A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding Hydrocodone vs Oxycodone

During emergencies, doctors use hydrocodone and oxycodone to help in relieving severe pain. These drugs are powerful and equally have the potential for abuse. Therefore, you can only access them with a doctor’s prescription.

Most people know hydrocodone and oxycodone are used for lessening pain, but they don’t understand how they work or their differences. This article sheds more light on their similarities, differences, and how addictive they are.

Hydrocodone vs Oxycodone: Similarities

Ever wondered how similar hydrocodone vs oxycodone are besides their function? They’re both artificial, unlike morphine, which is naturally made from the opium poppy.

Likewise, they function similarly to kill pain by working with the brain and spinal cord to disrupt pain signals. Their similar chemical structure contributes to their parallel working.

Hydrocodone vs Oxycodone: The Differences

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are alike, with the only minor differences being in the side effects. They produce matching side effects apart from a few. Both hydrocodone and oxycodone patients may experience;

  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Itchy skin
  • Dry mouth

Some patients using hydrocodone report stomach problems and constipation. On the other hand, oxycodone presents lightheadedness, fatigue, and drowsiness. The side effects that are less common in hydrocodone and oxycodone users include increased heart rate, seizures, confusion, and painful urination.


Hydrocodone and oxycodone are so effective that doctors often use them in emergencies, and the patients experience relief within one hour. Additionally, post-surgical, burn-injury and cancer patients also use these drugs.

Although there are doubts about hydrocodone and oxycodone’s similarities in efficacy, there’s evidence that suggests otherwise. In a trial at a trauma center, some fracture patients used hydrocodone combined with acetaminophen. Other patients used oxycodone with acetaminophen.

Within 60 minutes, the outcomes were similar, which indicates they were akin in working to relieve pain. The only difference was in the side effects, as the hydrocodone patients reported to have constipation.

Since hydrocodone and oxycodone’s effectiveness is similar, the best way to know what to use is to consult your doctor.

Hydrocodone vs Oxycodone: Addictiveness

Before 2014, hydrocodone and oxycodone were in separate schedule classifications. But now they both carry a high potential for abuse; hence, they’re in the same drug schedules.

Hydrocodone and oxycodone work to reduce severe pain, but sometimes, the users pay a hefty price. This is because there are many cases of unhealthy use of both drugs. When there are four patients receiving long-term opioids, one will potentially struggle with addiction.

Another alarming statistic reports that two million Americans have an opioid addiction. Hydrocodone and oxycodone tamper with brain chemistry, making patients depend on the drugs to feel better. At first, long-term opioid users think they need the drugs to survive. Over time, they develop drug use disorders.

Drug use disorders are medical conditions, and patients experience physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms. They may have cravings, abnormal thoughts, dry mouth, poor grooming, etc.

When patients discontinue the drugs, they get withdrawal symptoms like agitation, insomnia, vomiting, and restlessness. Consequently, they take the drugs more frequently to feel better and develop an unhealthy dependence.


In conclusion, hydrocodone and oxycodone are equally strong painkillers. However, they have the potential to become addictive with unhealthy use. As such, it’s best to seek medical counsel when taking hydrocodone and oxycodone medications.

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