Percocet Withdrawal

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Percocet is a prescription medication that combines two active ingredients: oxycodone, a potent opioid pain reliever, and acetaminophen, a non-opioid analgesic commonly known as Tylenol. It belongs to a class of drugs known as opioid analgesics and is primarily used to manage moderate to severe pain. The combination of these two components works synergistically to provide effective pain relief.

The main purpose of Percocet is to alleviate pain that non-opioid pain medications cannot adequately manage. It is commonly prescribed for post-operative pain, severe injuries, and chronic conditions such as cancer-related pain.

Percocet can be highly effective in managing pain when used as prescribed and for a short duration. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and use it carefully. Misuse of the medicine can cause various complications. Therefore, using it under the guidance of a healthcare provider is better to avoid any potential issues.

How Does Percocet Work?

Percocet works in the body through the actions of its two active ingredients. Oxycodone, the opioid component of Percocet, acts as a potent pain reliever by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. These receptors are primarily located in areas involved in the perception and transmission of pain signals. By binding to these receptors, oxycodone inhibits the transmission of pain signals, reducing the overall sensation of pain.

The opioid receptors that oxycodone targets are classified into three main types: mu, kappa, and delta receptors. The activation of mu receptors is primarily responsible for the analgesic effects of opioids. When oxycodone binds to mu receptors, it triggers a series of biochemical events that ultimately lead to a decreased release of neurotransmitters involved in pain signaling, such as substance P.

Apart from reducing pain, oxycodone also has additional effects on the body. It can induce feelings of relaxation, sedation, and euphoria by acting on reward centers in the brain. These effects contribute to its potential for misuse and addiction.

Acetaminophen, the second component of Percocet, complements the effects of oxycodone. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid analgesic that inhibits the production of substances involved in pain and inflammation. By reducing these substances’ levels, acetaminophen helps to enhance the pain-relieving effects of oxycodone.

The combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen in Percocet allows for synergistic pain relief. The two components work together to provide a more comprehensive and effective analgesic effect than using either medication alone. Acetaminophen also acts as a buffer, limiting the amount of oxycodone needed to achieve the desired pain relief, thus potentially reducing the risk of opioid-related side effects.

Percocet Misuse – Potential Side Effects

When used improperly or without medical supervision, Percocet can cause several physical and psychological consequences, including

Respiratory Depression

 Misuse of Percocet can cause respiratory depression, a potentially life-threatening condition characterized by slow and shallow breathing. Oxycodone, as an opioid, can suppress the respiratory centers in the brain, leading to breathing difficulties, reduced oxygen intake, and even respiratory failure in extreme cases.


Incorrect medication usage, such as taking higher doses than prescribed or combining it with other substances like alcohol or sedatives, significantly increases the risk of overdose. An overdose of Percocet can cause symptoms such as extreme sedation, confusion, slowed heart rate, dangerously low blood pressure, and respiratory distress. In severe cases, it can result in coma or death.

Liver Damage

Acetaminophen, the other component of Percocet, can cause liver damage when used in excessive amounts or in combination with alcohol. Taking more than the recommended dose of Percocet or using it with other medications containing acetaminophen can strain the liver and potentially lead to acute liver failure.

Gastrointestinal Issues

Miusing Percocet can cause gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Opioids like oxycodone slow down bowel movements, causing severe constipation. Prolonged constipation can result in complications like bowel obstruction and fecal impaction.

Cognitive Impairment and Mental Health Effects

Long-term misuse of Percocet can lead to cognitive impairments, including difficulty with memory, concentration, and decision-making. It can also exacerbate or contribute to developing mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and mood disorders.

Percocet Addiction – Can You Develop A Dependence On The Medicine?

Percocet carries a significant potential for abuse and addiction. The opioid component, oxycodone, can produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. This pleasurable effect can lead to misuse and repeated medication use for non-medical purposes.

The potential for abuse and addiction arises from how oxycodone interacts with the brain’s reward system. When Percocet is taken, it binds to opioid receptors in the brain, triggering the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. Activating this reward pathway reinforces the desire to continue using Percocet, leading to a cycle of craving and seeking the drug.

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Repeated misuse of Percocet can result in physical and psychological dependence. Psychological dependence involves a compulsive craving and a perceived need for the drug to experience pleasure or alleviate negative emotions. On the other hand, physical dependence occurs when the body adapts to the presence of the drug and requires it to function normally. Physical dependence can cause Percocet withdrawal symptoms if the drug is abruptly discontinued.

Some people can also experience withdrawal symptoms when using the medicine for an extended period. Usually, abusing Percocet, stopping it abruptly, and taking it for a long time can cause the following symptoms:

  • Agitation and restlessness
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea and abdominal cramps
  • Sweating and chills
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Goosebumps or “cold turkey” skin
  • Drug cravings
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating and impaired cognition
  • Flu-like symptoms, including runny nose and watery eyes.

Withdrawal signs of the medication may vary among people. Getting guidance from a healthcare advisor is recommended to avoid getting off Percocet withdrawal symptoms.

Percocet Withdrawal Timeline – What To Expect

The timeline for Percocet withdrawal can vary from person to person, depending on factors such as the duration and dosage of use, individual metabolism, and overall health. Generally, the withdrawal process can be divided into several stages, including:

Withdrawal Stage One

Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within several hours after the last dose of Percocet. During this stage, individuals may experience initial symptoms such as anxiety, restlessness, irritability, muscle aches, and cravings for the drug. Insomnia and gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also be present.

Withdrawal Stage Two

The second stage is usually the most intense and peaks within the first few days of withdrawal. Symptoms during this period may include increased severity of early withdrawal symptoms and additional physical and psychological symptoms. These can include sweating, chills, watery eyes, increased heart rate and blood pressure, depression, mood swings, and difficulty concentrating.

Withdrawal Stage Three

As the symptoms begin to subside, individuals may still experience residual effects during this stage. Physical symptoms may continue to decrease in intensity, although some gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, and mood disturbances may persist. Cravings for Percocet can still be present during this period.

Withdrawal Stage Four

 Some people may experience withdrawal several weeks or months after getting off the medicine. Symptoms may be less severe but more persistent during this stage, with fluctuating intensity. It can last several weeks to months, but the severity and duration vary among individuals.

Seeking medical assistance and support during Percocet withdrawal is important, as healthcare professionals can provide appropriate guidance and monitoring and potentially prescribe medications to alleviate specific symptoms.

How To Get Off Percocet – Addiction Treatment And Withdrawal Management At Rehabs

Joining a rehab program for Percocet withdrawal and addiction can provide individuals with the necessary support and resources to overcome their dependence on the medication and begin recovery. Rehab programs offer an evidence-based approach to address addiction’s physical, psychological, and emotional aspects. Treatment modalities utilized in rehab can vary but generally include the following:

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): CBT is a widely used therapeutic approach that identifies and modifies negative thought patterns and behaviors associated with addiction. In the context of Percocet addiction, CBT can help individuals recognize triggers, develop coping strategies, and build healthier habits to prevent relapse.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT): DBT combines elements of CBT with mindfulness techniques. It is particularly effective for individuals struggling with emotional dysregulation and self-destructive behaviors. DBT helps individuals develop skills to manage intense emotions, cope with stress, and improve interpersonal relationships. It can assist in addressing underlying issues that contribute to Percocet misuse and develop healthier ways of dealing with distress.
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy provides individuals with the opportunity to connect with peers who are going through similar challenges. It promotes a sense of community and support, reduces feelings of isolation, and fosters interpersonal skills. Group therapy sessions offer a safe space for sharing experiences, learning from others, and receiving feedback and encouragement.
  • Family Therapy: Family therapy involves the participation of family members in the treatment process. It aims to improve communication, resolve conflicts, and rebuild trust within the family system. Family therapy can provide education about addiction, help address family dynamics that may contribute to substance abuse, and establish a supportive environment for long-term recovery.

In rehab, these modalities are often combined with other approaches, such as individual counseling, holistic therapies, and educational workshops on addiction and relapse prevention. The treatment plan is customized to the individual’s specific needs and may involve a combination of these therapies.

In addition to therapy, some people may also need to undergo a Percocet detox. Detoxification is clearing the drug from the body and managing withdrawal symptoms that may arise when someone stops using Percocet.

Detoxification may involve gradually tapering the Percocet dosage to minimize the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Medications may sometimes be prescribed to alleviate specific symptoms, such as muscle aches, nausea, and insomnia. Professionals carefully monitor the process as it is an essential initial step in addiction treatment.

Remember that It is crucial to undergo detox in a supervised medical setting. This ensures that individuals receive appropriate medical care, emotional support, and monitoring during this potentially challenging phase.


Can you be drugged with Percocet without your knowledge?

It is possible to be drugged with Percocet without your knowledge. Like other medications, Percocet can be misused or administered to someone without their consent. Be cautious and vigilant about your medications and report any suspicious or unexplained symptoms to medical professionals.

Are certain groups at a higher risk of Percocet addiction?

 While Percocet addiction can affect anyone, certain groups may be at a higher risk. Individuals with a history of substance abuse or addiction, those with a family history of addiction, individuals with mental health disorders such as anxiety or depression, and individuals who have previously misused opioids are considered to be at an increased risk of developing Percocet addiction. Additionally, individuals with easy access to Percocet, like those with chronic pain conditions, may be at a higher risk.

How long does Percocet withdrawal last?

The duration of Percocet withdrawal can vary depending on several factors, including the individual’s level of dependence, dosage, and duration of use. Generally, early withdrawal symptoms may last for a week or two. In contrast, protracted withdrawal symptoms can persist for several weeks to months. 

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