Can Oxycodone Cause Thyroid Problems?

Oxycodone is a pain relief medication that has helped many people suffering from pain of all kinds, but what kind of issues can the drug cause in the long run? 

In this article, we are going to be looking particularly at whether oxycodone can cause problems with the thyroid, as well as take a general look at oxycodone too. Let’s get started.

Can Oxycodone Cause Thyroid Problems

What Is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic and anti-inflammatory agent. It works by binding to the mu receptors on nerve cells, which results in blocking the transmission of painful stimuli.

The effects of oxycodone last for about 6 hours after taking it.

Oxycodone Side Effects

The side effects of oxycodone depend on how much you have taken. If you have taken more than prescribed, then you may experience some of these symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision
  • Weakness in your arms and legs
  • Tingling sensation in your hands and feet
  • Shortness of breath

How Does Oxycodone Work?

Oxycodone is one of several opioids used to treat moderate to severe pain. Opioids work by activating specific types of brain cells called opioid receptors.

These receptors play a role in regulating the body’s response to stress, pain, and other internal functions.

When activated, they send messages throughout the nervous system that tell the body to relax and stop responding to pain signals. This helps relieve the pain.

Oxycodone Dosage

When using oxycodone, doctors will prescribe doses based on your needs. They will also consider any other medications you might be taking when prescribing the dose.

Your doctor will monitor your progress while you are taking the drug, so he/she will adjust your dosage if needed.

What To Consider When Taking Oxycodone

If you decide to use oxycodone, there are some things you should keep in mind. Here are some tips to help you avoid potential oxycodone side effects:

  • Don’t mix alcohol with oxycodone. Alcohol lowers the effect of both drugs.
  • Take only as directed. You must follow your physician’s instructions carefully.
  • Keep track of how you feel. Write down how you feel each time you take the drug.
  • Do not drive until you know how oxycodone affects you.
  • Never give your children oxycodone without first checking with their pediatrician.
  • Avoid mixing oxycodone with other substances such as cough syrup, cold medicine, muscle relaxers, sleeping pills, and antidepressants.
  • Be careful when handling oxycodone because it can stain clothing.
  • Store oxycodone in its original container in a cool place away from moisture.
  • Talk to your doctor before starting any new prescription medication.
  • Tell your doctor right away if you notice anything unusual like changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings.
  • Report any side effects immediately.

Oxycodone Abuse

Abuse of oxycodone happens when someone takes the drug in larger amounts than prescribed or uses the drug for nonmedical purposes.

People who abuse oxycodone often do so to get high or get drunk. Some abusers even inject the drug into their veins.

Some people who abuse oxycodone develop a tolerance to the drug. A person develops a tolerance when his/her body becomes accustomed to the presence of the substance.

After this occurs, the user needs to consume higher doses of the drug to achieve the same level of euphoria.

Some individuals may become addicted to oxycodone. Addiction means that an individual has developed a strong desire to continue using the drug despite harmful consequences.

The addiction causes physical dependence and withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include anxiety, depression, sweating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, headaches, insomnia, irritability, and restlessness.

Treatment Options For Oxycodone Abuse

Treatment Options For Oxycodone Abuse

There are many treatment options available for those who have abused oxycodone. Treatment programs vary depending on the severity of the problem.

Most treatments involve counseling and support groups. In more serious cases, detoxification and residential rehabilitation centers may be recommended.

Detoxification is used to ease withdrawal symptoms caused by stopping the use of oxycodone.

Residential rehab centers provide intensive care during the detox process. These facilities allow patients to receive medical attention 24 hours a day.

The type of treatment program depends on the patient’s condition and what kind of abuse he/she has experienced.

What Is The Thyroid?

Your thyroid gland produces hormones that regulate growth and metabolism. It is located just below your voice box (larynx) and behind your Adam’s apple.

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly. Its two lobes are connected by a narrow channel. Each lobe contains follicles filled with thyroid hormones.

The thyroid gland makes three different hormones: thyroxine (T4), triiodothyronine (T3), and calcitonin.

Thyroid Hormones

Thyroxine is responsible for controlling the rate at which the body uses energy from food. For example, if you eat less than usual, your body will use up its stores of energy faster. This causes your heart rate and breathing to increase.

Triiodothyronine controls the activity of certain enzymes involved in protein synthesis. Protein synthesis allows the body to build new tissues and repair damaged ones.

Calcitonin regulates calcium levels in the blood. Too much calcium builds up in the bones and soft tissue. This can lead to osteoporosis. Calcium levels must remain within a healthy range for good bone health.

Oxycodone And The Thyroid

Oxycodone is an opioid, and opioids can affect the functioning of the thyroid gland. In fact, there is evidence that people who take high doses of oxycodone over long periods of time may develop opioid-induced endocrinopathy.

The issue with this is that symptoms of thyroid issues with oxycodone are not commonly diagnosed. 

Opioid-Induced Endocrinopathy

Endocrinopathy is a condition where the body does not produce enough of some of its own hormones. People who suffer from this condition often experience changes in mood and behavior. Some common signs include:

  • Weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Low sex drive
  • Fatigue
  • Dry skin
  • Hair loss
  • Changes in appetite
  • Swollen feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slow heartbeat

Opioids increase the risk of developing opioid-induced endocrinopathies. However, it is important to note that most people do not have these side effects.

How Does Oxycodone Affect the Thyroid?

The exact mechanism by which oxycodone affects the thyroid is unknown. There are many factors that may contribute to this problem.

One theory suggests that oxycodone binds to the same receptor sites as thyroxine. Another theory says that oxycodone blocks the action of TSH.

Both theories suggest that oxycodone interferes with the production or release of thyroid hormones.

There are several ways that oxycodone could interfere with thyroid function. These include:

  • Decreased absorption of thyroid hormones into the bloodstream
  • Increased breakdown of thyroid hormones
  • Reduced secretion of thyroid hormones
  • Increased excretion of thyroid hormones

If you have been prescribed oxycodone, talk to your doctor about any concerns you might have regarding your thyroid. They can help determine whether, or not, you need further testing.

Final Thoughts 

It is very difficult to know exactly how oxycodone affects the human thyroid gland. Many doctors believe that the drug is safe when used appropriately. Others feel that it should be avoided altogether. 

If you are taking oxycodone, make sure that you discuss all of your options with your doctor. You may want to consider other pain medications like hydrocodone (Vicodin) instead.

Your doctor can help you decide what is best for you.

Tom Anderson
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