Updated on January 28, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Since 1999, more than 350,000 people have died from an opioid overdose in the United States. Illegal drugs like heroin often come to mind when we look at drug addiction. However, legal prescriptions cause many of the overdoses involved in the opioid crisis. Prescriptions for medications like Oxaydo can result in addiction and overdose in the prescribed patient.
Oxaydo is a brand-name oxycodone medication with an immediate-release tablet formula. Instead of gradually administering medicine, it releases it all at once. It includes an ingredient that irritates the nose when someone tries to crush it and snort it. The manufacturer added this component to discourage abuse. However, this drug can still cause addiction.
Doctors prescribe oxycodone medicines like Oxaydo when a patient has a built-up tolerance to opioids and experiences constant pain that doesn’t respond to other treatments. Some side effects of Oxaydo don’t pose a threat, but they do cause discomfort. They include:
However, if one of these symptoms becomes severe or doesn’t stop, you should contact a medical professional.
Other Oxaydo side effects may indicate an overdose and require emergency care. A patient should get help if they experience:
Despite Oxaydo’s abuse-deterrent design, a patient can still become addicted to it. In fact, the Oxaydo site itself admits they don’t have evidence showing it even reduces the risk of abuse. The website also mentions patients who take the drug as directed can still get addicted. Taking it properly can lower the chance of dependence, but it certainly doesn’t eliminate it. The risk rises when someone abuses or misuses it, and strong opioids like oxycodone have a small margin of error.
Opioids like Oxaydo change the chemicals in the brain in a way that rewards taking it. When you take an opioid, you experience a surge in dopamine, the substance that causes positive feelings like happiness. This results in a calmness and euphoric sensation some patients begin to seek out actively. Combined with Oxaydo tendency to cause tolerance and dependence, abuse and misuse become more likely.
Despite these dangers, doctors still prescribe oxycodone-based drugs. They wrote almost 60 million oxycodone prescriptions in 2011. Yet, the previous year, 16 million people stated they abused it at some point in their lives. Additionally, tamper-resistant drugs like Oxaydo could actually make the opioid crisis worse. Data suggests addicts could decide to avoid these medications and turn to dangerous street drugs.
We can use medical marijuana to reduce Oxaydo addiction and overdose rates in the following ways:
Medicinal cannabis offers multiple solutions for the ongoing opioid crisis. It relieves pain just as well or even better than Oxaydo for some patients, so they don’t have to take an opioid at all.
If someone still needs opioids to feel pain relief, studies show they can take medical marijuana to make them more effective in smaller amounts. When someone uses the two treatments together, they don’t have to worry about marijuana abuse. We’ve also discovered cannabis can relieve opioid withdrawal symptoms, helping addicts through the recovery process.
If you want to learn more about medicinal cannabis for pain or addiction treatment, consult a marijuana-trained doctor near you.
Check out our resources on specific opiates and medical marijuana: