TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is OxyContin?
- What strengths does OxyContin come in?
- What is the difference between oxycodone and OxyContin?
- What does the OXY and CONTIN in OxyContin stand for?
OxyContin, manufactured by Purdue Pharma, is a controlled-release formulation of oxycodone effective for 12 hours of pain management. Instant-release formulations, such as Percocet and Tylox, are effective for only 4-6 hours, which results in four to six doses per day. With OxyContin, it only needs to be taken twice a day, making it a little easier for the patient. Though oxycodone has been used since 1917, no time-release formulation was available until December 1995, when OxyContin was introduced as a Schedule II substance in the United States. OxyContin is approved for the treatment of moderate or severe pain, though it is only really used in cases of chronic severe pain.
OxyContin is supplied in four strengths: 10 mg, 20 mg, 40 mg, and 80 mg. A 160 mg formulation was available up until May 2001, when it was discontinued. Each tablet is a different color: (1) 10 mg – white, (2) 20 mg – pink, (3) 40 mg – yellow, (4) 80 mg – green, (5) 160 mg – blue [discontinued]. A lot of the companies that manufacture the generic equivalent of OxyContin employ the same color scheme, but not all, so it is always wise to double-check using the Oxycodone Pill Identification Guide.
OxyContin is merely a 12-hour time-release formulation of oxycodone. Over the course of 12 hours, 10-80 mg of oxycodone is released into the body unless the time-release mechanism is bypassed (i.e. crushing the pill). Percocet is an instant-release formulation of oxycodone, with the main difference being the fact that it contains an extra active ingredient, acetaminophen. Another difference is the amount of oxycodone contained in each formulation. OxyContin comes in dosage forms ranging from 10-80 milligrams, and Percocet in doses from 2.5-10 milligrams. One crushed 20 mg OxyContin pill is equal (in terms of oxycodone) to two 10 mg Percocets or the generic equivalent.
USER COMMENTARY: A mistake many people commonly make is to say that abusing Percocet is safer than abusing OxyContin. While in high school, my peers and I all abused opioids, but because I heavily researched this class of drugs before even experimenting, I knew that acetaminophen, the non-opioid active ingredient in Percocet and its generic equivalents, could severely damage the liver. To get high, I knew I had to take more than what was recommended which also meant that I would be consuming a large amount of acetaminophen if I chose to use Percocet. So while all my friends were taking obscene doses of acetaminophen with their oxycodone, I was not because I chose to use OxyContin instead. I wasn’t snorting it at this point, but instead chewing and swallowing. Still, even though I was taking the same doses, and avoiding the Tylenol, it was not socially accepted. It was viewed in the same light as heroin (as it should be), and these people had no idea that they were consuming the same drug that I was despite my frequent attempts to explain this concept. This led me to just keep my little secret to myself.
The OXY in OxyContin is a reference to its active opioid ingredient, oxycodone. The word CONTIN is also seen in other continuous-release medications, such as MS Contin, which is controlled-release morphine. CONTIN is short for continuous, and refers to the fact that it is continuously released over the course of a given period of time, rather than all at once like the instant-release formulations.