OxyContin is one of several opium derivatives available by prescription. It is a high potency pain killer that comes in time release tablets that last for 12 hours. When used as prescribed it helps cancer patients and chronic pain sufferers manage their pain.
OxyContin is a Schedule II drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), which includes legal drugs that are subject to the maximum amount of government control and regulation. The FDA approved OxyContin in 1995 and Purdue Pharma introduced the drug in 1996.
Oxycodone is a white, odorless crystalline powder derived from the opium alkaloid. Oxycodone hydrochloride dissolves in water (1 g in 6 to 7 mL). It is slightly soluble in alcohol (octanol water partition coefficient 0.7). The tablets contain the following inactive ingredients: ammonio methacrylate copolymer, hydroxypropyl methylcellulose, lactose, magnesium stearate, povidone, red iron oxide (20 mg strength tablet only), stearyl alcohol, talc, titanium dioxide, triacetin, yellow iron oxide (40 mg strength tablet only), and other ingredients.
OxyContin is a very strong narcotic pain reliever similar to morphine. It is designed so that the Oxycodone is slowly released over time, allowing it to be used twice daily. You should never break, chew, or crush the OxyContin tablet since this causes a large amount of Oxycodone to be released from the tablet all at once, potentially resulting in a dangerous or fatal drug overdose. The time-release, long lasting, formula was designed to deter abuse. In 2001, OxyContin was the number one opioid painkiller sold and in 2000, over 6.5 million prescriptions were written.