How Long Does it Take for Oxycodone to Kick in?

Oxycodone, an opioid pain medication in the group of narcotic analgesics, is used for moderate to severe pain relief.  It brings about effects like morphine, another opiate painkiller in the same group.

Oxycodone acts on opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system. From this, it inhibits pain conduction, increases the threshold of pain, and alters the perception of the pain as well as the patient’s emotional response to pain. In addition to relieving the pain, it also brings feelings of pleasure into the patient’s mind.

How long does it take for oxycodone to kick in?

Immediate-acting oxycodone begins to work in about thirty minutes and lasts about four hours. Meanwhile, slow-release oxycodone starts to work in about sixty minutes but lasts from eight to twelve hours.

However, how long oxycodone kicks in depends on particular dosage for the patients in different age groups.

With the initial dose, for adults, there are three main kinds of treatments:

  • Immediate Release (IR): 5mg-15mg, orally every 4-6 hours.
  • Controlled Release (CR): 10mg, orally every 12 hours.
  • Slow Release (SR): 10mg-30mg, orally every 4 hours.

The dose of over 30mg is rarely needed and should be used cautiously. The total of daily doses average 105mg. Cancer patients with severe pain may require the “rescue dose” of the Immediate Release form of oxycodone.

Besides, adult patients can take oxycodone Oral Solution 5mg/5ml: 5mg-15mg, orally every 4-6 hours.

Oxycodone Oral Concentrate Solution 100mg/5ml (20mg/ml) is used in patients dosed according to the oxycodone regimen and those who have the benefit of the use of a small amount of oral solution.

With the initial dose, for the elderly, the main kind of treatment is Immediate Release (IR): 2.5mg, orally every 6 hours, increasing the dose slowly as needed.

The dose of over 30mg is rarely needed and should be used cautiously. The total of daily doses average 105mg. Cancer patients with severe pain may require the “rescue dose” of the Immediate Release form of oxycodone.

For children are greater than one year and weigh less than 50kg, the dose of oxycodone is based on the rate of 0.05 mg – 0.15 mg per kg, every 4-6 hours as needed.

For children are greater than one year and weigh equal to and greater than 50kg, the dose is 5g of oxycodone, taken every 6 hours as needed, then the dose can be adjusted up to 10mg orally every 3-4 hours.

What should you know before taking oxycodone?

When deciding about using a drug, the risk of taking the drug must be balanced against its benefits. It is a decision that you and your doctor will have to make. The following notes should be considered when taking oxycodone.


Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual reactions or allergies to oxycodone or any other medication, even other allergic agents.  For non-prescription medicines, read their ingredients on the label carefully.


Safety and effectiveness of oxycodone have been established in pediatric patients aged from 11 to 16.

The elderly

Appropriate studies which have been carried out until now are unable to demonstrate specific issues limiting the effects of oxycodone in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to get lung diseases, liver ones or kidney problems related to age. The doctor should be cautious when deciding the dose for the elderly to avoid serious side effects of oxycodone such as respiratory failure.

Pregnant women

There is little information on the effect of oxycodone on expectant mothers. Long-term use of oxycodone during pregnancy can lead to withdrawal syndrome, life-threatening for neonates. Only use oxycodone for pregnant women if its benefits are greater than the potential risk to prenatal humans.

Stages of labor

Oxycodone prolongs the process of giving birth and passes through the placenta and can cause respiratory failure in newborns.

Breastfeeding mothers

Oxycodone is excreted in breast milk, which may have sedative effects or cause respiratory depression in breastfed infants. Consider stopping using the drug or breastfeeding, taking account of the benefits of the drug to the mother.

Note that the dose for patients with hepatic impairment is one-third or one-half of usual dose and the dose should be reduced for patients with renal impairment.

Additionally, tell your doctor your medical history. Particularly, you have had diseases such as:

  • Gastrointestinal or intestinal obstruction
  • Head injury
  • Tumor in the brain or nervous system
  • Increased brain pressure
  • Hypothyroidism,
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Addison’s disease
  • Convulsions
  • Urethral narrows
  • Enlarged prostate
  • Heart, liver or kidney diseases
  • Pancreatitis
  • Cholangitis
  • Diverticulitis
  • Colon or esophageal cancer.

How should you take oxycodone?

Take oxycodone exactly as directed by your doctor. Never take greater quantities of oxycodone or for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions provided by the pharmacist. Tell your doctor in case the medication seems to no longer work on pain relief.

Do not squeeze, break or bite an extended-release tablet. Swallow the whole pill. Breaking the tablet can cause too much medicine to be released at the same time.

If you are taking oxycodone oral solution, measure your dose carefully by the equipment. Do not use a teaspoon or tablespoon because you may measure incorrectly. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure how to measure them.

Consume a large amount of water every day to help prevent constipation while using oxycodone. Ask your doctor how to increase roughage in your diet. Do not use stool softeners without asking your doctor.

Do not stop taking oxycodone abruptly after long-term use as you may have unusual withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to avoid withdrawal symptoms when stopping taking the medication.

What should you avoid when using oxycodone?

Do not drink alcoholic beverages while taking oxycodone. Severe side effects or death can occur when alcohol combines with this drug. Check foods or drinks to ensure non-alcoholic products.

If you are undergoing any surgery, tell your doctor or dentist that you are taking oxycodone. This drug can cause dizziness or drowsiness. So, do not drive, using machinery or do anything that requires in full possession of your senses until the effects of the drugs end.

What will happen if you forget to take a dose of oxycodone?

If you forget to take a dose, use it as soon as possible. However, if the time for taking the next dose is coming, leave out the missed dose and take the next dose at the scheduled time. Do not double the prescribed dose.

What will happen if you overdose on oxycodone?

In case you take an overdose of oxycodone, call the nearest emergency center or go to the nearest local medical station. Overdosing on oxycodone can be fatal. Symptoms of overdose may include a shortness of breath, excessive sleepiness, dizziness, fainting, muscle weakness, narrowing or enlarging pupils, slow heart rate, loss of consciousness or coma.

Leave a Reply