Oxycodone is a narcotic analgesic. Oxycontin is the brand-name of a long-acting (also called extended-release) form of oxycodone.
Oxycodone is available as a generic and under the brand names Oxaydo and Roxicodone. It is a short-acting medication that reaches its peak effects within 1.3 to 1.8 hours and lasts for 4 to 6 hours. This means it needs to be given four to six times a day to provide all-day pain-relief.
Oxycontin has been designed to release oxycodone continuously over 12 hours. This means it only needs to be given twice daily.
Oxycodone is also available in combination with other pain-relieving agents, for example:
- aspirin (Percodan, generic also available)
- ibuprofen (generic available)
- acetaminophen (Oxycet, Percocet, Roxicet, generic also available).
Extended-release forms of oxycodone (for example Oxycontin) are not available in combination with other pain-relieving medicines. Both OxyContin and Xtampza (another brand of extended-release oxycodone) are designed in a way that they cannot be injected by drug-seekers.
What does extended-release mean and what extended-release forms of oxycodone are available?
Products that have been designed to release their ingredients more slowly are usually accompanied by words or abbreviations such as ER (extended-release), CR (controlled-release) or SR (slow-release).
The design of an OxyContin tablet is such that the active drug, oxycodone, is released in two phases. The first layer allows for the initial rapid release of oxycodone from the surface of the tablet, providing pain-relief within about 20 minutes. The inner layer slowly releases the remainder of the oxycodone over 12 hours.
Note that the inner co-polymer wax matrix of OxyContin is not meant to dissolve. This intact “ghost pill” may be noticed in the stools. This is not of any concern since the active ingredient has already been released from the tablet.