Roxicodone Addiction and Abuse

Roxicodone is one of several brand name formulations of oxycodone—a prescription opioid painkiller. Oxycodone—the pharmacologically active component of the medication—is the same opioid found in other prescription drugs such as OxyContin and Percocet. Though previously available as an extended-release medication like OxyContin, Roxicodone is currently available as an immediate-release oral tablet.1

Roxicodone is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse that may lead to severe dependence.2 Despite being a prescription medication, nonmedical misuse of drugs like oxycodone are associated with significant health risks, including addiction development.3,4

Effects of Roxicodone

Roxicodone is an opioid agonist medication. Like other opioid agonists, Roxicodone exerts its pharmacologic effects by binding to and activating opioid receptors throughout the brain and spinal cord.

Opioid drugs alter the perception of pain signaling to the central nervous system but are also associated with several other dose-dependent effects, including:1,4,5

  • Euphoria (especially when used at higher-than-prescribed doses).
  • Sedation or drowsiness.
  • Confusion.
  • Pupil constriction.
  • Itching.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Constipation.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure).
  • Slowed breathing.

Though Roxicodone and other prescription painkillers may have legitimate therapeutic uses, their abuse potential is similar to that of other opioids, including fentanyl and heroin.1 Especially when misused for non-medical reasons, at doses and dosing frequency that goes well above therapeutic levels, oxycodone painkillers like Roxicodone can lead to the development of significant tolerance (which often prompts increasing use), physiological dependence (and accompanying withdrawal), and addiction development.3,4

Signs of Abuse and Dependence

Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Use indicate that approximately 1.4 million individuals in the United States had a prescription painkiller-related substance use disorder within the prior 12 months.7 Some individuals who go on to develop opioid use disorders involving Roxicodone or similar drugs do so after being prescribed the medication for legitimate pain management needs. As tolerance is a natural development with opioid drugs, should people feel their pain is being inadequately managed, some may resort to escalated use, even without the guidance of their prescribing practitioner.4,6

Other individuals may use diverted prescriptions or otherwise illicitly-obtained oxycodone products like Roxicodone purely to achieve a “high” from the medication. They may take the medication orally, or they may crush the tablets in order to snort or inject the medication (in an attempt to achieve a faster-onset, more-intense high.5

No matter how opioid misuse begins, addiction and its characteristic compulsive patterns of drug-seeking and use can be the eventual result of repeated problematic use. As addiction takes hold, people may find themselves unable to stop abusing the drug, even with the starkly negative consequences associated with such compulsive patterns of use.3,4

Some signs, symptoms, and telltale behaviors that an individual may be addicted to Roxicodone include:6

  • Devoting substantial time to obtaining Roxicodone, using it, and recovering from use.
  • Exaggerating or falsifying medical issues to obtain more Roxicodone.
  • Forging or tampering with prescriptions.
  • Obtaining several simultaneous prescriptions for the drug.
  • Stealing Roxicodone, or money to purchase the drug, from family and friends
  • Strong cravings for the drug, potentially elicited by exposure to drug-related stimuli.
  • Potential drug-related legal issues.
  • Relationship problems.
  • Employment issues.
  • Chronic GI issues.
  • Frequently slurred speech.
  • Intermittently profound episodes of drowsiness (i.e., nodding off).
  • The onset of withdrawal symptoms, in those who have significant opioid dependence.

Physical dependence develops as a result of physiological adaptations to the consistent presence of a drug.When significant levels of physiological opioid dependence develop, at the point that the drug in question is stopped or its use slows, the individual may experience acute withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity, but can at times be severely unpleasant. Potential Roxicodone withdrawal symptoms may include:1,6

  • Dysphoric mood.
  • Insomnia.
  • Anxiety.
  • Irritability.
  • Increased body temperature / sweating.
  • Increased blood pressure.
  • Increased heart rate.
  • Increased respiratory rate.
  • Runny nose / watery eyes.
  • Joint pain / muscle aches.
  • Muscle weakness.
  • Abdominal cramps.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.

Dangers of Continued Opioid Abuse

In addition to the aforementioned health risks, the compulsive patterns of opioid use associated with opioid addiction can increase the cumulative risk of an opioid overdose. In 2018 there were, on average, more than 40 prescription opioid-related overdose deaths each day in the U.S. This number includes semi-synthetic opioids like Roxicodone.8

Opioids like Roxicodone can dangerously slow or stop our breathing. This risk may be increased when people combine opioid medications with other respiratory depressing drugs such as alcohol or benzodiazepine medications such as Xanax and Valium.9 Polysubstance use of this type can add to an already dangerous risk of overdose death.

The misuse of prescription opioids such as Roxicodone may, in some cases, be associated with eventual heroin use. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has pointed to various research data to suggest that initiation of heroin use may be nearly 20 times higher among people who reported prior nonmedical painkiller use and that roughly 80% of heroin users report having used prescription opioids prior to their first use of the illicit drug.10

Treatment Options

Given the prevalence of prescription opioid and other opioid use disorders, there are numerous avenues of treatment available throughout the United States. Individuals who wish to stop using Roxicodone commonly benefit from medical detox services at the start of recovery, to best manage what otherwise would be a severely unpleasant withdrawal experience.

Both inpatient and outpatient treatment options are available, depending on the severity of addiction and individual treatment needs. Several FDA medications—including buprenorphine and methadone—may be administered to help stabilize a person in withdrawal and, when needed, to maintain them in recovery, even after the initial rehabilitation stay.11

In addition to medication treatment, behavioral therapies are an indispensable element of recovery programming. Therapy comes in many forms; often, a combination of behavioral therapies will be utilized to help the recovering individual address the underlying reasons that led to substance abuse in the first place.

Greenhouse and all American Addiction Centers facilities provide individualized treatment plans to suit the needs of each person in recovery from opioids and other substances. Call to speak with one of our admissions navigators 24/7 for more information about what Greenhouse Treatment Center has to offer.

References

  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services—Food & Drug Administration. (2018). Labelling-Medication Guide: Roxicodone.
  2. U.S. Department of Justice—Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020). Controlled Substance Schedules.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). Commonly Used Drug Charts—Prescription Opioids.
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020). What classes of prescription drugs are commonly misused?
  5. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020). Oxycodone—Drug Fact Sheet.
  6. Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders: DSM-5 (5th ed.). (2013). Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
  7. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Opioid Overdose—Overdose Death Maps.
  9. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Opioid Overdose—Prescription Opioids.
  10. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2015). Prescription opioid use is a risk factor for heroin use.
  11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2020). TIP 63: Medications for Opioid Use Disorder.