• Question: Why do doctors bother with painkillers like oxycodon,etc,that barely differ from morphine?

    Asked by Dolly da Gucci to Ivy, George, Daniel, Christina, Cheryl on 24 Jan 2017.
    • Photo: Cheryl Andisi

      Cheryl Andisi answered on 24 Jan 2017:

      @ Dolly da Gucci,
      Maybe our medic scientists @George and @ Christina can give us a better insight. Both oxycodone and morphine are very strong painkillers that are referred to as narcotic painkillers. Even though both can be offered to patients with chronic pain pain ie they require the pain killing activity through out eg in arthritic patients, oxycodone should not be taken on a need to basis eg how you would take panadol when you have a painkiller. There are morphine formulations that can be used for such instances.
      Both drugs, are prescription only ie, you cannot walk into a pharmacy and buy this drug without a prescription.
      I think one important thing to not with these drugs is that narcotic drugs cause addiction in a similar manner that any other non prescription drugs can cause addiction. Extreme care should thus be taken when starting on these drugs, keep the dosage and duration of administration.
      I’m sure you have heard of speculation that Michael Jackson was addicted to prescription drugs, mainly painkillers. I guess this group of drugs must have been one of them!

    • Photo: Christina Obiero

      Christina Obiero answered on 24 Jan 2017:

      Hi Dolly,
      Pain killers, just like other drugs, have different mechanism of action, meaning that they target different sites in the body or cell in order to perform their function. Different drugs also have different side effects hence one may chose one drug over the other based on the side effect profile. Another thing that differentiates one drug from the other is the group for which that drug is indicated for e.g. one drug may be ok in pregnant women or people with a certain condition like diabetes, while it may not be safe for use in other groups of people.
      Both oxycodone and morphine are opioids hence are chemically related and have similar mode of action via binding to similar receptors in the brain. They are also indicated for moderate to severe pain and have the same side effects. Oxycodone can be given to patients who develop severe side effects to morphine.