There is a lot of misconceptions when it comes to drugs, especially when it comes to opioids. Even though America is in quite a busy state trying to fight off its large number of opioid addictions, there really isn’t a lot known by the general public about opioids, except that they’re addictive painkillers. This leads into some basic questions that don’t really have answers readily available. One big question is between the nature of the drugs. Are drugs like OxyContin and Percocet the same thing, and if not, how are they different?
OxyContin is an opioid painkiller manufactured by Purdue Pharma, a drug manufacturer, and was first introduced in 1996. It was marketed heavily at the time as a painkiller with “virtually” no risk of addiction (which has proven not to be the case). OxyContin was and still is a prescription drug, requiring medical approval for purchase. As an opioid it is actually quite addictive, with its primary active ingredient the chemical oxycodone. Today the drug and its manufacturer have been heavily criticized for spearheading the opioid epidemic in the first place.
Percocet is a combination drug, containing a mixture of oxycodone and acetaminophen, which is the main ingredient in the over-the-counter pain reliever Tylenol. Percocet is actually stronger and faster-acting than OxyContin, and this can cause problems for potential addicts. Percocet is generally only prescribed for high levels of pain, and should be prescribed with care.
Both Percocet and OxyContin are Schedule II controlled drugs, and opiate withdrawal symptoms can hit users of either. The main risk for abusers of Percocet is that acetaminophen is also dangerous in high concentration. If too much Percocet is taken too quickly, it can damage the liver and even cause liver failure, which is especially dangerous and can quickly lead to life-threatening situations. The danger Oxycodone provides is respiratory depression on overdose, which inhibits a person’s ability to breathe on their own.