Oxycodone hydrochloride (Roxicodone, Oxaydo, Roxybond) is a generic prescription medication used to treat severe pain. Oxycodone comes as an oral tablet. As with other drugs, oxycodone can cause side effects (adverse effects).

Oxycodone also comes as an oral capsule, oral solution, and extended-release tablet. However, this article does not cover these forms.

In most cases, oxycodone is used short term for severe pain. However, in some cases, your doctor may recommend taking oxycodone for a longer period of time to treat your pain.

Read on to learn about potential common, mild, and serious side effects. For a general overview of oxycodone, including details about its uses, refer to this article. Your doctor can also tell you more about oxycodone.

Oxycodone can cause certain side effects, some of which are more common than others. These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

These are just a few of the more common side effects reported by people who took oxycodone in clinical trials:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Oxycodone: Side effect specifics” below.

Mild side effects can occur with oxycodone use. This list doesn’t include all possible mild side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to oxycodone’s prescribing information.

Mild side effects that have been reported with oxycodone include:

These side effects may be temporary, lasting a few days to weeks. However, if the side effects last longer than that, bother you, or become severe, be sure to talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Note: After the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a drug, it tracks side effects of the medication. If you develop a side effect while taking oxycodone and want to tell the FDA about it, visit MedWatch.

* For more information about this side effect, see “Oxycodone: Side effect specifics” below.

Oxycodone may cause serious side effects. The list below may not include all possible serious side effects of the drug. For more information, you can refer to oxycodone’s prescribing information.

If you develop serious side effects while taking oxycodone, call your doctor right away. If the side effects seem life threatening or you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Serious side effects that have been reported and their symptoms include:

  • Euphoria (intense happiness and excitement). Symptoms can include:
    • extreme excitement or happiness
  • Seizures. Symptoms can include:
    • confusion
    • uncontrolled movements of the arms or legs
    • loss of consciousness
  • Adrenal conditions, which happen when your body cannot produce enough of certain hormones, such as cortisol. Symptoms can include:
    • muscle or joint pain
    • nausea or vomiting
  • Low blood pressure. Symptoms can include:
    • dizziness
    • blurry vision
  • Heart problems. Symptoms can include:
    • chest pain
    • shortness of breath
  • Boxed warnings:*
    • risk of accidentally taking oxycodone
    • increased risks if taken with other drugs
    • neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome
  • Severe allergic reaction.

* Oxycodone has boxed warnings for these side effects. A boxed warning is the most serious warning from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To learn more, see the “Oxycodone: Side effect specifics” section below.

It’s possible to experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking oxycodone. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if your body is used to a medication that you stop taking.

Examples of withdrawal symptoms that you may experience from stopping oxycodone include:

To help prevent withdrawal symptoms from occurring, your doctor may recommend slowly decreasing your dose of oxycodone over time. This will help your body adjust to a lower dose of medication, which can decrease your risk of withdrawal symptoms.

Your doctor may recommend taking oxycodone in combination with Tylenol (acetaminophen). Oxycodone is also available as an oral tablet that contains both oxycodone and acetaminophen. The brand names of this drug include Oxycet and Percocet.

Many of the side effects of oxycodone and acetaminophen are the same as the side effects of oxycodone alone. However, people taking oxycodone with acetaminophen may be at an increased risk of additional side effects, such as liver problems.

If you’re taking a medication to treat pain, talk with your doctor about the best treatment option for you.

Learn more about some of the side effects that oxycodone may cause. To find out how often side effects occurred in clinical trials, see the prescribing information for oxycodone.

Boxed warnings

Oxycodone has several boxed warnings, which are addressed below. These are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The purpose of a boxed warning is to alert patients and prescribers about the risks of taking a medication.

Risk of respiratory depression

Oxycodone has a boxed warning for the risk of respiratory depression. Respiratory depression can cause slow or shallow breathing. This may make it feel like it’s hard for you to breathe. In some cases, respiratory depression can be severe or life threatening.

It’s possible for respiratory depression to occur if you take oxycodone as your doctor prescribes. You may be at the highest risk of respiratory depression when you first start taking oxycodone or when your dosage of the drug is increased.

What you can do

When you first start taking oxycodone, your doctor will recommend starting with a low dose of medication. Then, if you need a higher dose, they can increase it over time. Starting at a low dose allows your body to adjust to the drug, which can decrease your risk of respiratory depression.

You should be aware of symptoms of respiratory depression, including slow, shallow breathing. If you have any trouble breathing when you’re taking oxycodone, go to a hospital right away.

When you take oxycodone, your doctor may recommend having Narcan (naloxone) available in your home. Naloxone is an opioid blocker that is used to treat opioid overdose. This can also help treat respiratory depression.

It’s important to note that if you take or give a dose of naloxone, you still need to go to the hospital. Naloxone works to treat an overdose temporarily, but more medical attention may be needed. If you’re taking oxycodone, talk with your doctor about keeping naloxone in your home.

Risk of accidentally taking oxycodone

Taking a dose of oxycodone accidentally can be serious or life threatening. In fact, oxycodone has a boxed warning for this risk. If this medication is taken by someone other than the person it was prescribed to, they may be at risk of overdose.

Taking only one accidental dose of oxycodone can cause serious or life threatening side effects in someone who isn’t taking to the drug. Children may be at especially high risk of overdose if they accidentally take oxycodone.

What you can do

Be sure to keep oxycodone in a safe area, away from children or others who may accidentally take the medication. If you notice someone experiencing symptoms of an opioid overdose, take them to the hospital right away. Oxycodone overdose symptoms may include:

If you take oxycodone, your doctor may recommend having Narcan (naloxone) in your home. Naloxone is an opioid blocker that is used to treat opioid overdose.

It’s important to note that if you take or give a dose of naloxone, you still need to go to the hospital. Naloxone works to treat an overdose temporarily, but more medical attention may be needed. If you’re taking oxycodone, talk with your doctor about keeping naloxone in your home.

Increased risks if taken with specific drugs

You may be at an increased risk of serious side effects, including overdose, if you take oxycodone in combination with other specific drugs. In some cases, these side effects can be serious or life threatening. Oxycodone has a boxed warning for increased risks if you take it with certain other medications.

Specifically, taking oxycodone with some medications may increase your risk of respiratory depression, which can be life threatening. Examples of these drugs include benzodiazepines or other drugs that affect the central nervous system, including:

Oxycodone may also interact with drugs that affect an enzyme in your body called CYP3A4. CYP3A4 breaks down oxycodone. So, if you take any other medications that affect CYP3A4, your body may break down oxycodone either too quickly or too slowly. This can cause oxycodone not to work as well as it should, or it can cause you to get too much oxycodone, which may lead to overdose. Examples of drugs that can affect CYP3A4 include:

  • Norvir (ritonavir)
  • Eryc (erythromycin)
  • Rimactane (rifampin)
  • Dilantin (phenytoin)

What you can do

Tell your doctor about any medications you take before starting treatment with oxycodone. Your doctor can help determine whether your medications can increase your risk of side effects with oxycodone.

In some cases, such as if you take a benzodiazepine, your doctor may recommend the lowest possible dose of both your benzodiazepine and oxycodone. This may decrease your risk of serious side effects, including overdose. They may also recommend more frequent monitoring during your treatment.

In some cases, your doctor may also recommend having Narcan (naloxone) available in your home. Naloxone is an opioid blocker that is used to treat opioid overdose.

It’s important to note that if you take or give a dose of naloxone, you still need to go to the hospital. Naloxone works to treat an overdose temporarily, but more medical attention may be needed. If you’re taking oxycodone, talk with your doctor about keeping naloxone in your home.

Constipation

You may experience constipation from taking oxycodone. Constipation was one of the most common side effects that people taking oxycodone reported in clinical trials. Taking a higher dose of oxycodone may increase your risk of developing constipation.

What you can do

If you notice constipation during your treatment with oxycodone, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend an over-the-counter (OTC) medication, such as MiraLAX (polyethylene glycol) to treat your constipation.

Nausea

Some people may experience nausea from taking oxycodone. This was a common side effect in clinical trials of the drug. It’s possible that taking a higher dose of oxycodone may increase your risk of nausea occurring.

What you can do

If you feel nauseous during your treatment with oxycodone, talk with your doctor. In some cases, taking medications with food may decrease nausea. Your doctor may also be able to recommend other ways to reduce your nausea.

Itching

You may experience itching from taking oxycodone. In fact, itching was one of the most common side effects that people taking oxycodone reported in clinical trials. Taking a higher dose of oxycodone may increase your risk of itching.

What you can do

Talk with your doctor if you notice itching from taking oxycodone. In some cases, itching can be caused by an allergic reaction. Your doctor can help make sure that your itching is not due to an allergic reaction.

Your doctor may also be able to recommend ways to treat your itching. This may include using OTC creams or medications such as Benadryl (diphenhydramine) to treat your itching.

Headache

You may experience headaches from taking oxycodone. In fact, headache was one of the most common side effects reported in clinical trials of the drug.

What you can do

If you experience headaches during your treatment with oxycodone, talk with your doctor. They may be able to recommend ways to treat your headaches. For example, they may recommend OTC medications such as Tylenol (acetaminophen) to treat your headaches.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people may have an allergic reaction to oxycodone. This was a rare side effect in clinical trials of the drug.

Symptoms can be mild or serious and can include:

  • skin rash
  • itching
  • flushing
  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your mouth, tongue, or throat, which can make it hard to breathe

What you can do

For mild symptoms of an allergic reaction, call your doctor right away. They may recommend ways to ease your symptoms and determine whether you should keep taking oxycodone. However, if your symptoms are serious and you think you’re having a medical emergency, immediately call 911 or your local emergency number.

Suicide prevention

If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person:

  • Ask the tough question: “Are you considering suicide?”
  • Listen to the person without judgment.
  • Call 911 or the local emergency number, or text TALK to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor.
  • Stay with the person until professional help arrives.
  • Try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects.

If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at 988. During a crisis, people who are hard of hearing can use their preferred relay service or dial 711 then 988.

Click here for more links and local resources.

Oxycodone may cause several side effects. Here are some frequently asked questions about the drug’s side effects and their answers.

What side effects will I have with the 5-mg oxycodone tablet compared with the other strengths?

You may be at a decreased risk of side effects if you take a 5-milligram (mg) dose of oxycodone compared with people taking other doses of oxycodone. This medication comes in the following strengths:

  • 5 mg
  • 10 mg
  • 15 mg
  • 20 mg
  • 30 mg

So, someone taking a 30-mg dose of oxycodone may be at a higher risk of side effects than someone taking a 5-mg dose. This is because when you’re exposed to more drug, you’re at a higher risk of side effects.

If you have questions or concerns about the best dosage of oxycodone for you, talk with your doctor.

What are the long-term side effects of oxycodone?

Most side effects that people taking oxycodone experience are mild and short term. However, it’s possible for you to develop long-term side effects from this medication as well. Examples of long-term side effects that are possible with oxycodone include seizures, adrenal conditions, and heart problems.

If you have questions about your risk of long-term side effects from taking oxycodone, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor about any medical conditions you have before taking oxycodone. In some cases, if you have certain medical conditions, it may not be safe for you to take oxycodone.

Boxed warnings

This drug has boxed warnings about the following risks. These are serious warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Risk of respiratory depression. It’s possible for oxycodone to cause respiratory depression, which may be life threatening. For more information, see the “Oxycodone: Side effect specifics” section above.

Risk of accidentally taking oxycodone. Accidentally taking oxycodone may lead to overdose, which can be life threatening. For details, see the “Oxycodone: Side effect specifics” section above.

Increased risks if taken with specific drugs. When taking oxycodone in combination with certain other drugs, such as benzodiazepines, you may be at an increased risk of side effects. Examples of these side effects include respiratory depression, sleepiness, or coma. In some cases, side effects can be life threatening. For more information, see the “Oxycodone: Side effect specifics” section above.

Risk of addiction and misuse. Oxycodone has a risk of addiction and misuse. For more information, see the “Oxycodone misuse” section below.

Risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome. Using oxycodone during pregnancy may increase the risk of neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome in a newborn, which can be life threatening. For details, see “Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking oxycodone” in the “Oxycodone: Precautions” section below.

Other precautions

Be sure to talk with your doctor about your health history before you take oxycodone. This drug may not be the right treatment for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors that affect your health. These are considered drug-condition or drug-factor interactions. The conditions and factors to consider include:

Adrenal gland problems. It’s possible for oxycodone to cause adrenal gland problems, such as adrenal insufficiency. If you already have a condition that affects your adrenal gland, taking oxycodone may make your condition worse. Your doctor can help determine whether oxycodone is a safe treatment option for you.

Thyroid problems. It’s possible for oxycodone to worsen certain thyroid problems. If you have a thyroid problem, such as underactive thyroid, tell your doctor before taking oxycodone. They can help determine whether oxycodone may be a safe treatment option for you.

Problems with your pancreas or gallbladder. Oxycodone can rarely cause pancreas or gallbladder conditions, such as pancreatitis. If you have any pancreas or gallbladder conditions, taking oxycodone may make your condition worse. You can talk with your doctor to determine whether it’s safe for you to take oxycodone.

Drug misuse. If you have a history of drug misuse, tell your doctor. This medication has a boxed warning for the risk of drug misuse. And, if you already have a history of drug misuse, you may be at an increased risk. In this case, your doctor may recommend more frequent monitoring while you’re taking oxycodone.

Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to oxycodone or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe oxycodone. Taking oxycodone could cause you to have another allergic reaction. Ask your doctor what other medications may be better options for you.

Head injury or seizure history. Tell your doctor if you’ve ever had a head injury or if you have a history of seizures. It’s possible for oxycodone to increase the pressure in your brain or to increase your risk of seizures. If you already have a head injury or a history of seizures, taking oxycodone can make your condition worse. In this case, your doctor can help determine whether it may be safe for you to take oxycodone.

Gastrointestinal problems. Tell your doctor about any gastrointestinal problems you have, including gastrointestinal obstruction. Oxycodone may not be safe for certain people with gastrointestinal problems. Your doctor can help determine whether oxycodone may be safe for you to take based on your condition.

Urinary problems. It’s possible for oxycodone to make certain urinary problems worse. If you have any urinary problems, such as urinary retention (problems emptying your bladder), tell your doctor before taking this medication. They can help determine whether oxycodone may be safe for you.

Difficulty breathing or lung problems. If you have difficulty breathing or any lung conditions, tell your doctor before taking oxycodone. This medication can cause respiratory depression, which can make it harder to breathe. So, your doctor can help determine whether oxycodone may be safe for you to take based on your condition.

Alcohol with oxycodone

You should not drink alcohol while you’re taking oxycodone. This is because alcohol and oxycodone work in similar ways to slow down your central nervous system. This means you can be at an increased risk of serious side effects, including low blood pressure, sleepiness, and trouble breathing.

Oxycodone has a boxed warning about the risk of taking it in combination with certain other drugs, including alcohol. A boxed warning is the most serious warning recommended by the FDA.

If you have additional questions about drinking alcohol during your treatment with oxycodone, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding while taking oxycodone

You should not use oxycodone during pregnancy. At this time, it’s not known whether oxycodone may increase the risk of congenital anomalies (birth defects) or miscarriage.

Animal studies show that oxycodone may cause behavioral changes in babies exposed to the drug. However, animal studies don’t always indicate what may happen in humans.

In addition, taking opioids during pregnancy may cause neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS). In fact, oxycodone has a boxed warning for the risk of NOWS. Boxed warnings are the most serious warnings recommended by the FDA. The purpose of a boxed warning is to alert patients and prescribers about the risks of taking a medication.

If your baby is born with NOWS, it means they are born dependent on opioid medications. This can cause serious side effects, such as crying or irritability, tremor, vomiting, diarrhea, or abnormal sleeping. In some cases, NOWS can even be life threatening. Due to this risk, babies born with NOWS may need to be hospitalized after birth.

It’s not known whether it may be safe to take oxycodone while breastfeeding. However, oxycodone is present in breast milk. So, a breastfeeding baby will be exposed to the drug. Babies who are exposed to oxycodone through breastfeeding may have side effects from oxycodone, which can include sleepiness or trouble breathing.

Your doctor can help determine whether it may be safe for you to breastfeed while you take oxycodone. In some cases, they may recommend avoiding breastfeeding during treatment with the drug.

Oxycodone may cause misuse to occur. In fact, Oxycodone has a boxed warning for the risk of misuse and addiction. Misuse of a medication means taking it in a way that’s different than how it was prescribed. Misusing a drug can lead to overdose, which can be life threatening. Due to this risk, oxycodone is a controlled substance. This means the drug is controlled by the federal government.

Oxycodone has a boxed warning for the risk of misuse and addiction. A boxed warning is the most serious warning recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The purpose of a boxed warning is to alert doctors and patients about the risks of taking a medication.

If you have a history of drug misuse or addiction, be sure to tell your doctor before taking oxycodone. They can help determine whether oxycodone is the best treatment option for you. In some cases, they may recommend more frequent monitoring.

To prevent drug misuse, your doctor may recommend the lowest dose of oxycodone for the shortest time period.

There’s also a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) program for oxycodone. The REMS program makes sure you and your doctor are aware of the risks of misuse associated with oxycodone.

It’s important to talk with your doctor throughout your treatment with oxycodone. You should take the dose of oxycodone that your doctor prescribes. If you feel that the medication isn’t working to treat your pain, talk with your doctor about your treatment plan. Do not try to change your dose of oxycodone on your own.

Oxycodone may cause side effects to occur. Although most side effects are mild, serious side effects are also possible from this medication.

If you’d like to learn more about oxycodone, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can help answer any questions you have about side effects from taking the drug.

A generic drug and its brand-name version contain the same active ingredient, so they’re expected to have the same side effects. Referring to the following articles about oxycodone can provide you with additional information:

  • More information about oxycodone. For details about other aspects of oxycodone, refer to this article.
  • Drug comparison. To learn how oxycodone compares with hydrocodone and other alternatives, read this article.
  • Cost. If you’d like to learn about oxycodone and cost, see this article.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.