What is the Difference Between Oxycontin and Oxycodone?

Oct 2019 What is the Difference Between Oxycontin and Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an opioid pain reliever. Oxycontin is a formulation of oxycodone. However, there are some differences between the two. If you or a loved one is addicted to oxycodone or other opiates, you should contact a prescription drug rehab center in Southern CA.

What is the Difference in Strength Between Oxycontin and Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is stronger than hydrocodone, with 5 mg of oxycodone being equivalent to 7.5 mg of hydrocodone. Oxycodone is often combined with acetaminophen. The brand name for this combination is Percocet. However, it is also available in generic formulations.

What is the difference between oxycontin and oxycodone in terms of strength? The active ingredient of both is oxycodone, so milligram for milligram, the power is the same.

However, oxycontin is a time-release formula. It usually lasts for 12 hours instead of 4-6 for oxycodone. Due to the time-release property, it takes approximately 2 mg of oxycontin to equal one mg of oxycodone, simply because not all of it releases into your system at once.

Dosage Differences

Oxycodone is usually taken every 4-6 hours. Oxycontin is usually taken every 12 hours. Oxycontin is often prescribed in higher dosages. Oxycodone is commonly prescribed with acetaminophen in 5-10 mg dosages. Oxycontin may be prescribed in dosages of 10 mg up to 80 mg. Dosages of over 40 mg or 80 mg in 24 hours are only recommended for opiate tolerant patients due to the risk of side effects like respiratory suppression.

oxycodone vs. oxycontin infographic

Common Reasons for Oxycodone or Oxycontin Prescriptions

When tolerance to hydrocodone develops, chronic pain can occur. A prescription for oxycodone may then be an option. A prescription is also written for short term severe pain, such as after a surgery. Prescriptions are typically not given long term unless other opiates, like hydrocodone, are not valid at controlling pain.

For those in severe pain or those who already have an opiate tolerance, oxycontin is sometimes given. Cancer patients commonly have prescriptions for oxycontin.


Oxycodone contains 325 mg of acetaminophen per dose to aid in its pain-relieving properties. High dosages of acetaminophen, particularly when combined with opiates, can have adverse health effects. Oxycontin does not contain acetaminophen.

Many people who abuse oxycodone may be unaware of the dangers of acetaminophen. Acetaminophen alone is safe up to 3,900 mg a day when taken apart.

However, opiates also process through the liver, which means liver damage could occur at lower doses from the combination. To avoid the risks of acetaminophen, it’s essential not to take more oxycodone than your doctor prescribes.

Addiction Potential

What is the difference between oxycontin and oxycodone in terms of addiction potential? Oxycodone is generally less addictive due to the lower dosages. However, addicts tend to snort oxycodone for a faster and more intense high.

Oxycontin is made to discourage this. Most formulations are “crush-proof.” This doesn’t stop some more enterprising users from finding ways around it, allowing them to snort, smoke, or inject the pure oxycodone. Snorting oxycontin makes it much more addictive than oxycodone.

The lack of acetaminophen can also make oxycontin more addictive. Those addicted to opiates may take more than one dose of oxycontin at one time, without the unwanted side effects and risks associated with large amounts of acetaminophen. Phoenix Rising’s opiate addiction rehab center offers treatment for opiate addiction if polysubstance abuse is present.

Get Help for Addiction at Phoenix Rising Recovery in Palm Springs, California

Addiction to oxycodone or other opiates can take a severe toll on your life and your health. The good news is that a new life is within reach, get help at our addiction treatment center in Palm Springs, CA. To take the first step toward recovery, contact us today. Our team of addiction treatment professionals are ready to answer your questions and help you figure out your next step.