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Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone

a gloved hand holds a pill but it's hard to distinguish between hydrocodone vs. oxycodone

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are two of the most prevalent prescription opioids on the market. While both can be prescribed for similar conditions, the differences between hydrocodone vs. oxycodone can be important to know if you take or plan on taking either. Additionally, the risks of developing a substance use disorder, as well as the symptoms and health effects, differ between substances.

At California Centers for Recovery, helping our clients understand and overcome their dependence on opioids is how we serve the community. Our Los Angeles-based treatment center is home to luxury facilities, compassionate staff, and ample treatment options personalized to your needs. If you or someone you love are suffering from opioid addiction, call us at 877.328.5682 or reach out online to learn about our prescription drug detox in California.

How Prescription Drug Abuse Begins

Prescription drugs can be a truly life-changing means of treating many disorders and conditions. Whether it’s a two-week-long bout of post-surgery knee pain or chronic anxiety, millions of prescriptions are filed in the U.S. each year. A type of prescription medication called opioids, including hydrocodone and oxycodone, treats moderate to severe chronic pain by blocking pain receptors in the brain. As a side effect, opioids can induce feelings of pleasure or relaxation.

Abuse potential describes the risk factors associated with taking certain medications. Opioids tend to have a higher-than-average abuse potential because of their elevating effects, meaning people taking them are more likely to form an addiction. Oxycodone and hydrocodone both have a high abuse potential. In terms of similarities, both have the tendency to cause individuals to become dependent on the pain-relieving effects and the positive sensations they induce. The real differences come to light when examining their less-than-desirable effects.

Hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone Painkiller Addiction Signs and Symptoms

There are some slight differences between the effects of hydrocodone vs. oxycodone. Understanding these can be the key to identifying an undisclosed substance abuse problem of a loved one.


Hydrocodone (typically prescribed as Vicodin) can affect individuals in the following ways:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dry mouth
  • Diarrhea
  • Euphoria
  • Lightheadedness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Vomiting

The side effects of oxycodone abuse are similar, but have some distinct differences.


Oxycodone (often prescribed as Oxycontin) has a slightly different array of symptoms, including:

  • Confusion
  • Difficulty balancing
  • Intense sweating
  • Tiredness
  • Restlessness
  • Stiff muscles
  • Slow pulse

The difference in symptoms can be explained by the differences in how each drug manages pain relief and creates pleasure. More often than not, hydrocodone and oxycodone are similar when it comes to behavioral changes in those taking them. Individuals can quickly become dependent on opioids after a short period of time, causing higher doses to become necessary for a similar pain relief effect.

Dependence can begin to occur without being noticed. When the prescription ends, individuals who have grown dependent have a difficult time bringing their opioid usage back down to zero. The pain that opioids were intended to mitigate comes back in full force, sometimes even stronger. Individuals sometimes feel like their only recourse is to either refill their prescription or, if that option is unavailable, to turn to alternative sources.

California Centers for Recovery Offers Recovery Services in Los Angeles

Opioids can become extremely disruptive in a short period of time. Many people who have struggled with opioids for years cite their start as a prescription that spiraled out of control. Being aware of the risks that opioids like hydrocodone and oxycodone pose is one of the safest ways to ensure opioids don’t wreak havoc on your life.

Sometimes, prevention isn’t enough. In cases where opioids are already a factor, professional treatment is the best available option. At California Centers for Recovery, we help the people of Los Angeles, CA, get back on their feet and provide them with the ongoing support they need. If you or a loved one are in need of opioid addiction treatment, don’t hesitate. Reach out to us today by calling 877.328.5682 or by using our secure online form.