Revisiting Oxycodone Analgesia: A Review and Hypothesis

Anesthesiol Clin. 2017 Jun;35(2):e163-e174. doi: 10.1016/j.anclin.2017.01.022. Epub 2017 Mar 14.


Oxycodone, a semisynthetic opioid analgesic, is widely used in clinical practice. Oxycodone and morphine seem to be equally effective and equipotent; however, morphine is 10 times more potent than oxycodone when given epidurally. This article provides an updated review of the basic pharmacology of oxycodone with a special focus on pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamics properties. The controversy regarding oxycodone-mediated effects for visceral pain via agonism and the possible role of peripheral opioid analgesia are discussed in the present investigation in an attempt to propose a plausible explanation to the perplexing question of oxycodone analgesia.

Keywords: Morphine; Oxycodone analgesia; Peripheral opioid analgesia; Pharmacology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Pain / drug therapy
  • Analgesia
  • Analgesia, Patient-Controlled
  • Analgesics, Opioid / administration & dosage
  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacokinetics*
  • Analgesics, Opioid / pharmacology
  • Cancer Pain / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Morphine / pharmacology
  • Oxycodone / administration & dosage
  • Oxycodone / pharmacokinetics*
  • Oxycodone / pharmacology
  • Pain / drug therapy*
  • Pain Measurement


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone