It is important to know that breaking, chewing, splitting, dissolving, or crushing OxyContin (oxycodone ER) destroys the special slow-release feature of the tablets. This causes all the medication to be released at once, which could easily lead to an overdose. It is never appropriate or safe for the tablets to be crushed; they should always be swallowed whole.
What's Wrong With Crushing OxyContin?
Even the most basic instructions for taking OxyContin® (oxycodone ER) will carry a warning not to crush, break, chew, or dissolve the tablets. This isn't just one of the "standard" warnings put on all medications (such as warnings to ask your healthcare provider before using a drug if you are pregnant or breastfeeding). Crushing OxyContin can be quite dangerous.
What Can Happen When OxyContin Is Crushed?
OxyContin tablets are specially designed to release the medication slowly over 12 hours. This provides patients with the convenience of taking the medication just twice a day (instead of several times a day, as is necessary with short-acting oxycodone) and provides for more steady pain control.
Crushing, breaking, chewing, splitting, or dissolving OxyContin destroys the special slow-release feature of the tablets. All the medication will be released at once. This could easily cause an overdose. A fatal OxyContin overdose is possible.
Why Do People Crush It?
There are a few different reasons why people may want to crush OxyContin. Some people cannot swallow tablets easily (or at all); some people must have their medications crushed before administered through a "stomach tube" or other similar device; others might want to split the tablets to save money.
Of course, there are also reasons for crushing the tablets that are less innocent. For instance, OxyContin must be crushed or dissolved before being snorted or injected.
No matter what the reason, the dangers are still present. In no situation is it appropriate or safe for OxyContin tablets to be crushed. The tablets should be swallowed whole.