OxyContin, a brand name for oxycodone, is a strong opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It’s a highly addictive drug that has been popular for abuse, particularly among young people, due to its ability to produce a feeling of euphoria followed by a pleasant high. OxyContin in particular is a controlled-release medication, meaning it’s designed to slowly release the drug into the body after being taken so effects can last up to 12 hours. This can help prevent abuse of the drug, but this safeguard can also be subverted by crushing up the pill to snort or smoke the powder, or by dissolving it to be injected directly in the veins.

Side Effects of Oxycontin Abuse

Standard Side Effects

Most of the side effects associated with OxyContin are mild and not at all dangerous, except for in rare cases of allergic reaction. The most commonly reported issue is nausea, with 23-27 percent of people experiencing this effect. The only real risks tend to arise when very high doses of the drug are taken or if it’s mixed with other intoxicants. This can result in a life-threatening overdose.

Common side effects of OxyContin include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Loss of strength
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Sour stomach
  • Indigestion
  • Itching of the skin
  • Abnormal dreams
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hiccups
  • Belching
  • Tenderness or pain in the stomach area

These effects are considered minor and should disappear within a few days or a couple weeks. They typically only should warrant concern if they continue beyond this timeframe or are severe enough to interfere with everyday functioning.

More severe side effects can include:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Twitching
  • Fever or chills
  • Blood in the urine
  • Chest pain or tightness
  • Difficult or painful urination
  • Changes in urination frequency or volume
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle pain or cramping
  • Severe constipation
  • Severe vomiting
  • Fainting

Some of these symptoms can be indications of serious issues like kidney malfunction and can potentially cause permanent damage or be life-threatening. Contact a doctor immediately if you experience any of them after taking OxyContin.

This is not a comprehensive list of possible side effects. Speak to a medical professional for more information.

Addiction and Overdose

Perhaps the most dangerous side effects are addiction and those associated with overdose. Of course, one of the dangers of addiction to drugs like opioids is the increased potential for overdose death. Opioid overdose is especially dangerous due to the fact that it causes respiratory depression. Victims can have their breathing slowed to the point that not enough oxygen can reach the brain.

Symptoms of OxyContin overdose include:

  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Somnolence
  • Muscle flaccidity
  • Constricted pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Partial or complete airway obstruction
  • Unusual snoring
  • Stupor
  • Slowed or irregular breathing
  • Coma

Severe opioid overdose can result in brain damage or death. Any time an overdose on one of these drugs is suspected, emergency services should be contacted immediately.