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Different Strengths of Oxycodone

author image Adaeze Ezebuiro
Based in Washington, D.C., Adaeze Ezebuiro began writing and editing in 1990. Her articles have appeared in magazines such as "Drug Topics," “TransAtlantic Times" and “America's Pharmacist.” She holds a Doctor of Pharmacy from Rutgers University, as well as a Master of Arts in writing from Johns Hopkins University.
Different Strengths of Oxycodone
Different Strengths of Oxycodone Photo Credit drugs image by alimat from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Oxycodone is an oral pain medication available only by prescription from a doctor. Due to high abuse potential, as well as addictive properties, oxycodone is highly regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Oxycodone is available in several brand names and generic names and is formulated as liquids, tablets and capsules. The formulations have different drug strengths, which are identifiable by the color, size, imprint and shape.

Immediate Release (IR) Oxycodone

Different Strengths of Oxycodone
Photo Credit drugs image by Alexey Klementiev from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Oxycodone is available in an immediate release (IR) form in which the drug is immediately available in the body once ingested, providing instant relief for sudden or breakthrough pain. The duration of pain control achieved with the IR form is short-lived, lasting an average of four hours or less. Additional doses are usually administered if pain relief is still inadequate.

Extended Release (ER) Oxycodone

Different Strengths of Oxycodone
Photo Credit medication image by palms from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Oxycodone is also available in the form of an Extended Release (ER) pill--also known as Controlled Release(CR) pills--that release the drug over a longer period once swallowed, up to 12 hours. This occurs through a control mechanism in the shell or granules of the pills. This provides around-the-clock baseline pain control, which is highly desirable for chronic pain control. The controlled- or extended-release oral pills must be swallowed whole. Cutting or breaking the tablet or capsule is harmful to the body, because this destroys the slow-release matrix of the pills and causes too much drug to be available in the body immediately. This is a potentially fatal overdose situation.

Generic Oxycodone

Different Strengths of Oxycodone
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Generic oxycodone is manufactured in the United States by several dozen pharmaceutical companies and is available as following: tablets--5mg, 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 60mg; capsules--5mg; liquid--5mg in 1ml, 20mg in 1ml; and extended-release tablets, 10mg ER, 20mg ER, 40mg ER, 80mg ER. Each manufacturer has a unique identifiable mark, shape and color for its products.

Your pharmacy may alternate between products made by several manufacturers, and the shape and color may vary within the same strength of medication based on the manufacturer's products. This is acceptable as long as the dose and dosage remain consistent. When unsure, ask the pharmacist to double-check your prescription.

Brand Oxycodone

Different Strengths of Oxycodone
Photo Credit tablets image by Marek Kosmal from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Brand oxycodone is available in the USA in several propriety names,available as:

Capsules: Oxy IR® 5mg (beige -orange)

Tablets: Roxicodone® 5mg (white), Roxicodone® 15mg (green), Roxicodone® 30mg (blue)

Liquid: Roxidone® 5mg in 5ml, Roxidone® 20mg in 1ml, Oxyfast® 20mg in 1ml concentrated solution

Extended-release tablets: Oxycontin® 10mg (white circle), Oxycontin®15mg (gray circle) , Oxycontin® 20mg (pink circle), Oxycontin® 30mg (brown circle), Oxycontin® 40mg (yellow circle), Oxycontin®60mg (red circle), Oxycontin® 80mg( green circle), Oxycontin ® 160mg (blue capsule-shape)

Oxycodone is very strong and can be fatal in the wrong doses. Your pharmacist usually double-checks and double-counts/measures the medication in order to verify that the right dose and amount has been dispensed. However, you should also verify that you have the right medication before leaving the pharmacy by asking the pharmacist to review the dispensed prescription against the original prescription paper.

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