A new research study on rats that look sat oxycodone use has provided results which suggest that even using this drug for a short period can cause long term behavior impairment, and this impairment can last long after the substance is stopped. Oxycodone is one of the preferred choices involved in prescription drug abuse on a widespread basis, because this narcotic pain medication is very strong. The study researchers believe that the behavioral changes that result from using the drug are caused by a cognitive hangover effect, and that this impairs the decision making and mental flexibility of the individual. The research study was performed at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the study results have been published in the Learning and Memory Journal.
The behavioral changes seen in oxycodone use can explain why some people and even animals develop an addiction, and why some individuals engage in prescription drug abuse. The lead author of the study,Katharine M. Seip-Cammack, Ph.D, explained “Oxycodone binds to opiate receptors that are distributed throughout brain systems involved in important learning and memory processes. Our data suggests that even relatively limited exposure to oxycodone can impair how these brain circuits are able to guide behavior. These impairments affect decision-making and could be one reason why people continue to use or abuse the drugs, long after they are medically necessary.” Shapiro also stated “Our data imply that oxycodone treatment may lead to enduring brain changes that impair behavioral flexibility and decision-making, a ‘cognitive hangover’ that may contribute to the process of drug addiction. The range of cognitive effects in different individuals can guide future experiments on addiction. Perhaps the degree of ‘cognitive hangover’ helps explain why only some animals (and people) given a standard oxycodone treatment develop drug habits.”