The controlled release form is a valid alternative to morphine and the first-line treatment for cancer pain. This makes it one of the most commonly abused pharmaceutical drugs in the U.S.
Common side effects of oxycodone include constipation, nausea, vomiting, somnolence, dizziness, itching, dry mouth, and sweating. Less common side effects include loss of appetite, nervousness, abdominal pain, diarrhea, urine retention, dyspnea, and hiccups.
In high doses, or in some persons not tolerant to opioids, oxycodone can cause shallow breathing, slowed heart rate, cold/clammy skin, pauses in breathing, low blood pressure, constricted pupils, circulatory collapse, respiratory arrest, and death.
Oxycodone overdose has also been described to cause spinal cord infarction in high doses and ischemic damage to the brain, due to prolonged hypoxia from suppressed breathing.
The symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal, as with other opioids, may include “anxiety, panic attack, nausea, insomnia, muscle pain, muscle weakness, fevers, and other flu-like symptoms”.
Chronic use of oxycodone (particularly with higher doses) often causes concurrent hypogonadism or hormone imbalance.