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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2012 May;13(7):1045-58. doi: 10.1517/14656566.2012.677823.

Oxycodone for the treatment of postoperative pain.

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Kuopio University Hospital, Department of Anaesthesia & Operative Services, Puijonlaaksontie 2, FI-70211 Kuopio, Finland.



Pain is a likely outcome of any surgical procedure. In several countries the use of oxycodone has surpassed that of morphine in postoperative pain management.


This review summarizes the recent pharmacological and clinical data on oxycodone use for postoperative pain management. The benefits and the impact oxycodone may have on outcome in different patient groups is addressed. As oxycodone is available on different pharmaceutical formulations and as a new combination product with naloxone, the different approaches that may be used with oxycodone in postoperative pain management are also reviewed.


The recent interest in oxycodone is based on its favorable pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, especially in the central nervous system. Moreover, relatively high enteral bioavailability allows an easy switch from one drug formulation to another during the course of pain management. Oxycodone is highly effective and well tolerated in different types of surgical procedures and patient groups, from preterm to aged patients. In the future, the use of transmucosal administration and enteral oxycodone-naloxone controlled-release tablets is likely to increase, and an appropriate concurrent use of different enteral drug formulations will decrease the need for more complex administration techniques, such as intravenous patient-controlled analgesia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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