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Pain Relievers for the Liver
April 2003

Q. I have cirrhosis of the liver from Hepatitis B. At times I need to take pain medication. I have used Hydrocodone which causes pain in my liver. If I use Oxycodone, there is no pain. Can you explain why that is or is it just my imagination?

A. Both oxycodone and hydrocodone are potent pain relievers. They are derived from the strong narcotic morphine, with small changes in the basic molecule. All such medications are intended for severe pain, and are meant for short-term use due to the potential for addiction.

Although the two compounds, oxycodone and hydrocodone, are similar, they may have differing effects in an individual. In addition, they are often combined with other compounds such as aspirin or acetaminophen, so side effects may be due to the other components. Check to see if this is the case for the particular drug you are taking and ask your doctor how to proceed.




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