OxyContin (oxycodone) has a high rate of addiction for a growing number of people across the United States and worldwide. Tolerance to OxyContin develops when a person needs more of the drug to maintain the same effects. Over time this can have dangerous side effects and consequences on a person’s overall health and longevity. Dependence does not always necessitate tolerance or addiction. Each individual reacts differently, therefore it is important to understand how OxyContin tolerance develops and what to do if a loved one is struggling to stop using OxyContin.



Medication such as OxyContin can build in a person’s system because brain cells with opioid receptors become less responsive to opioid stimulation over time. When the body becomes acclimated to having OxyContin in the system, it weakens the medication’s ability to work effectively. More will be needed to achieve the same effect of releasing dopamine in the brain. Eventually, a person with OxyContin addiction will require more of the medication to produce pleasurable feelings.Some of the signs of tolerance include:

  • Exceeding recommended or prescribed maximum daily doses of OxyContin
  • Feeling little pain relief when taking the medication
  • Maintaining normal level of functioning without withdrawal symptoms


An addiction may not necessarily develop because signs of tolerance are present. Several factors play into addiction including withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not present and psychological dependence including cravings.


Chasing a High

Tolerance builds quickly in the system but each person develops tolerance at a different rate. Generally speaking, extended use of opioid medications such as OxyContin have a high level of abuse and development of tolerance is common. The longer a person uses OxyContin, the more likely a person is to develop tolerance by chasing the same high produced when the drug was first used. No matter how much a person takes, dependence physically can lead quickly to addiction if left untreated.


Lowering Tolerance

One of the best things a person can do to lower tolerance to OxyContin is to consult with a doctor prior to cessation of use. Some individuals never regain the capacity for a base level of lowered tolerance. The body needs time to readjust. After some time, tolerance will lower and a person may be able to take OxyContin again. Short term use of OxyContin is recommended which keeps development of tolerance at bay in most people and supports a person’s goal of pain relief and recovery. A treating physician is the best person to discuss options with as it regards levels of OxyContin or if a problem may be emerging with tolerance to the effects.


Don’t wait if you suspect a problem with painkillers. Help is available. Call Treatment Now to discuss options and opportunities for treatment. We have resources available to assist your unique needs. 844-438-8689.