Canterbury DHB


Oxycodone Information Sheet

See also: Management of Persistent Pain - Oxycodone

Oxycodone is a potent opioid analgesic with similar pharmacology to morphine. It is indicated for use in the treatment of moderate to severe pain and is a useful alternative opioid to morphine. It should be used in patients who are experiencing severe adverse effects or, conversely, tolerance to their initial opioid (usually morphine). Unlike fentanyl patches, oxycodone can be used in opioid naïve patients. All formulations are fully funded and do not require special authority but should be prescribed on a controlled drug prescription.


Oxycodone acts as an agonist on mu opioid receptors and, like most opioids, on serotonin / noradrenaline pathways in the spinal cord. It has metabolites:

Clinical relevance is unknown.




Oral availability

60 – 80%


Plasma half-life

3.5 hours

2-3 hours


CYP2D6 and 3A4 to ? active metabolites

Glucuronidation to active metabolites


Renal (19% unchanged, 50% oxymorphone)

Metabolite mainly renal


CYP enzyme inhibitors (e.g. fluconazole, fluoxetine) may increase efficacy and adverse effects (unless metabolites are highly active). CYP enzyme inducers may decrease efficacy (e.g. dexamethasone, phenytoin, carbamazepine). Oxycodone will also interact with other CNS depressants such as alcohol and benzodiazepines.


Oxycodone is available as:


Advantages of oxycodone

Disadvantages of oxycodone

Patient information

More information and advice is available

For more information and advice within working hours, contact either the Christchurch Hospital Palliative Care Service on (03) 364 1473 or the Nurse Maude Hospice on (03) 375 4274. After hours, contact the Christchurch Hospital operator on (03) 364 0640 and ask for the palliative care clinician on call.

About this Canterbury DHB document (58014):

Document Owner:

Kate Grundy (see Who's Who)

Issue Date:

March 2016

Next Review:

March 2018


Note: Only the electronic version is controlled. Once printed, this is no longer a controlled document. Disclaimer

Topic Code: 58014