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Percodan: Oxycontin Opioid Of Abuse

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Percodan is a combination of aspirin and oxycodone. It is prescribed by doctors for moderate to severe pain. This drug was originally developed by DuPont Pharmaceuticals in 1950. It is now marketed by an Ireland-based drug manufacturing company called Endo Pharmaceuticals.

  • Other trade names are OxyContin®  and Tylox®.

Frequently prescribed for post-operative pain, it is also given to people with severe;

  • neuropathy
  • osteoarthritis
  • dental pain
  • cancer

A synthetic opioid producing powerful analgesic effects, oxycodone targets opioid receptors in the brain to eliminate pain similar to how heroin and other opioids reduce pain in the body. By provoking dopamine activity in the brain, oxycodone engages the “reward pathway” in the brain that is implicated in alcohol and drug addiction.

  • The U.S. DEA has classified it as a Schedule II controlled substance because of its high risk for abuse and addiction.

When this reward center is continuously activated by the oxycodone in this drug, that brain area develops a tolerance to the pleasurable, euphoric sensations provided by Percodan. An addiction to it can develop as quickly (sometimes in just a few days) as an addiction to any other opioid.

The only difference between this drug and Percocet is Percocet contains acetaminophen (Tylenol) instead of aspirin. Both contain oxycodone.

Dose

One Percodan tablet contains 4.8 mg of oxycodone hydrochloride and 325 mg of aspirin.

  • According to drugs.com, doctors generally prescribe one Percodan tablet every six hours for pain.

Patients should never abruptly stop taking it. Doses should be tapered gradually to avoid withdrawal symptoms affecting people who have become physically dependent on the drug.

Although still widely prescribed in the U.S., It is being replaced by oxycodone compounds like Percocet and OxyContin.

  • Demand is shifting in favor of other drugs because they contain acetaminophen (paracetamol) instead of aspirin.

Excessive use of aspirin carries the risk of causing serious health issues such as liver damage, renal insufficiency and hyper/hypoglycemia. People who abuse this drug are at an increased risk for suffering aspirin-related medical problems.

Side Effects

Side effects of this drug include pain relief, body numbness, drowsiness and euphoria.

When abused, this drug may cause the following signs:

  • Agitation/confusion
  • Dizziness/fainting
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Skin rash/hives
  • Gastrointestinal disorders
  • Muscle cramps/tremors
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Spontaneous nosebleeds

Illegal Use

Also known under its brand name Oxycontin, this drug has become a big drug abuse problem. According to the NIDA, “OxyContin became popular as a street drug through its ability to induce a quick heroin-like euphoria.”

The study goes on to say “There was a tremendous increase in the number of patients admitted for treatment of narcotic-related abuse, and the majority of them were being treated for OxyContin.

Many reports of OxyContin abuse appeared in the local newspapers and television channels; however, media outlets also reported that the OxyContin abuse problem was not restricted to the rural Appalachia but was spreading across the entire United States.”

  • Maryland, Utah, West Virginia and Kentucky had the highest rates of prescription drug overdose deaths in 2017.

Overdose

Death is a distinct possibly unless emergency medical treatment is provided. Overdose symptoms include;

  • unconsciousness
  • respiratory distress
  • seizures
  • coma

Statistics

Nearly 220,000 people died in the U.S. between 1999 and 2017 from prescription opioid overdose.In fact, deaths from overdosing on this drug and other physician-prescribed opioids increased five-fold in 2017 compared to deaths in 1999.

Approximately 50 people die from an opioid overdose every day in the U.S. Prescription opioids accounted for 35 percent of all opioid abuse and overdose deaths in 2017.

  • The top three drugs involved in overdose deaths are oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone.

More people over 65 years old overdosed on prescription opioids in the past five years than at any other time in the 21st century.

In 2017, rates of prescription opioid overdose deaths were higher in men than women, with six per 100,000 men dying from an overdose compared to four in 100,000 women dying from an opioid overdose.

When sold on the street, this drug is often referred to as;

  • “Percs”
  • “OCs”
  • “Oxies”
  • “Killers”
  • “Oxycoffins”