December 1, 2023

Percocet Side Effects

A woman standing in the kitchen with her hands to her face, depicting the Percocet side effects after abusing the drug

Percocet belongs to the opioid drug family, which includes both naturally derived substances like heroin and morphine and synthetically produced ones such as hydrocodone and oxycodone. Combining oxycodone with acetaminophen – the generic name for medications like Tylenol – Percocet is formulated to alleviate pain.

Despite differences in origin and synthesis, all opioids share a common cellular structure. The mechanism of action involves these drugs binding to mu-opioid receptors in the brain. This interaction can induce feelings of euphoria and provide pain relief, but it also has the potential to slow down respiratory functions.

Percocet is frequently prescribed for individuals experiencing pain. That said, it is crucial to be aware of its high addictive potential due to its opioid component. The risk of dependency highlights the importance of using Percocet strictly as directed by a healthcare professional and under close supervision.

What Are the Effects of Percocet?

Percocet, a potent opioid painkiller, can produce various effects, both therapeutic and potentially harmful. It is essential to understand both the intended benefits and potential risks associated with Percocet use to minimize risk. Here is an overview of the main side effects of taking Percocet:

Therapeutic effects

  • Pain relief: Percocet is primarily prescribed for its analgesic properties, offering relief from moderate to severe pain.
  • Improved functioning: By alleviating pain, Percocet can enhance a person’s ability to perform daily activities that might be impeded by pain.

Potential adverse effects

  • Euphoria: Opioids, including Percocet, have the potential to induce feelings of euphoria, contributing to their addictive nature.
  • Drowsiness and sedation: Percocet side effects may include drowsiness and sedation, affecting alertness and coordination.
  • Nausea and vomiting: Some people may experience nausea and vomiting as side effects of Percocet.
  • Constipation: Percocet effects may involve constipation due to the impact on the digestive system.
  • Respiratory depression: In high doses or when misused, Percocet can slow down respiratory functions, posing a risk of respiratory depression.

Serious Percocet reactions and side effects

  • Addiction and dependence: Prolonged or inappropriate use of Percocet can trigger the development of addiction and physical dependence.
  • Tolerance: Over time, individuals may develop tolerance, requiring higher doses to achieve the same pain-relieving effects.
  • Withdrawal symptoms: Abrupt discontinuation can prompt the presentation of Percocet withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, and flu-like symptoms.
  • Overdose: Taking excessive amounts of Percocet, especially when combined with other substances, can result in a life-threatening overdose.

It is imperative for anyone using Percocet to be aware of these effects, follow prescribed dosage guidelines, and communicate openly with healthcare professionals to mitigate potential risks. Any concerns or adverse reactions should be promptly reported to a medical professional for evaluation and guidance.

AN image of a woman on a walk in reflecting on what she's learned about Percocet side effects

Long-Term Side Effects of Percocet

Long-term use of Percocet, like other opioids, may lead to various side effects and potential health risks. Here are some considerations:

  • Tolerance: With prolonged use, individuals may develop tolerance to Percocet. Tolerance means that over time, the same dose becomes less effective in providing pain relief, leading to a potential need for higher doses.
  • Physical dependence: Long-term use of Percocet can result in physical dependence, where the body adapts to the presence of the drug. Abrupt cessation or a significant reduction in dosage may lead to withdrawal symptoms, reinforcing the need for continued use.
  • Psychological dependence and addiction: Beyond physical dependence, some people may develop psychological dependence on Percocet. This involves a compulsive need for the drug to cope with stress, anxiety, or other emotional factors, contributing to the risk of addiction.
  • Liver damage: Percocet contains acetaminophen, and prolonged use or high doses may increase the risk of liver damage. Liver function should be monitored regularly, and individuals should adhere to recommended dosage limits to minimize this risk.
  • Gastrointestinal issues: Opioids, including Percocet, can cause constipation over an extended period, leading to chronic gastrointestinal issues. Adequate hydration, dietary adjustments, and medications may be required to manage this side effect.
  • Cognitive impairment: Long-term opioid use, particularly in higher doses, may contribute to cognitive impairment, affecting memory, attention, and overall cognitive function.
  • Reduced hormone production: Opioids can interfere with the production of certain hormones, potentially leading to endocrine issues – reduced testosterone levels, impacting sexual function and overall hormonal balance, for instance.
  • Increased pain sensitivity: Paradoxically, long-term opioid use may result in heightened pain sensitivity, a phenomenon known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia. This can complicate pain management strategies.
  • Social and functional impairment: Chronic opioid use may contribute to social isolation and functional impairment, affecting relationships, work, and overall quality of life.

Withdrawal Effects of Percocet

Percocet, like other opioids, can lead to withdrawal effects when someone who has been using it regularly stops or reduces their dosage. Withdrawal symptoms can be challenging, and it’s essential to understand and manage them appropriately. Here’s a closer look at the withdrawal effects associated with Percocet:

Early withdrawal symptoms

  • Anxiety and restlessness: Individuals may experience heightened anxiety and restlessness during the early stages of withdrawal.
  • Insomnia: Difficulty falling or staying asleep is a common early withdrawal symptom.
  • Runny nose and teary eyes: These symptoms may manifest, resembling mild flu-like symptoms.

Gastrointestinal distress

  • Nausea and vomiting: Gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea and vomiting can be prevalent during withdrawal.
  • Abdominal cramping: Individuals may experience abdominal cramps and discomfort.

Musculoskeletal symptoms

  • Muscle aches and pains: Pain in muscles and joints is a common withdrawal symptom.
  • Restlessness: A restless or agitated feeling may accompany musculoskeletal discomfort.

Autonomic nervous system changes

  • Dilated pupils: Changes in pupil size, often dilation, can occur during withdrawal.
  • Increased heart rate: The heart rate may become elevated.
  • Elevated blood pressure: Blood pressure may increase during withdrawal.

Mood changes

  • Irritability: Emotional irritability is a frequent withdrawal symptom.
  • Depression: Feelings of sadness or depression may be experienced.
  • Cravings: Intense cravings for Percocet can persist during withdrawal.

Later withdrawal symptoms

  • Diarrhea: Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, may persist or worsen.
  • Goosebumps and chills: Skin changes, such as goosebumps and chills, can occur.
  • Sweating: Profuse sweating is common during later withdrawal stages.

Psychological effects

  • Difficulty concentrating: Withdrawal may impact cognitive functions, making concentration challenging.
  • Anhedonia: A reduced ability to experience pleasure may be present.
  • Mood swings: Fluctuations in mood, ranging from euphoria to dysphoria, can occur.

Duration of withdrawal

The duration and intensity of Percocet withdrawal symptoms can vary based on factors such as the duration and dosage of use, individual physiology, and the presence of co-occurring conditions. Typically, acute withdrawal symptoms may peak within a few days and gradually subside over one to two weeks.

Individuals considering discontinuation of Percocet or any opioid should seek guidance from healthcare professionals. Medically supervised withdrawal or detoxification programs may be recommended to manage symptoms safely and provide support during this challenging process.


What is Percocet?

Percocet is a prescription medication that combines oxycodone, an opioid pain reliever, and acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain reliever and fever reducer. It is commonly prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain but carries a risk of dependence and addiction, requiring careful use under medical supervision.

How long does Percocet stay in your system?

The duration Percocet remains in your system can vary based on factors like metabolism and dosage. Generally, the half-life of oxycodone (the opioid component) is around 3 to 4.5 hours, but it may take several half-lives for the drug to be eliminated from the body. As a rough estimate, it might take a couple of days for Percocet to be mostly cleared from the system.

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Get Treatment for Percocet Addiction at Gratitude Lodge

Have you developed an addiction to Percocet or any other opioid? If so, we can provide targeted Percocet addiction treatment in Southern California at Gratitude Lodge.

For the safest and most comfortable pathway to ongoing recovery, begin with our supervised medical detox program. Over the course of a week or so, you can detox from opioids and combat the issue of physical dependence on Percocet. You will then be ready to engage with ongoing treatment at one of our luxury facilities in Long Beach or Newport Beach, California.

All Gratitude Lodge programs offer individualized therapy that draws from interventions such as:

Call (800) 994-2184 when you are ready to start living opioid-free.

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Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.
Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

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