The name “roxy” was derived from the brand name “Roxicodone,” which is pure, immediate release oxycodone. It comes in 15mg or 30mg tablets. However, there is another brand name drug, “Roxicet,” which is sometimes mistaken for roxy because of the similarity of the name. Roxicet is oxycodone plus acetaminophen (Tylenol), the same formulation as Percocet. Other oxycodone containing formulations are combined with ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or aspirin.
So how does roxy work? How is it different from an anti-inflammatory?
Roxy is a powerful, prescription narcotic analgesic (painkiller). It affects the central nervous system. Roxy binds to opioid receptors in the brain, which are the same sites your natural pain-inhibiting chemicals bind when you are hurt. It reduces the feeling of pain, but does not have any effect on the source of the pain itself. In addition, roxy, like other drugs with abuse potential, triggers the “reward pathway” in the brain. This is the pathway that is activated when something good happens normally- exercise, sex, and chocolate can all trigger this pathway. Drugs of abuse cause an extreme reaction in this pathway, causing an overproduction of so-called “pleasure chemicals” in the brain. Over time, the pathway adapts to the constant influx of these chemicals. It stops producing as many chemicals in response to the drugs (and any other pleasurable event) and the reward pathway also becomes less responsive to the chemicals. When the drugs are stopped or significantly reduced, the individual experiences depression, anxiety, and drug craving.
Anti-inflammatory drugs treat pain too, but in a different way. They diminish pain by reducing inflammation, unlike roxies, which affect the central nervous system. Basically, anti-inflammatories reduce production of a certain enzyme, cyclooxygenase (COX). This is the enzyme that produces prostaglandins, the compounds that travel to the site of an injury and produce inflammation. Inhibiting the COX enzyme can cause some of the negative side effects that are common with anti-inflammatories, most notably gastrointestinal issues. Prostaglandins also regulate the lining of the stomach, so when the COX enzyme is inhibited and the body produces fewer prostaglandins, the lining gets thinner. Peptic ulcers are a sometimes caused by long-term anti-inflammatory use. However, unlike roxies, anti-inflammatory medications are not habit-forming. They do not stimulate the reward pathway of the brain, and thus do not cause tolerance and addiction. Common anti-inflammatories are aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen. Oxycodone plus aspirin is sold under the brand name Percodan or Endodan and oxycodone plus ibuprofen is Combunox.