OxyContin should only be used when continuous, around-the-clock pain control is necessary for an extended period of time. It is not appropriate for occasional or "as needed" use, or for the short-term treatment of pain. In these situations, the short-acting oxycodone products are more appropriate.
Typically, people are switched to OxyContin after taking (and becoming accustomed to) other opioid pain medications, including short-acting oxycodone, other short-acting opioids (such as morphine), or different long-acting opioids. It is useful to start with short-acting oxycodone in order to see exactly how much oxycodone an individual needs in order to control pain before switching to an equivalent dosage of OxyContin.
Short-acting oxycodone (but not OxyContin) is useful for treating "breakthrough pain" in a person taking long-acting narcotic pain medications.
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