Over 3 million people in the United States alone meet the clinical definition of opioid use disorder. Oxycodone is one of the most popular opioid medications available worldwide. It is a powerful narcotic painkiller used to treat moderate to severe pain associated with debilitating injuries, chronic diseases, and end-of-life care. Understanding the half-life of oxycodone is important for both healthcare professionals and patients who may have been prescribed the drug.
Some drugs medications up in the system presenting a potential hazard when other drugs are added. Those who take a proactive approach to their health may want to learn about the half-life of oxycodone before taking the drug.
Still, those who work in drug rehab facilities can use this information to help determine if patients are complying with their plan of care. There are many ways that learning about the half-life of oxycodone can be helpful. Here’s what you need to know.
What is oxycodone?
Oxycodone is a potent narcotic medication made from chemical compounds which mimic opiates. It is classified as a Schedule II narcotic by the Drug Enforcement Agency which strictly regulates the drug. While it is a very effective pain reliever, oxycodone has a high potential for abuse. It binds to opioid receptors in the body to block out pain signals and release dopamine. This sudden rush of dopamine activates the pleasure center in the brain to promote feelings of euphoria.
The problem with oxycodone is that it is highly addictive. Patients can develop a physical dependence and even a tolerance for the drug in just a short time. When you have a tolerance for oxycodone, it means that it requires more of the drug to achieve the desired effect. Once this happens, addiction is all but imminent and it usually requires professional help to stop.
Half-Life of Oxycodone
Oxycodone is a relatively fast-acting painkiller, so the half-life is shorter than with many other drugs. A drug’s half-life is the amount of time it takes for the body to process and eliminate the active ingredients in the last dose. The half-life of oxycodone is a little more than 3 hours, depending on multiple other factors.
Additional factors that can affect how oxycodone is processed include a person’s hydration level, body mass index, and live function. The length of time someone has been taking the drug can also affect how it is processed through the system.
Since oxycodone is available in both instant-release and extended-release formulations, the half-life for an instant-release formulation may be a little shorter. It is also important to understand that oxycodone can still be detected in someone’s system even after it has reached its half-life.
Avoid Opioid Abuse
Oxycodone is a powerful opioid medication that is only available by prescription. It is heavily regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency because of its high potential for abuse. Patients who are prescribed oxycodone for pain can easily become addicted in a short time. Understanding the oxycodone half-life is important for both healthcare providers and patients who may be prescribed the drug because it offers a good idea of how long the drug may be active in your system. Oxycodone should only be taken under the supervision of a licensed healthcare provider and then for the shortest period possible. If you have become addicted to this potent medication, get professional help today.