Oxycodone Side Effects, Drug Interactions, & Warnings

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 11, 2022

Oxycodone (brand name OxyContin) is a semi-synthetic opioid analgesic prescription drug used in the treatment of chronic severe pain. It works by stimulating opioid receptors in the central nervous system and changing how pain signals are sent to the brain.

But while these benefits help many people, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance by the FDA. This means it has a high potential for abuse and can lead to physical dependence and addiction.

Additionally, oxycodone use comes with a number of side effects and warnings, and can negatively interact with many drugs.

Common Side Effects Of Oxycodone

Oxycodone can produce a wide range of side effects ranging from mild to very serious. The more you abuse the opioid medication or take it in high doses, the more intense the side effects can be.

The most common side effects of oxycodone may include:

  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • tiredness
  • constipation
  • stomach pain
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • mood changes

Serious Side Effects Of Oxycodone

While serious side effects are rare, they do happen and can be life-threatening if left untreated. Some of the serious side effects of oxycodone can include:

  • slow breathing
  • shallow breathing
  • sleep apnea
  • slow heart rate
  • lightheadedness
  • seizure
  • vomiting
  • loss of appetite
  • dizziness
  • sedation
  • intense tiredness

Oxycodone Drug Interactions

There are quite a few drugs that don’t react well with oxycodone. If you take oxycodone with any of the following drugs, the results can be severe:

  • alcohol
  • antihistamines
  • benzodiazepines
  • buprenorphine
  • certain nutritional supplements
  • ketoconazole
  • muscle relaxants
  • other opioid pain relievers
  • naloxone (Narcan)
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
  • serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors like duloxetine (Cymbalta) and venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors like isocarboxazid (Marplan) and linezolid (Zyvox)

If you’re getting oxycodone from a drug dealer, it’s almost impossible to know what exactly it’s made of or if anything else is mixed in it. One of the above medications could be cut into it and lead to a very dangerous reaction.

Oxycodone Warnings

Several warnings also come with oxycodone. These warnings let people know who shouldn’t take the drug and what happens if you abuse or overdose on it.

Oxycodone Overdose

If you abuse or take higher doses of oxycodone, you increase your chance of overdosing on the drug. An oxycodone overdose can be life-threatening if you don’t receive treatment as soon as possible, which includes a dose of the opioid reversal medication naloxone (Narcan). 

Some of the symptoms of an oxycodone overdose can include:

  • stomach pain
  • vomiting
  • weak pulse
  • coma
  • seizures
  • pinpoint pupils
  • extreme sleepiness
  • breathing problems like respiratory depression
  • cold, clammy skin
  • bluish skin around the lips

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxycodone abuse can also lead to withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using the drug. 

Abusing oxycodone increases the chance that you’ll build up a physical dependence on the drug. Once that happens, your body will no longer function properly without the drug.

When you try to quit, withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur and can include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fatigue
  • depression and anxiety
  • diarrhea
  • runny nose
  • increased heart rate
  • body aches
  • poor concentration
  • mood swings

Because these symptoms can be quite intense and make quitting very difficult, a supervised detox program may be recommended. 


While there are few studies on how opioids affect breastfeeding and the baby, oxycodone can transfer into breast milk and then to the baby. Once your child stops breastfeeding, they may experience some form of withdrawal.

Because of this, healthcare providers often recommend switching to safer medications during this time.

Allergic Reaction

There is also a chance of having an allergic reaction to oxycodone. Those who are allergic to any of  the ingredients in the medication can experience:

  • hives
  • rash
  • swelling of the face, tongue, and throat
  • severe dizziness
  • trouble breathing

Medical Conditions

There are also several medical conditions that do not mix well with oxycodone. The opioid drug can actually make these conditions worse. 

If you’re abusing oxycodone and have one of the following conditions, you could be putting your physical and mental health at risk: 

  • low blood pressure
  • epilepsy
  • Addison’s disease/impairment of the adrenal gland
  • heart disease
  • kidney disease
  • liver disease
  • thyroid issues
  • colon cancer
  • esophageal cancer
  • history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • breathing problems like COPD and sleep apnea
  • depression

If you or a loved one live with oxycodone addiction, please contact Ohio Recovery Center for information on our inpatient treatment options.

  1. Mayo Clinic — Oxycodone (Oral Route) https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/oxycodone-oral-route/before-using/drg-20074193
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxycodone https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html
  3. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Pregnancy and Opioids https://medlineplus.gov/pregnancyandopioids.html
  4. National Library of Medicine: StatPearls — Oxycodone https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482226/

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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