Drug Addiction is defined as an abnormal, compulsive use, use for non-medical purposes and continued use despite harm or risk of harm. It is a huge problem especially in the United states with people abusing prescription medications such as Percocet (oyxcodone and acetominophen), Xanax (alprazolam), and Roxicodone (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone and acetominophen). In this brief article, I will explain some of the most commonly asked questions with regards to rx drug abuse from everyday people.
The first question is related to oxycodone. Oxycodone is one of the most worldwide known abused drugs in the world. It is referred to on the street as "Oxys", Roxi's(for brand Roxicodone) or its percocet (oxycodone/apap) friend "512′s". 512 is name of the number listed on the percocet tablet that can be identified. Oxycodone is considered a class II medication which means they can be highly addictive and abused.
How much Oxycodone can I take without overdosing?
There is no ceiling dose when taking oxycodone. There is no specific "max dose". You hear people saying "After time, It stops working". This is because your body stops reacting to that same dose because your body goes through physiologic alteration. The exact mechanism is unknown. Some theories predict that a change of the number of pain receptors is decreased or the receptor site is actually altered resulting in a higher dose to produce a similar response. It is this change in the body which results in withdrawal symptoms when the receptors are not occupied.
What are the symptoms oxycodone withdrawal?
Anxiety, irritability, backache, joint pain, nausea, insomnia, increased blood pressure, heart rate, chills
Restlessness, sweating, lacrimation (abnormal or excessive excretion of tears)
The second question usually deals with a different class of medication called benzodiazepine class. They are in the top 10 prescription drugs dispensed in the United States each year. Benzodiazepine class includes Valium (diazepam), Ativan (lorazepam), Xanax (alprazolam) and a few others. They are called "Benzos" or Zannie's on the street.
Why can Xanax, Valium and the Benzodiazepine Class be the most scariest prescription drug ever made?
In brief, alprazolam and diazepam work by inhibited GABA. GABA is neurotransmitter in the brain that regulates excitability. Basically, these drugs have a central nervous system depressant activity on the brain. If these neurons are blocked for long periods of time, your FIGHT and Flight Response assumes this is normal, and your body makes adjustments. Consequently, when they are not blocked(not on the drug) you experience everything that the drug is actually treating (anxiety, irritability, etc). The actual term is called Rebound Anxiety.
Can I mix Alcohol with Xanax or Valium?
Alcohol and "Benzos" are very dangerous. They both have depressant effects on the brain and can cause slow muscle tone and breathing. Alcohol abuse is very common with people who have a Valuim or Xanax addiction. Alcohol increases cortisol which leads to increase stress, especially the next morning. People refer them to the shakes because your body is trying to get rid of the alcohol. An easy way to get rid of the shakes is to take a Benzo with can calm the body. This cycle can be vicious and almost impossible to cure. The first step always is to seek help. You are not alone.
The last topic to be discussed deals with Vicodin. One of the most common medications abused is Vicodin. It is a class III controlled medication which means it produces low-moderate physical dependence, high psychological dependence, and can be used effectively in the United States with a prescription. It is a hydrocodone and tylenol (called Apap short for acetaminophen) based drug and is more readily available to the public compared to Schedule II drugs(CII) like percocet or oxycodone.
My doctor prescribed me vicodin for my toothache? How does the medication know where to go to make the pain stop?
Our brain has receptors in the brain called opioid receptors that regulate pain. When these receptors are activated or inhibited they result in a certain feeling. People always ask how does it know where the pain is? The drugs just block or activate the receptors. They do not know where the pain is. Consequently, side effects do occur with all medications because these receptors are all interconnected with different functions. In this cause the pain receptors are blocked resulting in less pain perceived by the brain.
What are the side effects of Vicodin?
Constipation: Reduces motility of smooth muscle tone in the stomach and
Itching, flushing, red, eyes, sweating: Histamine is released as a result of this drug. (Anti-histamine products (Claritin, Zyrtec-Block histamine)
Common OTC products
Respiratory Depression: When the breathing gets real slow and could lead to death. Hydrocodone is a derivative of codeine, hence, it can cause irregular and periodic breathing problems since it blocks the brain stem (regulates breathing patterns). This becomes a huge problem when alcohol and Vicodin are mixed. Signs of cold and clammy skin, slow heart rate, collapse. CALL 911
Drowsiness, lethargy (tiredness), anxiety, mood swings:
In conclusion, rx abuse continues to be on the rise but we can stop it. By recognizing these withdrawal symptoms and side effects, we can act quickly in seeking help and making this a drug free world.