Their names sound alike, and they are often used for similar purposes, but hydrocodone and oxycodone are not identical drugs. When you understand both the similarities and the differences between hydrocodone vs. oxycodone, you’ll be better prepared to make the best healthcare decisions while also protecting yourself and your loved ones from potential harm.
What Are Hydrocodone & Oxycodone?
Hydrocodone and oxycodone are medications that are typically prescribed to people who have been experiencing moderate to severe pain. The two medications share many characteristics, but they also have a few differences.
Similarities Between Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone
The similarities between hydrocodone vs. oxycodone include the following:
- Both substances are opioids. This means that they are part of the same category that includes morphine, heroin, and fentanyl.
- Hydrocodone and oxycodone are both classified as Schedule II controlled substances in the United States. As established by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), a Schedule II designation is for substances that have “a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence.”
- Hydrocodone and oxycodone are both generic terms for drugs that are marketed under a variety of trade names. For example, hydrocodone is sold as Vicodin, while oxycodone is sold as OxyContin and Percocet.
Differences Between Hydrocodone vs Oxycodone
Now that we’ve reviewed a few of the ways that these two substances are alike, let’s look at some differences between hydrocodone vs. oxycodone:
- Oxycodone is slightly older than hydrocodone. Oxycodone was first synthesized in 1916, while hydrocodone was not developed until 1920.
- Prior to 2014, hydrocodone was classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. This means that the U.S. government originally considered hydrocodone to have a lower risk of addiction than oxycodone.
Dangers of Abusing Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone
There is no such thing as completely safe use of hydrocodone or oxycodone. Even if you take these medications as directed by your physician, you may experience certain distressing side effects.
If you begin to abuse either of these drugs – either to self-medicate or for recreational purposes – your risk of serious harm can be magnified.
The many potential dangers of abusing hydrocodone and/or oxycodone include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Decreased fertility
- Cardiovascular problems
- Cognitive impairments
- Physical injuries due to impaired coordination and judgement
- Being arrested, fined, and jailed
- Anxiety, depression, and other mental health concerns
Symptoms of Addiction to Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone
Abusing hydrocodone or oxycodone can quickly lead to addiction. The following physical and psychological symptoms may indicate that you have become addicted to one of these opioids:
- Intense cravings for the drugs
- Needing to use larger doses to experience the effects you are seeking
- Becoming agitated, irritated, and physically ill when you try to stop using the drugs
If you suspect that someone you care about has developed an addiction to hydrocodone or oxycodone, keep an eye out for behaviors such as:
- Trying to buy, borrow, or steal hydrocodone or oxycodone that was prescribed to someone else
- Visiting several doctors and lying about symptoms to illicitly get multiple prescriptions
- Spending significant amounts of time acquiring, using, and recovering from the effects of these opioids
- Withdrawing from family and friends, which may include lying or being otherwise deceptive about where they’ve been and who they’ve been associating with
- Acting with uncharacteristic aggressiveness or recklessness
- Undergoing dramatic, unpredictable changes in mood, energy, and attitude
- Using hydrocodone or oxycodone in ways that are especially dangerous, such as by combining them with alcohol or other addictive substances
- Claiming that they are going to stop using these opioids, but being unable to do so
Anyone who becomes addicted to hydrocodone or oxycodone may be in grave danger, and they should seek professional help.
Treatment Options for Hydrocodone or Oxycodone Addiction
Treatment for opioid use disorder (which is the clinical term for addiction to hydrocodone or oxycodone) often involves medication and therapy.
Certain medications can ease drug cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, which can make it easier for a person to stop using opioids. Some people may only receive medications while they are in detox, while others may continue to take medication for an extended period. Determining which medications are right and deciding how long to continue using them are decisions that each patient should make after consulting with their treatment team.
While medication can be a valuable element of treatment for people who have become addicted to hydrocodone or oxycodone, medicine alone cannot address the social and behavioral aspects of addiction and recovery. This is why therapy is so important.
During therapy, people can explore and address the experiences and influences that may have led them into opioid abuse in the first place. Therapy can also help people identify their triggers, which are the circumstances that can threaten to undermine their recovery.
Individual and group therapy sessions are supportive environments where participants can learn how to regain control of their behaviors and respond to triggers in a healthier manner, without returning to hydrocodone or oxycodone abuse.
Therapy sessions may also focus on topics such as establishing appropriate boundaries and forming healthy relationships, which can be vital for continued successful recovery.
Begin Treatment for Oxycodone or Hydrocodone Addiction in Atlanta
Peachtree Recovery Solutions offers personalized outpatient treatment and compassionate support for adults in the Atlanta, Georgia, area who have become addicted to oxycodone, hydrocodone, and other opioids. Features of care at our center include three levels of outpatient treatment, gender-specific services for men and women, and an array of customizable therapies and support services.
With our help, you can put opioid abuse in your past and build a healthier, drug-free future. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please admissions page or call our center today.