What’s the difference between OxyContin and Vicodin?

What’s the difference between OxyContin and Vicodin?

OxyContin and Vicodin are both opioid painkillers that can be prescribed by a doctor for moderate to severe pain. Both medications are considered to be controlled substances and both have a high potential for addiction. When taking either of these medications for pain, there is the possibility of similar side effects. However, there are differences when it comes to these drugs as well.

Prescription Information

Vicodin is most commonly prescribed for acute pain, although it is sometimes prescribed for chronic pain conditions. OxyContin is more commonly prescribed for chronic pain, though it can also be prescribed for very severe, short-term pain. A Vicodin prescription may have several refills, while an OxyContin prescription will not. Those with a Vicodin prescription may get refills, up to 6 in a 5-month time frame. Those taking OxyContin can only receive a one-month supply. For refills, the patient must see the doctor for a new hard-copy prescription.


Because these medications contain different ingredients, they use different dosages to achieve similar effects. The active ingredient in OxyContin is oxycodone, which may be prescribed alone or in combination with other medicines. Vicodin is a combination medicine, made up of hydrocodone and acetaminophen, the latter of which is the active ingredient in the brand Tylenol. According to the website oxycodonevshydrocodone.com, OxyContin is 5 times stronger than Vicodin. It takes more Vicodin to handle a certain level of pain or to achieve the same desired effect as a smaller dose of OxyContin.


While Vicodin may be more commonly abused, this is due to its prescription prevalence. However, some patients are concerned over the potentially toxic affects of the acetaminophen in this combination drug that would limit increasing the dose too high. As reported in Science Daily, OxyContin offers those who abuse it a better high that is much preferred over Vicodin. Effects of taking OxyContin are felt much more rapidly and last longer than when taking Vicodin. Additionally, because OxyContin is often prescribed solely as oxycodone, it is much easier to abuse this drug by crushing the pill for snorting or injecting. Those who abuse opioid medications are hesitant to use methods such as smoking or injection with Vicodin due to the potential for overdose on acetaminophen, though users will often crush and snort Vicodin as well.

Controlled Substance Information

While both OxyContin and Vicodin are controlled substances, each of these falls under a different schedule according to DEA classification. OxyContin is a Schedule II drug, with a high potential for abuse and both physical and psychological dependence. These drugs may also be dangerous. Vicodin is a Schedule III drug, with less potential for abuse or dependence, though the potential is still present.

Get Help to Overcome Abuse or Dependence on Opioid Drugs

It can be hard to overcome a dependence on prescription painkillers alone. The withdrawal process can be uncomfortable or even painful for some, resulting in continued use in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms. With help from a qualified treatment provider, you can get through withdrawal and learn new skills to manage your pain without being controlled by narcotic medications.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *