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Oxycontin falls in the category of opoid analgesics or pain relievers and is only prescribed for severe and chronic pain. In fact, for those who are suffering from chronic problems like cancer, it is nothing short of a miracle drug. It is synthesized from thebaine which is derived from poppies. It should be taken only under a doctor's supervision and exactly as per his advice. If used inappropriately, it can be very addictive, as its major impact is on the central nervous system. The main compound in oxycontin is oxycodone and generally people become tolerant to the drug upon long term use. In other words, one has to increase the dose for it to be effective. Even when taken under medical supervision, this drug is never discontinued abruptly as it can lead to withdrawal symptoms. It is gradually tapered off to offset any possible oxycontin consequences.
Under normal circumstances, the time release capsule or tablet is prescribed twice a day for proper management of continuous pain. The trouble arises when the body becomes dependant on oxycontin and a missed dose can lead tp extreme discomfort, pain, nausea, unable to sleep and strange behavior.
Once addicted to the drug, the afflicted person can go to any length to procure the required drug, even if it means buying the drug in the black market. The potential for its abuse lies in the euphoric high it provides on ingestion of high doses. Abusers crush or dilute it to beat the time release mechanism and get an instant high through snorting or injections.
Oxycontin works on the central nervous system and can lead to breathing problems. One should be extremely careful as, if not attended to, it can even lead to death. This is especially the case if a person is highly sensitive to opiates or has an overdose. The elderly are the most susceptible to the negative consequences of oxycontin. This is one of the reasons that it is started at the lowest dose possible.
Besides this, it has a rampant effect on the brain as it causes a collection of cerebrospinal fluid. This leads to an increase in pressure within the brain and the affected person may become confused, drowsy or even have seizures. It is quite common to see the person nodding off suddenly. Where there is an overdose he can become unconscious or in some cases there is loss of muscle control.
The most noticeable difference is unpredictable mood swings with the person being happy now and irritable and agitated the next moment. The person tends to become secretive and suspicious of others and may change the company he keeps. He can no longer be relied upon. This is a prime giveaway sign of drug addiction.
In addition to this, oxycontin consequences include an interference in heart function. Often a slow heart beat and low blood pressure are noticed in persons who abuse oxyontin. Cardiovascular complications are more likely to occur with those persons who inject the drug. It can lead to endocarditis or heart infection and even heart failure. In some rare cases there may be circulatory failure.
Those who use oxycontin on a regular basis may experience constipation, dizziness and unsteadiness. They may become prone to falls and slips due to problems in balancing themselves. Some people report problems in passing urine.
This drug is highly addictive and stopping it suddenly can lead to quite severe withdrawal symptoms. The most common symptoms associated with its sudden withdrawal is intense agitation and anxiety, vomiting, sweating, palpitations of the heart, diarrhea, inability to sleep, muscle pain, joint pain, watering eyes, runny nose, coughing, depression and a constant feeling of tiredness or weakness. But these can be overcome with gradual lowering of the dose. Some detox centers prescribe lowering doses of other drugs to help combat the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.
Oxycontin fatalities are generally linked with use of other drugs along with it. It is especially dangerous when taken with alcohol or other opiates that depress the respiratory function. Other medications to avoid with oxycontin are antihistamines, benzodiazepines and barbiturates. It literally leads to a cessation in breathing and death.
When used judiciously, oxycontin is a god send for people suffering from intense chronic pain. But it is important to look out for drug abuse and addiction.
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