Menu Close

How Long-Term OxyContin Use Affects the Heart

Providing Trusted, Evidence-Based
Treatment for Three Decades and Counting

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction, we’re here to help.

An average person’s heart beats 60 to 100 times per minute, the Mayo Clinic reports. With each little contraction, vital nutrients are delivered to starving tissues, while waste products are delivered to their disposal sites. It’s an efficient system, and it’s vital.

When the heart isn’t working as it should, tissues can starve, and if the heart stops beating altogether, death quickly follows. There’s some evidence that suggests the opioid painkiller OxyContin can ruin heart tissue, meaning that people who take this drug might be taking serious risks with their health over the long term.

Contaminant Concerns

OxyContin pills are often designed to deliver a specific dose of medication during a specific timeframe. Addicted people might want to subvert this system and feel the impact of the drug all at once, and by crushing the pills, these users may be able to strip the strong chemical away from its buffering agents.

Drug manufacturers, in response, have stepped up their efforts to make their drugs abuse-proof, and the coatings they’ve placed on their drugs are very hard to remove.

Sometimes, people can’t remove all of the coatings and they inject the drugs into their veins anyway, coatings and all. This can be deadly to heart tissue, as those coatings can work like little missiles inside the veins of an addicted person. If those materials reach the heart, the heart tissue can die or become scarred and infected. People with long-standing addictions and a history of injecting pills may have many little kernels of contaminants attacking their hearts, and the damage could be enormous.


Underlying Damage

Recent studies suggest that OxyContin can also do damage to the heart cells when it’s taken orally. For example, in a study of 13,000 arthritis patients published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that people who took opioids like OxyContin were twice as likely to have a heart attack, when compared to people who took other medications like NSAIDs.

Researchers aren’t quite clear why this heart damage took place, and more studies are needed, but it’s also important to note that the people in this study took normal doses provided by a doctor. They weren’t addicts and they weren’t taking huge amounts of pills. They were people with medical conditions taking their medications. If the drug really can cause heart damage, people who are abusing the drug might be facing much higher rates of heart trouble, simply because they’re taking more of the drug.

People with OxyContin addictions like this benefit from treatment plans that:

  • Provide a structured withdrawal process
  • Deliver targeted psychotherapies
  • Pair support group with individual work
  • Last for more than three months

Recovery Choices

This is the kind of care we provide at La Paloma, and we’d like to tell you more about it. We can provide you with an individualized OxyContin program that can lead to your recovery, and we’ll stay involved with you every step of the way to ensure that you have the support and assistance you need in order to really get well.

Please call us at 760.548.4032, and find out more about our OxyContin program.