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Oxycodone – A powerful opiate

Oxycodone is a popular pain killer that is used in the management of severe pain that is associated with conditions such as amputations and cancers. In this article, we shall take a brief look at this drug.

What is oxycodone (OxyContin)?

Oxycodone is an opioid drug that acts on the opioid receptors to exert its effects. It is a semi-synthetic product that is used as a narcotic painkiller in the management of patients suffering from pain. It is often used by itself as a monotherapy, though sometimes it may be used as combination therapy along with other simple painkillers such as paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Is oxycodone an opiate?

Yes, oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate that is similar to other opiates such as morphine.

How does it act?

Oxycodone has a fairly straightforward mechanism of action. Within the body are a number of different receptors to which different drug can act to exert their effects. The same is true for opioids such as oxycodone. Oxycodone binds to the K-opioid receptors. While technically an opioid that is similar to morphine, it does not act on the mu receptors which is where morphine exerts its effects. However, there has been a fair amount of controversy regarding its site of action however, and some believe that oxycodone acts on the mu receptors primarily because of the actions it exerts (being similar to morphine).

In addition to just the site of action, oxycodone is believed to breakdown into oxymorphone in the liver, and this has a stronger capability of binding to the mu-receptors, bringing into question the exact site of action. The site may also vary depending on whether patient has diabetes or not, though this fact is more of a deduction based on non-human studies.

Once oxycodone acts on the receptors, it stimulates a series of reactions that blocks to release of chemicals that are responsible for the production of pain. This action is extremely potent, making it a powerful opioid analgesic drug.

Oxycodone is a powerful narcotic agent that acts in a manner similar to the opioid drugs like morphine. It has a complex mechanism of action, but the end effect is one of effective painkilling. However, it must be borne in mind that it does have abuse potential, and that patients can get addicted to its effects.

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