Oxycodone, an opioid drug generally prescribed under the brand names OxyContin and Percocet, is primarily used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Despite being manufactured in a lab and prescribed by doctors to treat patients with chronic or acute pain, oxycodone impacts the user in many of the same ways that illegal opioids affect a user. With powerful high producing effects, many people, regardless of their intention to use as prescribed, become addicted to the drug and inevitably end up using it in other ways than for their chronic/acute pain.

Additionally, when using more than prescribed, the user will develop an increased tolerance to taking the drug, needing more of the drug to feel the same effects. With increased dosage comes the increased risk of accidental overdose. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published alarming statistics that drug overdose deaths involving opioids rose from 18,515 deaths in 2007 to 68,630 deaths in 2020; more than 70% of those were men.  Understanding how oxycodone affects the user, what withdrawal symptoms look like, and how to get treatment are key to preventing the further increase of these devastating numbers.

Side Effects of Oxycodone Abuse

Like other opioid drugs, oxycodone affects the brain’s reward centers, giving the user intensely positive feelings. Additionally, because it acts on the body’s central nervous system, the user will perceive their pain and emotional response to pain to be lessened. When used as prescribed, the side effects of oxycodone are generally mild. Like other narcotic drugs, driving and other activities that require mental or physical abilities may be impaired with lower doses. However, when taking more than prescribed, particularly when abusing the drug, these side effects can become more serious.

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Side effects of oxycodone include:

  • Breathing irregularity
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dizziness
  • Heart failure
  • Overdose death due to cardiac arrest

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

The intensity of the withdrawal process depends on many factors, including the duration of use, the amount used, and the degree of neuroadaptation in the user (long-lasting changes in the brain).

Common oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include some or all of the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills or hot flashes
  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure
  • Sore muscles or tremors
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Depression, anxiety, or mood swings
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Withdrawal symptoms can start within an hour after taking the last dose and can last about a week, depending on the person and the severity of the addiction. Symptoms like depression, anxiety, or mood swings may last months or longer.

Getting Help with Oxycodone Withdrawal

Trying to detox off oxycodone can be dangerous and highly ineffective for the user when doing it alone. Getting the proper medical attention and treatment when detoxing off of oxycodone is vital in recovering without extreme withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, with clinical help, one can get the psychological treatment needed to transition from addiction to sobriety without returning to the drug.

At Infinite Recovery, we don’t want your detox to be any more difficult than it needs to be. With our medical and clinical professionals and our board-certified psychiatrist with over 20 years in addiction medicine, we set the foundation for someone with oxycodone dependence to heal holistically. Reach out to our compassionate staff for further information. We are here to help guide you so that you can get the recovery you or your family member needs and deserves.


Infinite Recovery has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for our references. We avoid using tertiary references as our sources. You can learn more about how we source our references by reading our editorial guidelines and medical review policy.

  1. RxList. Side Effects of Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen), Warnings, Uses. RxList. Published January 6, 2022. Accessed June 23, 2022. https://www.rxlist.com/percocet-side-effects-drug-center.htm
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Overdose Death Rates. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published January 20, 2022. Accessed June 23, 2022. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/overdose-death-rates
Amanda Stevens, BS

Medical Content Writer

Amanda Stevens, BS

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magnum Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work. As a person in recovery from disordered eating, she is passionate about seeing people heal and transform. She writes for popular treatment centers such as Ocean Recovery, Ascendant NY, The Heights Treatment, Epiphany Wellness, New Waters Recovery and adolescent mental health treatment center BasePoint Academy. In her spare time she loves learning about health, nutrition, meditation, spiritual practices, and enjoys being the a mother of a beautiful daughter.

Last medically reviewed June 23, 2022

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