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Effects of Oxycodone

The effects of Oxycodone are widespread throughout the body.  The areas that experience the effects of Oxycodone the most are the central nervous system, the gastrointestinal system, and the cardiovascular system.

The effects of Oxycodone on the central nervous system are primarily those of sedation and analgesia or pain relief.  The sedation or depression occurs by Oxycodone acting on the respiratory centers in the brainstem.  The analgesic effects of Oxycodone come from its action on neurons making them less susceptible (hyperpolarizing) to conducting a sensation impulse.  Oxycodone also stimulates the natural reward system in the brain which can lead to addictions.

Effects of Oxycodone
Effects of Oxycodone

In the gastrointestinal tract, the effects of Oxycodone are limited to constipation and decreased secretions.  Food is moved from the stomach to the end of the intestines via rhythmic muscle contractions.  Oxycodone reduces the frequency of these waves.  Other effects of Oxycodone include ‘tensing’ up of the muscles along the entire length of the intestine as well as tensing up of the sphincter controlling release of digestive enzymes.  The result of these effects of Oxycodone is constipation.

The cardiovascular system is not immune to the effects of Oxycodone either.  Oxycodone produces vasodilation of the peripheral blood vessels.  This likely results in postural hypotension, that is, dizziness when moving from sitting to standing.  The vasodilatory effects of oxycondone are exhibited by flushing of the skin red eyes, and sweating.  In some instances, Oxycodone can cause release of histamines.  These are better known for their actions in allergic reactions.  However, in this case histamines exacerbate the postural hypotensive effects of Oxycodone.

The effects of Oxycodone when prescribed and administered properly are valuable to managing chronic pain.  However, the effects of Oxycodone are not limited to managing pain and should be thoroughly discussed with a licensed medical practitioner.