For Immediate Release
Dangerous Interactions With Oxycodone and Other Commonly Prescribed Drugs Pose Threat, Public Citizen Says
Oxycodone in Combination With 35 Drugs Listed on WorstPills.org Can Increase Toxicity or Decrease Effectiveness
WASHINGTON - Patients who take oxycodone for pain relief in combination with
certain other widely prescribed drugs may be at risk of experiencing
dramatically altered effects ranging from excessive sedation and
respiratory depression to decreased painkilling effects, Public Citizen writes in the latest edition of Worst Pills, Best Pills News released today on WorstPills.org, the organization’s drug safety Web site.
Because it is an opioid drug, oxycodone (sold generically, as well
as Oxycontin, Percodan and Tylox) is eliminated from the body by a
specific liver enzyme (CYP3A4). This enzyme is commonly inhibited by
other drugs, and when drugs that inhibit the enzyme are taken with
oxycodone, the blood levels of oxycodone may increase by as much as
four times the proper blood level, increasing the risk of side
Conversely, other drugs can increase the activity of this enzyme,
causing the body to process and eliminate oxycodone more rapidly. As a
result, the drug’s painkilling effects are reduced substantially.
“It is very important that people taking oxycodone know how the drug
will interact with other medications they may be taking,” said Sidney
Wolfe, M.D., director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group. “If
you are taking oxycodone, along with one of the 35 drugs listed on
Worstpills.org as either increasing oxycodone’s toxicity or reducing
its analgesic effects, you should talk to your doctor to find
alternatives that are less likely to interact.”
More than 14 million prescriptions were filled for oxycodone in
2008. The drugs that interact with oxycodone can be found in a table
included with the article on Worstpills.org.
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be available free for the next seven days. The site has other
searchable information about the uses, risks and side effects
associated with prescription medications.
WorstPills.org is an unbiased analysis of information from a variety
of sources, including well-regarded medical journals and unpublished
data obtained from the Food and Drug Administration, that allows Public
Citizen to sound the alarm about potentially dangerous drugs long
before they are banned by the federal government and to recommend safer
drugs. For example, Public Citizen warned consumers about the dangers
of Vioxx, ephedra, Baycol and Propulsid years before they were pulled
from the market.
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