Oxycodone Abuse and Brain Injuries

Oxycodone Abuse and Brain Injuries

Brain injury can result from increased pressure levels in the skull

A common side effect of oxycodone abuse is respiratory depression. If overdose occurs, breathing slows and oxygen flow to the brain dramatically reduces, which can lead to brain damage. If the brain is already damaged due to injury, then breathing may slow down even more than expected, which may contribute to a lower-dose overdose or even further brain damage. Such problems occur because, as the National Institutes of Health shares, “The respiratory depressant effects of narcotics…may be markedly exaggerated in the presence of head injury, other intracranial lesions or a pre-existing increase in intracranial pressure. Furthermore, narcotics produce adverse reactions which may obscure the clinical course of patients with head injuries” (“DailyMed: Oxycodone Hydrochloride Tablet”). In other words, taking oxycodone when already suffering from a brain injury can induce further damage.

Oxycodone, Spreading Depolarization and Brain Injury

People often experience depolarization when they have brain injuries that result from head trauma, stroke or hemorrhage. Depolarization involves the swelling of neurons and silencing of brain activity, which may “damage functional neurons, leading to neuronal necrosis or neurological degeneration and poor outcome” (“Effect of analgesics and sedatives on the occurrence of spreading depolarizations accompanying acute brain injury,” Brain, April 2012). While brain damage that results from injuries and depolarization can often be reversed or repaired over time, the spread of depolarization can be hastened or intensified by the use of painkillers such as oxycodone. So using painkillers for an injury can lead to problems that make recovery take longer, or the drugs can lead to permanent brain damage.

Oxycodone, Intracranial Pressure and Brain Injury

Brain injury can result from increased pressure levels in the skull, as increased pressure restricts blood flow to the brain and spinal cord. This intracranial pressure is affected by head trauma and the use of opioids such as oxycodone. An article in Anesthesiology explains that “modest doses of potent opioids can significantly increase intracranial pressure in patients with severe head trauma” (“Fentanyl and Sufentanil Increase Intracranial Pressure in Head Trauma Patients”). Ergo, if someone experiences head trauma that contributes to swelling and increased pressure in the skull, then she risks further damage or potential death by misusing oxycodone or other narcotic painkillers.

You can manage pain, injury and everyday life without the risks of oxycodone abuse. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to learn more about addiction treatment and drug-free pain management techniques. Do not continue to risk your or a loved one’s life by allowing drug abuse or addiction to continue; pick up the phone now to begin recovery.