Percocet Addiction and Abuse

What is Percocet?

Percocet is a medication that treats symptoms of moderate to severe pain.1 The medicine is a mix of an opioid pain reliever (oxycodone) and a non-opioid pain reliever (acetaminophen). Oxycodone works in the brain to alter how your body feels and responds to pain. Acetaminophen can also reduce a fever. Like many other opioid medications, Percocet does have a risk for abuse due to the euphoric high caused when abused in higher doses. Abuse and misuse of this drug are dangerous. This medicine should only be taken in recommended doses when prescribed by a medical professional.

Common Street Names

Since there is a risk for abuse with Percocet, there are issues with illegal purchases for recreational use. Common street names for this drug are:
  • Ercs
  • Greenies
  • Kickers
  • M-30s
  • Percs
  • Rims
  • Tires
  • Wheels
  • 512s
Recreational use of this drug is dangerous due to the increased risk of overdose and death.

Percocet vs. Norco

Some people may ask about the difference in a medication like Percocet vs. Norco. Norco is another opioid painkiller. In Percocet, the opioid used is oxycodone, while Norco uses the opioid hydrocodone.2 Research has shown that both Percocet and Norco treat pain equally, and both have a half-life of about 4 hours. If you are receiving medical treatment where you are prescribed a painkiller like this, make sure to talk to your doctor about potential side effects and what they would recommend based on your medical history.

Percocet Dosage

Like other medications, Percocet dosage may vary. There are different levels of Percocet doses to treat various medical needs. When taking this medication, it’s essential only to take the amount recommended by your doctor. Taking a higher dose can lead to many adverse effects.

Percocet 5/325

Percocet 5/325 is a medication tablet with a dose of 5mg of oxycodone hydrochloride and 325mg of acetaminophen.

Percocet 10/325

Percocet 10/325 is a tablet with a dosage of 10mg of oxycodone hydrochloride and 325mg of acetaminophen.

How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

A common question is, how long does Percocet stay in your system? Percocet can be detected in urine tests for up to 48 hours, starting 2 hours after the first dose. It is in the blood for only a day. The only long-term test is a hair test, which can detect it for up to 30 days.

Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Addiction

It’s not always easy to tell when someone is living with an addiction, as they may try to cover up what’s going on. However, there are signs and symptoms that you can look for to determine if a use disorder is present. Signs and symptoms may be physical or behavioral.

Physical Signs

Physical signs of addiction may include:
  • Cravings for oxycodone
  • Developing a tolerance to it, needing more to get the same effect
  • Sweating
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Fatigue

Behavioral Signs

Common behavioral signs may include:
  • Drug-seeking behavior, trying to obtain more Percocet
  • Multiple doctor's visits
  • Feeling withdrawn from social life
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irrational behavior
  • Struggling at work or not showing up to work

Percocet Side Effects

Short-Term

Common short-term Percocet side effects include:3 
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mood swings
  • Lack of coordination
  • Sweating
  • Sleeping problems (too much
  • Respiratory problems

Long-Term

Risks associated with long-term Percocet abuse are:
  • Chronic constipation
  • Damage to digestive organs
  • Liver diseases, including cirrhosis
  • Heart damage
  • Brain damage

Overdose

One of the dangers associated with Percocet abuse is an overdose.4 When someone takes Percocet for a long time, they will begin developing a tolerance to it. When tolerance develops, it requires higher and higher doses to get the same effect as before. This can lead to an overdose. One of the main dangers of Percocet overdose is that it suppresses respiratory function. When too high of a dose is taken, it can be life-threatening. In cases of overdose, it’s imperative to get medical attention right away.
Common overdose symptoms to look for are:
  • Shallow breathing, which may slow down to the point of stopping
  • Extreme fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting
  • Small pupils in their eyes
  • Unconsciousness

Withdrawal

Like many other opioid drugs, Percocet withdrawal symptoms can be intense, making it essential to go to a treatment center during the detox and withdrawal process. Common withdrawal symptoms may include:
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking
  • Muscle aches
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

Treatment Options

Percocet addiction can take a toll mind and body. Since there are so many adverse effects of long-term Percocet abuse, support is vital during recovery. There are many resources available that can help. Speaking to a medical professional or going to a treatment center can be an excellent first step.

Detox

Like many other opioid medications, Percocet withdrawal symptoms can be intense. Going to a treatment center during the detox process will help make it as comfortable as possible and provide around the clock medical attention to keep you safe.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Some medications can help with recovery from Percocet addiction. Common medications used to treat symptoms of opioid addiction are naltrexone (Vivitrol), buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv, Probuphine), and methadone. These medications can help by reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings that are associated with opioid withdrawals.

Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient Rehab can be a good idea when treating Percocet addiction. Inpatient treatment allows full-time recovery at a treatment center for a duration of time. This treatment provides a stable environment away from temptations, along with around the clock medical attention and a positive support system. Inpatient treatment also provides therapy and other resources to help build the coping skills necessary to maintain sobriety long-term.

Resources

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