Updated on January 28, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
The opioid crisis has made a lasting impact on the United States’ public health. Between 1999 and 2016, more than 350,000 people died from an opioid overdose. Prescription opioids are as much to blame as street drugs, with medications like Roxicet causing addiction and overdose every day. But, by introducing safer alternatives for pain relief, we can reduce our usage of these harmful drugs so all patients can live comfortably.
Roxicet is a branded medication that consists of the opioid oxycodone combined with acetaminophen. You can take it as a tablet or in a liquid solution.
Plenty of people take acetaminophen without experiencing any danger, but oxycodone can cause a wide range of side effects and lethal overdose. So, doctors try to limit Roxicet prescriptions to patients with an existing opioid tolerance who have not found relief from other options. Even patients who use Roxicet correctly become physically dependent on it and have to taper off their doses when stopping treatment.
Not all Roxicet side effects have long-term implications, but they can certainly cause discomfort. The following side effects don’t indicate any problems as long as they are mild and eventually go away:
However, other side effects could be signs the patient is going through an overdose. If one of the following problems occurs, a patient should get medical help right away:
Since Roxicet contains acetaminophen, it can also cause the side effects associated with that substance, such as nausea and liver damage.
Oxycodone medications like Roxicet have a high risk of addiction and overdose. Opioids change the way a certain part of your brain processes pain. However, that same area also manages positive feelings, like pleasure. Roxicet can create a rush of dopamine, the chemical that makes us feel happy, encouraging further use. Some patients begin to seek out the drug for more of these feelings, leading to abuse and addiction.
Someone can become addicted to Roxicet even when they take it according to their doctor’s directions. Since the brain and body become physically dependent on Roxicet, it can eventually take higher or more frequent doses of the medicine for the patient to feel the same relief.
When physical dependence occurs, the patient experiences withdrawal symptoms if they don’t take a certain amount of the drug, further encouraging abuse. Physicians who prescribe oxycodone medications try to monitor their patients closely, but mistakes can happen.
Roxicet’s acetaminophen content makes addiction even more dangerous than oxycodone addiction alone. When someone takes too much acetaminophen, they can experience liver problems or failure. Since addiction makes a patient constantly want Roxicet, overdosing becomes much more likely. Despite these risks, doctors wrote nearly 60 million oxycodone prescriptions in 2013.
Medical cannabis offers multiple solutions to rising Roxicet addiction rates, such as:
It helps all patients affected by the opioid crisis. Patients considering Roxicet can choose medical cannabis as a safer, less addictive substitute that works just as well. If someone still needs opioids to get pain relief, they can take smaller doses in combination with medical marijuana.
Research demonstrates cannabis helps opioids work better, letting someone take fewer opioids to get the same relief. In addition, marijuana doesn’t have the potential for abuse that Roxicet has. Instead of using another opioid to manage withdrawal symptoms, recovering addicts can use cannabis medicine.
If you think you could benefit from medicinal cannabis for pain or addiction, search for a cannabis-friendly doctor near you today.
Check out our resources on specific opiates and medical marijuana: