How and when to take oxycodone (2024)

Follow your doctor's instructions about how to use this medicine. This is particularly important because oxycodone can be addictive.

Dosage and strength

Oxycodone comes as:

  • capsules containing 5mg, 10mg or 20mg of oxycodone – usually taken 4 to 6 times a day
  • standard tablets containing 5mg, 10mg or 20mg of oxycodone – usually taken 4 to 6 times a day
  • slow-release tablets containing 5mg, 10mg, 15mg, 20mg, 30mg, 40mg, 60mg, 80mg or 120mg of oxycodone – usually taken 1 to 2 times a day
  • liquid containing 5mg of oxycodone in 5ml or 10mg of oxycodone in 1ml of liquid – usually taken 4 to 6 times a day. You'll usually take the strength that contains 5mg in 5ml. If you have oxycodone liquid, always check that you have the right strength

You'll usually start on a low dose of oxycodone that can be increased gradually until your pain is under control. After this, your doctor may prescribe slow-release tablets which may cut down the number of doses you have to take.

When you stop taking oxycodone your doctor will gradually reduce your dose, especially if you've been taking it for a long time.

How to take it

You can take oxycodone at any time of day, but try to take it at the same time every day and space your doses evenly. For example, if you take oxycodone twice a day and have your first dose at 8am, take your second dose around 8pm.

Take oxycodone with, or just after, a meal or snack as it's less likely to make you feel sick.

It's important to swallow slow-release oxycodone tablets whole with a drink of water.


Do not break, crush, chew or suck oxycodone slow-release tablets. If you do, the slow-release system will not work and the whole dose might get into your body in one go. This could cause an overdose.

How long to take it for

Depending on why you're taking oxycodone, you may only need to take it for a short time.

For example, if you're in pain after an injury or operation, you may only need to take oxycodone for a few days or weeks.

You may need to take it for longer if you have a long-term condition such as cancer.

If you need to take oxycodone for a long time, your body can get used to it. This is not usually a problem, but if you stop taking it suddenly you could get withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • feeling agitated, anxious or nervous
  • panic attacks
  • difficulty sleeping
  • shaking
  • feeling or being sick (nausea or vomiting)
  • noticeable heartbeat (palpitations)
  • sweating

If you want to stop taking oxycodone, talk to a doctor first. Your dose can be reduced gradually so you do not get these symptoms.

If you forget to take it

If you forget to take a dose, check the information that comes with the medicine or ask your pharmacist or doctor for advice.

Never take 2 doses at the same time to make up for a forgotten one.

If you often forget doses, it may help to set an alarm to remind you. You could also ask a pharmacist for advice on other ways to remember to take your medicine.

If you take too much

It's important not to take more than your prescribed dose, even if you think it's not enough to relieve your pain. Speak to your doctor first, if you think you need a different dose.

If you take too much oxycodone you may feel very sleepy, sick or dizzy, find it difficult to breathe or become unconscious.

Urgent advice: Contact 111 for advice now if:

  • you take more than your prescribed dose of oxycodone

Go to or call 111. If you need advice for a child under the age of 5 years, call 111.

Immediate action required: Call 999 or go to A&E now if you or your child:

  • have difficulty breathing
  • become unconscious

If you go to , do not drive yourself. Get someone else to drive you or call for an ambulance.

Take the oxycodone box or leaflet inside the packet plus any remaining medicine with you.

How to store oxycodone

If you have been prescribed oxycodone, it's really important that you:

  • store it properly and safely at home
  • keep it out of the sight and reach of children
  • do not give your medicine to anyone else
  • return any unused oxycodone to a pharmacy so it can be thrown away safely
How and when to take oxycodone (2024)
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