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What does it do?

Oxycodone is used to relieve strong pain.

Before you start

  • Tell your doctor if you have bowel problems, sleep apnoea, if you have ever had a seizure, or have had a recent head injury.
  • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding.

How should you take it?

Take oxycodone regularly as directed. You can take it with or without food. Swallow whole – do not crush or chew.

What if you forget a dose?

If it is nearly time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the usual time. Otherwise, take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Do not take two doses at the same time.

Can you take other medicines?

Some medicines available without a prescription may react with oxycodone including:

  • sedating antihistamines (e.g. Phenergan®)
  • cough suppressants (e.g. Duro-Tuss®, Benadryl Dry Forte®)

Tell your pharmacist or doctor about all medicines or treatments that you may be taking, including vitamins, herbal products (e.g. St John's wort) or recreational drugs.

What side effects might you notice?

Side EffectsRecommended action

Slow or shallow breathing, hard to wake up


Tell your doctor immediately

Confusion, hallucinations, mood changes

Tummy pain (new or getting worse)

Tell your doctor


Take your prescribed laxatives. Tell your doctor

Drowsiness, dizziness

Nausea, vomiting, dry mouth or throat

Itching, flushing, sweating

Strange or uncontrolled movements

Tell your doctor if troublesome

If you notice any other effects, discuss them with your doctor or pharmacist.

Other information:

  • Take oxycodone ‘long acting’ regularly. If oxycodone is not relieving your pain contact your health professional - your dose may need changing.
  • Oxycodone ‘short acting’ may be used with oxycodone ‘long acting’ for breakthrough pain.
  • Oxycodone can impair your ability to do tasks such as driving or using machines. Alcohol makes this worse. Discuss your risk with your health professional. (search NZTA - Are you safe to drive?)
  • Oxycodone may be addictive with long-term use.
  • You may see the leftover shell of the tablet in your bowel motions – this is harmless.
  • Long-term use of oxycodone may cause side effects such as less interest or trouble having sex, or changes in periods. It may also make some types of pain worse. Discuss with your doctor.
  • If you have been taking oxycodone regularly for a long time, talk to your doctor before stopping.

This leaflet contains important, but not all, information about this medicine.

Prepared by the MyMedicines Committee at Christchurch Hospital, Te Whatu Ora - Waitaha, New Zealand. March 2023

For more general information about this sheet and its contents, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

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About My Medicines

My Medicines Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) contain important, but not all, information about the medicines they describe.

For more information about the sheets, see: What does a My Medicines sheet cover?

My Medicines is developed by a team at Te Whatu Ora – Waitaha. Our team is made up of doctors, pharmacists, and a non-medical person to help us keep to plain language. We also discuss our information with specialist health professionals or groups when needed