Oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet, etc.) is a prescription opioid drug used to treat moderate to severe pain or, in extended-release formulations, chronic pain. It is also widely diverted and abused for its potent euphoric effects.
The drug, like other opioid/opiate analgesics, is associated with potential side effects, a number of which can impact human sexual behavior and reproductive functions when the drug is abused in higher doses than prescribed over a period of time.
Oxycodone & Sexual Side Effects
Oxycodone is classified as an opioid agonist, meaning that it works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord to reduce the intensity of pain signals.
Depending on a person’s dosage, this effect can be extremely euphoric and addictive, also producing strong central nervous system depression which can be dangerous or life-threatening in the event of an overdose.
However, a lesser-known long term effect of oxycodone and other opioid-class drugs (particularly fentanyl) on the central nervous system is the reduction of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a sex hormone that stimulates testosterone production in men and estrogen production in women.
This, in turn, can produce dosage-linked sexual or reproductive side effects that may include:
- reduced endocrine function
- abnormally low androgen/testosterone levels
- reduced sex drive and loss of interest in sexual activity or arousal
- erectile dysfunction (impotence) or other sexual dysfunctions
- premature ejaculation
- reduced fertility or infertility
- disrupted menstrual cycles
- loss of energy and depression
In a medical setting, some of these adverse effects can be treated using testosterone supplementation or erectile dysfunction medications (for men) as well as the use of contraceptives or hormone therapies (for women).
Oxycodone Abuse & Long-Term Sexual Health
Chronic, prolonged abuse of oxycodone and other strong opioid or opiate drugs has been associated with a wide range of other negative personal and sexual effects, including:
- chronic constipation and intestinal blockages
- liver damage (especially with oxycodone/acetaminophen combination medications)
- increased risk of bone fractures
- decreased muscle mass
- increased risk of heart attack and other cardiovascular issues
- increased pain sensitivity
- poor immune system function and increased frequency and duration of illness
- poor sleep quality and sleep disordered breathing
- changes to one’s personality, mental health, and behavior related to opioid use disorder (opioid addiction)
- significantly increased risk of drug overdose
These effects can have a strongly negative overall influence on a person’s quality of life and sex life. However, because of its addictive qualities, those who want to quit oxycodone often need help from a professional addiction treatment provider, like Bedrock Recovery Center.
Oxycodone Abuse & Addiction Treatment
Unfortunately, if you’ve been taking oxycodone for an extended period of time and have been experiencing issues with sexual desire or sexual function as a result, you most likely won’t be able to fix the issue by giving up oxycodone overnight.
Oxycodone-related substance abuse is best accomplished with the help of professional treatment services. There are several approaches to treatment that are used.
When you give up oxycodone after a period of prolonged oxycodone use, your body’s internal chemistry will be thrown out of balance.
This may produce flu-like symptoms, drug cravings, mental changes, and other acute withdrawal symptoms that should be managed with the support of a professional medical detox program.
Recommended for serious cases of substance use disorder (drug addiction), inpatient treatment takes place within a comfortable residential treatment environment in which participants are monitored by trained professionals and guided through a variety of evidence-based interventions.
Medication-Assisted Treatment Options
Those struggling with opioid use disorders often benefit from the use of specific FDA-approved medications, including:
- methadone, a long-acting opioid agonist
- buprenorphine, a partial-opioid agonist
- naltrexone, an opioid antagonist
These medications can support a person’s long-term recovery by relieving withdrawal symptoms and blunting the effects of opioid drugs, or by completely blocking the effects of opioids to discourage a potential relapse.
For more information on our prescription opioid addiction treatment options, please contact us today.
- Annals of Internal Medicine https://www.acpjournals.org/doi/10.7326/m14-2559
- Drug Design, Development and Therapy https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8784970/#:~:text=Studies%20show%20that%20long%2Dterm,dysfunction%2C%20overdose%2C%20and%20mortality.
- Medicina Clinica https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28236471/
- National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/publications/effective-treatments-opioid-addiction
- National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html