Opioids have become a common aspect of treatment for both acute and chronic pain. Oxycodone and Oxycontin are two opioid medications with similar sounding names that may be easily confused if not examined carefully. In fact, both medications essentially have the same ingredient. Or rather, one medication (Oxycontin) contains the other as an active ingredient (oxycodone). Oxycodone and Oxycontin work by binding to mu receptors in the brain to produce a therapeutic feeling of analgesia. While they may be effective pain medications, they have also been widely publicized for their abuse and potential for addiction.


Oxycodone is an opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe symptoms of pain. It is metabolized extensively in the body and excreted in the urine. Immediate release oxycodone has a half-life of 3.2 hours and may be dosed up to 4 to 6 times per day. You may be familiar with Oxycodone in combinations with other pain medications such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and aspirin. Oxycodone tablets come in immediate release and extended release formulations with varying dosages of 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, and 30 mg.


Oxycontin is the brand name for the extended-release formulation of oxycodone. This extended-release formulation allows the drug to be released over a longer period of time. For this reason, Oxycontin is usually dosed twice per day because less is needed for the desired pain relief. In this way, Oxycontin tends to give a stronger and more prolonged effect. Oral tablets of Oxycontin come in strengths of 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, and 80 mg.

What are the differences and similarities between oxycontin and oxycodone?

Oxycodone and OxyContin are names given to different pharmaceutical formulations of the same opioid medication. They are essentially the same substance. Oxycodone is the opioid substance that is the main ingredient in several pain medications including OxyContin. OxyContin is a slow-release version of oxycodone. It is slowly released in the body. Hence, it need not be taken as often. The words OxyContin and oxycodone are often used interchangeably because they are essentially the same substance with this minor difference.

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