TABLE OF CONTENTS
- What is OxyContin?
- What strengths does OxyContin come in?
- What is the difference between oxycodone and OxyContin?
- What is the difference between OxyContin and Percocet?
- 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, the medication only needs to be taken twice a day, which simplifies the process 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 used in cases of chronic severe pain.
OxyContin is supplied in seven strengths: 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, and 80 mg. A blue-colored 160 mg formulation was available up until May 2001, when it was discontinued for safety reasons. Each tablet is a different color: (1) 10 mg – white, (2) 15 mg – gray, (3) 20 mg – pink, (4) 30 mg – brown, (5) 40 mg – yellow, (6) 60 mg – red, (7) 80 mg – green. Many of the companies involved in the manufacture of the generic equivalent 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 the brand name under which Purdue Pharma chooses to market its product. The active opioid ingredient in OxyContin is oxycodone, the same chemical used in Percocet, Tylox, and other popular opioid analgesics.
As stated earlier, OxyContin is a controlled-release formulation containing oxycodone. It contains doses of oxycodone ranging from 10-80 mg. Percocet is an instant-release oxycodone formulation, but with doses ranging from 2.5-10 mg. Compared with OxyContin, Percocet contains a second active ingredient—acetaminophen (Tylenol). One crushed 10 mg OxyContin tablet is comparable to one 10 mg Percocet tablet.
Some individuals mistakenly believe that abusing Percocet is somehow safer than abusing OxyContin. In some circles, Percocet may even be socially acceptable, where OxyContin is demonized. In the end, both formulations contain the same opioid—oxycodone. Individuals abusing Percocet who also have a high tolerance are forced to take increasingly large doses of acetaminophen, a drug known to cause severe liver damage. Both Percocet and OxyContin use the same opioid ingredient to achieve analgesia, and both are extremely dangerous when abused.
The OXY in OxyContin is a reference to its active opioid ingredient, oxycodone. The word CONTIN, which is also seen in other continuous-release medications such as MS Contin (controlled-release morphine), refers to “continuous.” CONTIN indicates that the medication is continuously released over the course of a specified period of time, rather than instantaneously like Percocet and Tylox.