What Is The Difference Between Oxycontin And Oxycodone?

For pain relief there are many different options. Sometimes stronger pain requires stronger medications that are much more serious than others. This includes medications like Oxycontin and Oxycodone. But, when it comes to these specific drugs, many people have the same question: What is the difference between Oxycontin and Oxycodone?


I want to explain to you in a way that’s easy to understand, even if you aren’t a pharmacist!

Technical Differences Oxycontin and Oxycodone

The easiest way to describe the difference between the two pills is to take about how they work. Oxycodone is generally used as an instant-release pain medication that gives strong relief very quickly, whereas Oxycontin is a slow-release medication.

Usually Oxycontin releases over a 12-hour period and can be taken at longer intervals. Oxycodone is taken at 6-hour intervals in most doses, depending on the pain that’s being combatted. Many chronic pain patients use one of these two pills for their pain management.

Oxycodone is actually the main ingredient in Oxycontin, but it is formulated differently to deliver a different effect. Both of these pills have the same basic pain relief formula, although they are not exactly the same pills.

What Are Oxycontin and Oxycodone Used for?

Although the medications are different from each other, they are both used in similar ways for medical pain relief. Because these are strong medications, they are only prescribed for moderate or severe pain, such as what you may experience if you have a chronic pain disorder, surgery, an injury, or many other medical procedures.

Pain medicine

The specific pill which is prescribed is usually dependent on your doctor’s recommendation. As a slow-release medication, Oxycontin can be a better choice for chronic pain and long-term pain relief. It’s not always used for severe pain, because it does not activate as quickly for fast relief.

Oxycodone releases more quickly into your system, making it a better fit when strong relief is needed quickly. It is also frequently used as the main ingredient in many brand-name pain relief medications that deliver relief for patients.

Which Medication Has Worse Side Effects?

Because they are both formulated from Oxycodone, these medications have the same or similar side effects. There are many non-serious side effects that may be uncomfortable, but are not worrisome. However, these are both very powerful pain relievers which can have serious, and dangerous, side effects as well.

These are the common side effects of both Oxycontin and Oxycodone:

Constipation, dry mouth, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, sleepiness, tiredness, drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, mild itching, weakness, headaches, and sweating.

Those side effects are generally not serious and will not cause any long-term issues for you. However, these side effects can be very serious, and you should immediately contact a doctor if you experience one or more of these symptoms:

Apnea (breathing stops), fever, confusion, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, painful urination or blood in urine, stomach pain, respiratory arrest, respiratory depression, circulatory depression, chest pain, convulsions, coughing, fainting, facial swelling, tingling sensations in hands and feet, hypotension (low blood pressure), or shock.

Although these are very rare side effects, you need to watch out for them if you are going to take either Oxycodone or Oxycontin, as they will usually require medical attention for your own safety. You should never take more than your prescribed dose, or else the side effects are more serious and can become life-threatening.

Medications Containing Oxycodone

Many times Oxycodone is not prescribed as is. It is generally put together with another medication to make it more effective or to otherwise change the effects of the drug. Usually it is combined with acetaminophen, aspirin, or ibuprofen. Some common medications that are Oxycodone alone include Oxaydo, Oxycontin, and Xtampza.

Common medications that have both Oxycodone and other types of drugs include Oxycet, Percocet, Percodan, and Roxicet. These represent only the major brand names and not the generic alternatives. As this is a common pain relief drug, there are many different generic brands available for prescription as well.

It’s important to know that any medication that contains Oxycodone will be a prescription medication. It is not possible to get this medication without a prescription from a doctor, because it is a potentially dangerous substance that needs approval.


​Hopefully you are now familiar with the differences between Oxycontin and Oxycodone. Although they are similar in function and formulation, they are not the same thing and should be understood differently.

​Both of these are medications that cannot be taken without a prescription, so it’s best if you still don’t understand the difference that you talk with your doctor about it. If you ask your doctor what is the difference between Oxycontin and Oxycodone, they should also be able to give you a satisfactory answer.

What do you think of this post? Did I explain well enough the differences and similarities between Oxycodone and Oxycontin? If you have questions or anything to say, I’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!

Anna Smith

Hi there ! I’m Anna Smith, chief editor at Healthankering. I'm a proud mother of three passionate about health tips, beauty and ways to live healthier with more energy ! We start Healthankering to provide advanced material about not only the best ways to get healthy, but also to entertain and create a great community. Welcome aboard !

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