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whats the difference between oxycodone and hydrocodone? why would my doctor sometimes prescribe one and sometimes the other (for different problems)?

2 doctor answers
Dr. Laura McMullen
20 years experience Pediatrics
Oxycodone : Oxycodone and hydrocodone are both narcotic drugs used for pain relief with similar side effect profiles. However, there are a few differences: 1.) oxycodone is considered a stronger pain reliever than hydrocodone, and so oxycodone is usually reserved for very severe pain. 2.) hydrocodone is usually marketed mixed with another drug such as Acetaminophen or Ibuprofen and oxycodone is by itself. 3.) the hydrocodone mixes can sometimes be called into a pharmacy while oxycodone is under much tighter control and the prescription must be specially written by the doctor and brought to the pharmacy by the patient. It is usually one of those 3 reasons that prompts the doctor to choose one medication over the other. Legal disclaimer: I am providing this general and basic information as a public service and my response to this question does not constitute a doctor-patient relationship. For any additional information, advice, or specific concerns, please speak with your own physician. The information provided is current as of the date of the answer entry.
Answered on Mar 21, 2017
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5 thanks
Dr. Julius Mapalad
18 years experience Anesthesiology
Oxy is stronger : Oxycodone is about 1.5 times stronger than hydrocodone. Usually hydrocodone is prescribed first. If pain is not controlled, then physicians may move to oxycodone. That being said, sometimes it's just physician preference based on his or her patient population.
Answered on Oct 3, 2017
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2 thanks

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