Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone

Before we don in the detailed discussion of oxycodone vs hydrocodone we should know in detail what oxycodone and hydrocodone are and all about them. Both of these are the pain relief drugs that are the prescription-only drugs.  By prescription only drugs we mean the type of drugs that can be bought only when prescribed by the health practitioner himself. Even being only the pain relieving medicines oxycodone and hydrocodone are still the prescription-only medicines and the reason why is that they are used to relieve the pain in some specific conditions and diseases like a chronic cough, cancer, and arthritis. Both of these drugs are used for the treatment of chronic or long-term pain. Both of these drugs can be taken only with the prescription.

Oxycodone vs hydrocodone – The Introduction

Oxycodone and hydrocodone both are the narcotic analgesics. Narcotics are those painkillers that are the opioid derivatives. Oxycodone is the semisynthetic opioid that is synthesized from the opioid alkaloid thebaine found in the Persian poppy plant. Hydrocodone, on the other hand, is the semisynthetic too and is synthesized from the opioid codeine and it is also known as dihydrocodeine and it is also obtained from the Persian poppy plant.


Both of these drugs have almost the same mechanism of action for the pain relief. They bind to the opioid receptor and inhibit the adenylyl-cyclase and also inhibit the hyperpolarization of neuron which results in the inhibition of the excitation of the neurons and thus there is the relief of the pain. In short, both of these drugs inhibit the pain signals to reach the brain. Both of these drugs bind to the mu opioid receptors which result in a relief of pain.

Both of these drugs can be given alone and also in the combination but there is a difference between the oxycodone vs hydrocodone can be combined with the acetaminophen which is another painkiller and the combined effect thus helping the patient to relax until the painkiller starts working while the hydrocodone can be combined with the antihistamines to create a syrup that can be used to reduce or suppress a cough and it also helps to achieve the relief from the cough pain.

Drug class of these drugs

Oxycodone and hydrocodone both of these drugs belong to the narcotic analgesic class of drug while in the completely different context of being misused they belonged to two different schedules. The oxycodone vs hydrocodone was on a different schedule but that lasted only until 2014 when both the drugs were placed on the same schedule. They are counted in the schedule II drugs now according to which they both have the tendency to be misused. This schedule indicates the potential of being misused as well as the medicinal use of these compounds and the oxycodone and hydrocodone lie in the schedule II.

Drug Dosage

Drug dosage and the form is another thing that can help with the comparison of oxycodone versus hydrocodone. Even though both of these drugs belong to narcotics analgesic class but still their dosing regime and form can be a little or entirely different from each other. Oxycodone vs hydrocodone is available in the form of the tablets that can be prescribed by the doctor to be taken every 12 hours and these tablets come in different doses and the dose is selected based upon the extent of pain the patient is going through and on the other hand the hydrocodone comes in the extended release form which means it will be absorbed into your blood really slow to provide your body with constant and continuous dose of the drug.

And another form of hydrocodone is also available that can be taken after every 12 hours and that dosage for is the capsules but if you are not keen on the idea of taking medication after 1 hour then you should go for the extended release type of drug dosage form. So this is a little point to support the oxycodone vs hydrocodone argument that gives you a reason to select the type of medication based on what you feel comfortable to use.


Ignoring every other thing the main thing that usually people focus upon is the effectiveness of the drug and they are likely to go for the one that is more effective. Buy in this case there is no such strong proof to support the oxycodone vs hydrocodone argument because the studies have shown that both of these drugs relieve pain the exact same way and the effectiveness is same too.

Both of these drugs are used to release a high degree of pain experiences in fractures etc. and the effect of both of the drugs start after 30 minutes. But some studies have shown that people who used hydrocodone had to suffer from constipation more frequently than the oxycodone and also that oxycodone vs hydrocodone when combined with acetaminophen, was 1.5 times more effective.

Side effects

The side effects of both of these drugs just like their effect are quite similar and following is the list of some of the side effects of both of these drugs.

  • Drowsiness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Itchiness
  • Lethargy
  • Motor skill impairment
  • Shallow breathing
  • Dry mouth

Side Effects of Oxycodone vs Hydrocodone

Both of these drugs produce the same side effects but coming to the comparison it can be noticed that in oxycodone vs. hydrocodone, oxycodone is more likely produces side effects like lethargy, headache, euphoria, and dizziness while on the other hand hydrocodone is more likely to cause side effects like constipation and stomach ache. There are also some serious side effects observed by the use of these two drugs and those side effects are

  • Seizures
  • Pain while urination
  • Arrhythmia
  • Confusion etc.

So these were some of the similar as well as the different side effects that are observed by the use of oxycodone and hydrocodone.

Cost difference

The cost difference between these two drugs can also help us determine which drug to choose from the oxycodone vs hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is a little expensive than the oxycodone. The difference between the prices is quite a lot so you can choose the one that is less expensive if you are looking for economical treatment.


There are a lot of conditions in which both of these drugs are contraindicated like in the condition of asthma they should avoid taking these medications and in case of already existing constipation, you should avoid taking both of them but especially the hydrocodone which causes more constipation than the oxycodone.

Pregnant women are advised to discuss them with their doctors while in the nursing mothers both shouldn’t be used at all because it can pass through the breast milk and can enter in the baby’s body leading to serious consequences. So you should also avoid leaving pills within the reach of children because if ingested accidentally can cause harm to your baby.

So these were some of the differences and now its upon you which one you consider the better pain reliever for you and also you should discuss it with your doctor about how you feel comfortable about taking which one of the pills and so the doctor will guide you about what could be the better choice for you in oxycodone vs hydrocodone.

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