Fentanyl vs Oxycodone: What Are the Differences?

Learn more about fentanyl vs oxycodone uses, side effects, and available treatment options for addiction.

Fentanyl vs Oxycodone Introduction

Using opioids for pain management is a common practice, but it can be risky. Two of the most commonly prescribed opioids are fentanyl and oxycodone. In this article, we will compare fentanyl vs oxycodone side by side. We will discuss their risks, symptoms, treatment options, and addictive potential.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid typically used to treat severe pain. It was first developed in the 1960s. It is commonly prescribed to manage pain caused by cancer or surgery.

Fentanyl is known for its high potency. This means it is much more effective at relieving pain than other opioid drugs. In fact, it can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. It is typically used for short-term pain management or for patients who have developed a tolerance to other opioid medications.1

Fentanyl Administration

Fentanyl can be administered in several ways, including transdermal patches, injections, and tablets. Transdermal patches are often used for chronic pain management, while injections and lozenges are used for acute pain.

Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl has become popular among drug dealers to create a more potent, more addictive drug. Illicit fentanyl is often mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine to increase their potency. This has caused a substantial rise in overdoses and deaths related to fentanyl.

Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl overdose symptoms include respiratory depression, confusion, dizziness, pinpoint pupils, blue or purple lips and nails, and extreme drowsiness or unresponsiveness. Naloxone, a medication that can quickly reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, is often used to treat fentanyl overdose.

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is classified as an opioid drug. It is primarily used to manage moderate to severe pain, such as that caused by cancer, surgery, or injury. Oxycodone works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain and blocking pain signals.

It is available in various forms, including immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, and liquid solutions. Some common brand names for oxycodone include OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Percocet.

Addiction Potential

As with all opioids, oxycodone can be highly addictive and has a high potential for abuse. It can cause various side effects, including dizziness, drowsiness, constipation, nausea, and respiratory depression. In high doses or when combined with other substances, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines, it can be dangerous and potentially fatal.

It is important to take oxycodone exactly as prescribed and never to share it with others. Seeking professional help is crucial if you or someone you know is grappling with an addiction to oxycodone or other opioids.2

Fentanyl vs Oxycodone Comparisons

There are several comparisons to be made between fentanyl vs oxycodone. Some of these comparisons are detailed below.

Structure and Potency

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid, meaning that it is completely lab-made. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine.
Fentanyl is much more potent than oxycodone. Fentanyl is approximately 50-100 times more powerful than morphine, while oxycodone is about 1.5-2 times more potent than morphine.

Administration and Duration of Action

Fentanyl is available in various forms, including transdermal patches, lozenges, nasal sprays, and injections. Oxycodone is available in tablet form, and extended-release versions are also available.
Fentanyl has a shorter duration of action than oxycodone. Fentanyl’s effects last between 30 minutes to an hour, while oxycodone can last up to 4-6 hours.

Medical and Recreational Uses

Fentanyl is typically used for pain relief in cancer patients, severe chronic pain, and surgical anesthesia. Oxycodone is used for moderate to severe pain.

Both fentanyl and oxycodone are abused recreationally, but fentanyl is more commonly associated with overdose deaths due to its potency.

Side Effects

Both drugs can cause side effects such as nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and constipation. Fentanyl can also cause respiratory depression, while oxycodone can cause euphoria and a feeling of well-being.

Addiction and Treatment

Both drugs are highly addictive. Dependence can develop rapidly with misuse or prolonged use.

Treatment for fentanyl and oxycodone addiction typically involves medication-assisted therapy, behavioral therapy, and support groups. In severe cases, inpatient treatment may be required.

It’s essential to keep in mind that fentanyl and oxycodone can pose risks when used improperly and without the supervision of a medical expert.3

Fentanyl vs Oxycodone Use Cases

Fentanyl and oxycodone are both prescription opioids that are used for pain management. While they have similar functions, they are sometimes used in different circumstances. The use cases for each drug are detailed below.

Use Cases for Fentanyl

Fentanyl is typically used for severe pain management, such as pain associated with cancer, surgery, or injury. It is often used in hospital settings and by medical professionals trained in administering the drug. Fentanyl comes in a variety of forms. These forms include patches, injections, and tablets.

Use Cases for Oxycodone

Oxycodone is typically used for moderate to severe pain management. This includes pain associated with surgery, injury, or chronic conditions. It is often prescribed for long-term pain management. Oxycodone can come in various forms. These include tablets, capsules, and solutions.

It is important to consult with a healthcare provider and read medication labels to distinguish between fentanyl vs oxycodone. Use them only as directed.4

Popularity of Fentanyl vs Oxycodone

The popularity of fentanyl vs oxycodone can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Effectiveness: Both fentanyl and oxycodone are highly effective pain relievers, providing relief for patients with chronic or severe pain.
  • Accessibility: These drugs are widely available through prescription, making them accessible to those who need them for pain management.
  • Medical community support: The medical community has historically supported using opioids for pain management, including fentanyl and oxycodone.
  • Misconceptions: There are misconceptions about the safety and addictive potential of these drugs, leading to their overuse and abuse.

Fentanyl vs Oxycodone Scope of Misuse

There are several supporting statistics for fentanyl vs oxycodone use and misuse, including:

  • The CDC reported that in 2020, over 69,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States involved synthetic opioids such as fentanyl.
  • The same report indicated that oxycodone was involved in over 10,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States in 2019.
  • In 2019, over 9 million prescriptions for oxycodone were dispensed in the United States, while over 4 million prescriptions for fentanyl were dispensed. However, fentanyl is increasingly being produced illegally and sold on the black market.
  • The United States has been amid an opioid epidemic, with a significant rise in opioid-related deaths since the 1990s.
Fentanyl vs Oxycodone

Fentanyl vs Oxycodone Information and Treatment at Essence Healthcare

If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to fentanyl or oxycodone, seeking help at Essence Healthcare can make all the difference. With our experienced and compassionate staff, individualized treatment plans, and evidence-based therapies, you can get the support you need to overcome addiction and start living healthier and happier lives.

What We Offer

At Essence Healthcare, we understand that every person’s journey to sobriety is different. Our caring and compassionate team of healthcare professionals will work with you to develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. We offer a variety of treatment options. These include psychotherapy, medication-assisted treatment, peer support groups, family therapy, and more holistic treatment methods.

Contact Essence Healthcare Today

Don’t wait any longer to take the first step toward recovery. Reach out to Essence Health& Wellness today to begin your journey toward lasting healing and wellness.

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Questions About Treatment?

We are a patient-first substance abuse and mental health treatment facility located in Los Angeles, California. At Essence Healthcare, we provide different levels of care from detoxification to drug rehab aftercare. Our team is standing by to address your questions. Your call is confidential and no obligation is required.