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OxyContin vs. Oxycodone What’s The Difference? – Long Island Center For Recovery

Drug addiction related to prescription painkillers has announced itself as a growing problem within the United States. Many people; clients, family members, and loved-ones alike, struggle with this particular addiction, as the majority of instances begin with the drugs being prescribed due to a need. Today, we will not be exploring the specific addiction treatment measures and protocols relating to prescription drugs and painkillers, but rather exploring OxyContin vs. Oxycodone, two common prescription painkillers with great similarities and subtle differences.

OxyContin vs. Oxycodone: Key Similarities

You might have heard OxyContin or Oxycodone used in the past almost interchangeably, and there’s a strong reasoning for that, as they are extremely similar. For starters, both OxyContin and Oxycodone are analgesics, approved by the FDA as pain reliving medications. They both belong to the drug class of opiate or narcotic drugs and both derive their chemical construction from the naturally grown poppy plant. Many of these similarities stem from the fact that Oxycodone is the active ingredient in OxyContin, as well as other narcotic pain medications such as Percocet and Percodan. It then becomes even more obvious why these drugs both effect the brain in the same manner, binding to opioid receptors which block pain and dopamine while also causing relaxation. OxyContin and Oxycodone also have the same side effects ranging from moderate effects such as sleepiness, headache, abdominal cramps and nausea, to severe side effects such as shortness of breath, chest pain, tongue and throat swelling, and feelings of lightheadedness or faintness. Unfortunately, the final similarity is that both OxyContin and Oxycodone have addictive tendencies due to its potential feelings of euphoria, decline in inhibitions, and declining stress. Yes, when analyzing OxyContin vs. Oxycodone, they are near replicas of each other in most cases, so why the two separate names?

OxyContin vs. Oxycodone: Key Differences

For there to be two differing names, there surely has to be some difference between OxyContin and Oxycodone, and there is, in fact, a few. The first being just that, the name. OxyContin and Oxycodone are both names of different pharmaceutical formulations of the same opioid medication. OxyContin is actually a specific brand name while Oxycodone is the name active ingredient of OxyContin. Simple subtleties in their names but key difference is how each of these medications enters and operates with the body. Oxycodone itself comes in liquid capsules and tablets and is fast acting. OxyContin on the other hand is slowly released into the body through the use of extended-release tablets of 5, 10, 20, 40, and 80mg. The specific breakdown of OxyContin is a longer process which provides longer effects of pain relief which can last several hours.

This is the main difference which exists between these two nearly identical medications.

Recap: OxyContin vs. Oxycodone


  • Analgesics pain relieving medications
  • Drug class opiate or narcotics
  • Originate from the poppy plant
  • Bind to opioid receptors, blocking pain and dopamine, causing relaxation
  • Side Effects: Sleepiness, headache, abdominal cramps, nausea, shortness of breath, chest pain, tongue and throat swelling, light headedness, and fainting
  • Potential to cause addiction through feelings of euphoria, decreased inhibitions, and decreased stress


  • Their names
  • Oxycodone is fast acting and a liquid
  • OxyContin is an extended-release tablet

We hope you found this information helpful, and feel more confident in the future being able to distinguish OxyContin vs. Oxycodone and can correct those who uses them interchangeably. If you or a loved one needs any additional assistance with addiction treatment services, please reach out to Long Island Center for Recovery at 800-344-5427, and we’d be happy to assist you or your loved ones in any way possible.


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