While all types of drug addiction are difficult to overcome, oxycodone addiction can be a nightmare for those who become this painkiller’s unwitting victims. It may seem ironic to speak of painkillers creating victims, but that’s exactly what happens to people who abuse oxycodone by using it differently than prescribed. Oxycodone addiction is a destroyer of hopes and dreams. Without expert rehab services, it can cause long-term health complications and even death. Here are five of the most troubling and dangerous side effects associated with prolonged abuse of OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone and other oxycodone-based medications.
Oxycodone consumption can damage the digestive system, interfering with the gut’s capacity to break down food and move it through the intestines for expulsion. Chronic constipation is defined as two or fewer bowel movements per week plus an unusually hard stool, and those who suffer from this condition as a result of oxycodone addiction are at risk for hemorrhoids, anal tearing and significant intestinal malfunctioning.
A decline in organ functioning leading to organ failure
Oxycodone cycling through the body puts a heavy strain on its filtering and circulating systems, which can eventually lead to liver, kidney or heart failure. The latter condition can of course be fatal if medical treatment is not provided immediately, and anyone who experiences an irregular heartbeat or sharp chest pains after using oxycodone should be taken to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and hearing loss
Another opioid painkiller, hydrocodone, is known to cause hearing problems more frequently than oxycodone. But those who consume oxycodone products for an extended period may also experience hearing loss, possibly accompanied or preceded by an incessant ringing sound in the ears (tinnitus). The damage to the auditory system may be reversible if the oxycodone user enters recovery, but a positive outcome is not guaranteed.
Severe breathing difficulties
Like all opioids, oxycodone has a relaxing effect on the body, but when the drug is overused this can lead to a dangerous suppression of respiratory activity. High doses of oxycodone can make it difficult for the lungs to bring in sufficient air, and in some circumstances breathing may stop altogether. The danger is even more acute when opioids are mixed with alcohol, as oxycodone addicts are known to do.
Hyperalgesia (increased sensitivity to pain)
Believe it or not, taking too much oxycodone for too long can have a perverse effect, increasing a person’s sensitivity to and experience of pain. Over time, oxycodone can play havoc with the brain’s pain detection network, and when hyperalgesia develops, the painkilling effects of oxycodone will be rendered ineffective.
Oxycodone Addiction and the Risk of Early Death
In the past two decades, more than 7 million Americans have abused oxycodone along with other prescription opioid painkillers, and this has resulted in a dramatic increase in the number of people dying from oxycodone overdose. Since 1999, approximately 200,000 people in this country have lost their lives from the horrific side effects of oxycodone addiction. Oxycodone is a popular and effective painkiller, but its capacity to addict and kill when used carelessly and irresponsibly makes it one of the most dangerous drugs on the market. Sources University of Utah Healthcare Pain Center: Risks of Long-term Opioid Use http://healthcare.utah.edu/paincenter/risks-long-term-opioid-use.php Drug Watch: Oxycodone—OxyContin and Percocet https://www.drugwatch.com/drug-addiction/oxycodone/