Erich. As you cut down on doses of OxyContin, you can expect withdrawal symptoms as your body adjusts to the lack of oxycodone in your body. Withdrawal tends to last for 7-10 days but should be medically managed. Some people ask for medications during detox, others go cold turkey. Check with your doctor before you lower doses, and get suggestions and possible inpatient detox information before you start.

In terms of Oxy levels, it’s probably best to ask a pharmacist. You should be able to call your pharmacy and get this info on the phone.

Please let us know if this helps.

Erich Hayner
5:18 pm December 23rd, 2011

You know, I have asked almost all of my healthcare providers this question, about the apples and oranges of the two medications and how their effective levels in the bloodstream compare, and turns out to be a surprisingly difficult question for them to tackle. Two of my Doctors didn’t seem to be able to grasp the subject, much less answer the question. Ironically, they were surgeons and were responsible for procedures that resulted in the type of pain that requires meds which had helped created my addiction in the first place. I’m sure that it’s in my the bailiwick of pain specialists, whom I should have been seeing from the beginning.
I have been given the option of entering a chemical dependency program that will treat my “addiction” and they tell me that it will consist of 28 days of 14

Erich Hayner
5:33 pm December 23rd, 2011

Excuse me, I hit send.
…. The treatment will consist of 28 days, for 14 hours each day! I’ve been told that Subutex is part of my treatment there, which sounds reasonable, but what the #-&! am I going to with the next 13 hours 59 minutes, and 57 seconds of that day?

Jane Doe
8:03 pm December 30th, 2012

I currently take approx 200 mg of oxycodone. I also take opana er 30 mg three times a day. When I have opana er , I take a little less oxy. MAybe only 60 mg day. I am willing to cut back and need to. I am functional at all times. I work full time. Any reasonable suggestions on how to back off?

9:11 am December 31st, 2012

Hello Jane. Thanks for your question. We’ve addressed your question in another topic called, “How to stop taking OxyContin”. You can find more information here:

But in general, opioid based medications like OxyContin are tapered 10% weekly or slower depending on your development of tolerance. Then reduce the dose by 20% every 3-5 days. Then again 25% every week. If you want to quit completely, taper until there are minuscule traces of OxyContin in the body and then stop dosing.

Does that help?

Jane Doe
10:56 am December 31st, 2012

Yes, the info helps. I hope I can do it. It’s been hard to deal with and I know it’s too much. Thanks.

10:44 am January 25th, 2013

I have had 4 back surgeries in 3 years. 2 laminectomy, 1 double lumbar fusion and an exploratory surgery to find out why my pain was so horrific in that surgery they found Scar tissue and an exposed nerve that was 4x’s the normal size. the last surgery was the exploratory and he said stay in bed for at least 3 weeks. I must say that the last surgery was the most painful. using a scale 1-10 i was a 1,000.

Kathy Simmons
9:25 am January 29th, 2013

What is the name of the OxyContin generic brand? The one’s that have OP on the back of them cuz they are still $680.00 for 90 of them! Take one every 8 hrs for servear chronic back & neck pain pain so bad from my back I’m up all night from the pain! I’m sure I’m addicted to the medicine but I control my self & I’ve been on them for years! U would think I’d b out of control like many ppl I know. Even after they get a month supply it’s gone in 2 weeks & they r out hunting them down spending $500.00 more a sorry I can’t do that! I always have xtra at the end of the mo. But I stock up & hoard them! What’s the name of the generic OxyContin so I can tell my Dr. Even tho I’m sure he knows but I’m gonna make sure! I’ve been on them for almost 2yrs now &cuz my cobra insurance ran out &i got medical ast.they needed him to fill out paper work & he flat out don’t want to deal w them that I had to pay cash for my script an it was $680,00 for 90 @ they took off $80.00 an made it $600.00 from a discount card I have! Now the oxycodone is cheap u can get 30mg 240 pills for 107.00 but I was on 40 mg an oxycodone only goes up to 30mg! Anything would help! My Dr told me I’ll prolly be on them the rest of my life!

2:18 pm January 29th, 2013

Hi Kathy. Generic OxyContin is oxycodone. I’d suggest that you ask your doctor about combining a 30mg + 10 mg dose of oxycodone to compensate for breakthrough pain. But seek a medical opinion first!

Heart Sick Doctor Mom
4:15 am January 30th, 2013

Kathy, Oxycontin presently has no generic alternative, at least not in the United States. The “OP” is a form developed by the manufacturer to negate crushing and abuse of the substance. Oxycontin is “sustained release,” or released over time, whereas Oxycodone is immediate release and is generally used for breakthough pain. The difference in price is quite substantial. Oxycontin is normally prescribed one tab every 12 hours in contrast with Oxycodone that can be taken 1-2 tabs every 4-6 hours, depending on the severity of the chronic pain condition. I am hoping your physician is involved with a licensed, clinical, pain management facility that closely monitors your condition, accepts your insurance and operates above board. Several unscrupulous, so called, “pain clinic specialists” today are nothing more that educated pill-mill operators who charge cash, keep no patient records, and have put profits before people. These physicians are being scrutinized by the DEA. It’s only a matter of time before the law catches up with them. Please make sure your physician is in good standing with your state’s board of physician quality assurance and the local federal DEA agency. Being caught without meds when a physician is shut down due to unscrupulous, unethical, and unlawful behavior can be exceptionally deleterious to your health. Take care, dear.

11:19 pm January 31st, 2013


You may need to detox from the meds because you have built up a tolerance and it will only get harder and you will just need more and more. I suggest you check into a rehab for detox and then get a better assessment of the chronic pain.

1:07 am March 3rd, 2013

Will oxycodone & oxycotin show up the same in a urine screen ?

6:18 am March 3rd, 2013

Hello Charles. Yes. OxyContin and oxycodone are both made of the same substance – oxycodone – and metabolize into the same metabolites. They will appear the same in a urine screen for extended opioids.

6:52 pm March 5th, 2013

I’m wondering if it is okay to take an Oxycodone IR dose at the exact same time as Oxycontin CR? I.e. If I needed pain medication for immediate effect and my controlled release 12hr medication was due to be taken at the same time. Would there be too much opioid in my system all a once…leading to a toxic effect?

1:12 pm March 17th, 2013

I’m currently taking Oxycodone 10/325 pills five times a day, How many mg of Oxycotin ER would I need to take in order to get the same relief as taking the Oxycodone 10/325 five times a day, I would much rather take two pill in a 24hr time period then five, Thank you in advance. Ed

2:37 am April 12th, 2013

to begin with legitiment patients moved away from the new formula cuz when ya take a stool and find one that still has the origfanal coler(barley) but none the less they did not get there dose and 25 % of the time its pot luck if yer going to get the relieve they took it for to begin with so they either triple tha dose or move to another drug street or legal and the other thing is the with draws after taking for a while with the new formula has not changed a bit but worse because the Bitrtate the bind them together and the other that turens it nto to gell has only ben testted by the FDA in a year in a half wich of ya all dont know Bitrtate is used to bind industrial product like Diesle fuel, motercycle oil and a whole mess of othe things you wouldnt take and most of all place and the highest use of the B binder believe it or not is in chewing gum!! no wonder you can chew for a million hours and it holds together and dont know bout all but we were told not to swollow yer gum gus it wound pass is a flat lie,we were told it give ya a stomack ache instead and it more than just youre stomach these new purdu ne OP,s have such strong binders that its documented it Hurts any organ in the human body,,and I was was on the 40mg 3 times a day and had more inner organ aches than what i took it for? to belive its working cuz rehabs dont have oxy patients there plain nt doing them and there at the same if not higher price with out insurance,,if you want to get high youll find sum,n it just wont be that unless its a hand full at a time on the OP,s,,took 4 at one time just to check out of its saftey for ones life is what there claiming not a thing was diffrent than just taking one and there getting by with selling junk meds along with the help of the FDA or greased them?…

2:50 am April 12th, 2013

go to wikapedia and look up the ingredients of purdus new OP,s you will be shoocked of just the Bitrate alone not to mention this Matrix gel when it hits water and using that much bitrate is only legal here in the us cuz other countrys may have war and poverty but there not stupid,,ther the biggest reasons we have decent genric pain meds,mainly india another country?..lool canada president or what ever ther highest ups are called flat out said if politics were aloud to pick and chose what genric medications you can take is insane and ludacrest and she ingnord all other politicians pleas and phony cries cuz purde got in there pokets too and said flat out if the old formula by her scienetest say its safe to take as directect ITS ON! AND ITS ON!!! SHE DONT CARE WHAT THE US THINKS OR UIF THEY MAKE THERE WAY HERE,,CUZ OF THE UNDERHANDED POLITICS HERE IN THE US AND YOU CAND FIND OUT WHAT SHE SAID ANYWHERE BY NOW ON THE NET?..

Roderick Angell
3:04 pm November 5th, 2013

Since Oxycodone resembles Heroin high…how safe is to dissolve and then inject oxycontin tablets thoroughly using filters….?
Thank you

Emil Berlendy
10:04 pm December 16th, 2013

What annoys me is that like a lot of things people are stereotyped without selectively checking the severity of a persons injuries people with 2 herniated dicks vs some one with 5 and a displaced thecal sac with 8 touching the spinal chord and severe stenosis in 3 places plus 2 hernias 1 with a screen

7:28 pm August 27th, 2014

Hi. I take oxycodone and took an oxycontin pill, will my urine test come out ok?

1:37 pm September 1st, 2014

Hi Mary. There shouldn’t be any problems, at least not from one pill.

12:33 pm September 4th, 2014

My name is kelly. I have been perscribed fentenyl 100mch patch for 5yrs and 10mg roxicodone up to four a day. Someone broke into my house stealing all my meds, jewlry, all my copper pipes and more. I was afraid to tell this new dr. She is rude, brass n already starting to talk about taking me off meds that have been working great for me. So I am very worried this will be her excuse. Can she cut me off cold turkey? Will the 40mg op show as oxicodine? Any chance fentenyl could still be there a whole wk later? If anyone can please shed some light on the difference between 40mg op and immediate release roxicodone when looked at in a urine test. And I’ve been told fentenyl can be detected as long as nine days later. Is this true? How do I get through this mess? I live in NY, what are the lawsfor doctors for first time offense?

Sincerly scared

8:00 pm October 27th, 2014

when taking a UA can it detect the difference between Oxycontin from oxycodone?

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