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Percocet is a type of prescription painkiller. Its generic name is oxycodone/acetaminophen. Other common brand names include Primlev, Roxicet, Endocet, and Xartemis XR. Percocet does not contain codeine.
Doctors commonly prescribe Percocet for moderate to severe pain relief. In addition, recreational users frequently abuse it for the euphoric effects it produces.
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Percocet belongs to the opioid class of medications. Each tablet includes oxycodone and acetaminophen and may be prescribed in the following doses:
Percocet interacts with the brain’s opioid receptors and modifies your pain perception. It also creates a large release of dopamine. In high doses, this dopamine release creates an intense and euphoric high.
Percocet is habit-forming, so if it is prescribed for long periods of time, or misused frequently, users can quickly develop a tolerance and dependency on the drug.
There are a variety of pain relief drugs that doctors prescribe their patients. Many people are unaware of the differences in these medications.
The most commonly prescribed painkillers in the US include:
|Brand Name:||Active Drug(s)||Drug Class||Legal Status|
|Percocet||Oxycodone, Acetaminophen||Opioid||Schedule II|
|Vicodin||Hydrocodone, Acetaminophen||Opioid||Schedule II|
|Tylenol-Codeine No. 3, Tylenol-Codeine No. 4, Vopac||Acetaminophen, Codeine||Opioid||Schedule III|
|Roxanol||Morphine sulfate||Opioid||Schedule II|
|Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze||Fentanyl||Opioid||Schedule II|
|Methadose, Dolophine||Methadone||Opioid||Schedule II|
Percocet contains the opioid pain reliever oxycodone as well as the non-opioid pain reliever acetaminophen, making it a very effective pain management medication with a high risk of abuse.
Short-term side effects of Percocet use include:
The effects of Percocet abuse are severe and include:
Many people abuse Percocet because, in high doses, it can cause heroin-like effects. These include euphoria, relaxation, and heightened pleasure. However, Percocet is a habit-forming drug. Tolerance and addiction develop quickly.
Percocet and other opiates change the way your brain functions. You can also develop a tolerance, meaning you need greater quantities of the drug to achieve the same effect. This can lead users to develop an addiction to oxycodone.
Here are several behavioral symptoms that may indicate a Percocet addiction:
Co-occurring disorders occur when someone is suffering from a mental health issue as well as a substance use disorder. These two issues are often intrinsically linked. Mental illness can lead someone develop a drug addiction, and substance abuse can stimulate or heighten pre-existing mental disorders. Anyone with a family history of bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, suicide attempts, or any other mental health issue may be at a higher risk for co-occurring disorders.
Co-occurring disorders require specialized care that treats the conditions as interrelated, rather than separate issues.
If someone develops a dependency on oxycodone, they may experience withdrawal when they stop using the drug. Withdrawal is characterized by intense physical symptoms. The intensity of the symptoms will depend on the strength of their addiction.
Anyone who undergoes detox will experience withdrawal symptoms. That's why it is recommended to attend a treatment center with medical supervision when you decide to detox. In serious cases, medications like buprenorphine or methadone may be prescribed to help ease withdrawal symptoms.
Common Percocet withdrawal symptoms include:
Someone who develops an addiction to oxycodone is at high risk for an overdose. Percocet overdoses can be severe and even fatal.
Signs of a Percocet overdose include:
47,600 people died of prescription opioid overdose in 2017Centers for Disease
Percocet can have adverse effects when mixed with other drugs. Other opioids, tranquilizers, sedatives, and anesthetic are just a few of the medications that should be taken with extreme caution. Inform your doctor of all medications in order to make sure you avoid negative reactions.
Mixing Percocet and alcohol, another central nervous system (CNS) depressant, can increase the sedative effects of Percocet, and have adverse effects such as impaired judgment and depression.
Anyone who is suffering from a Percocet addiction has several options for treatment. The most common types of substance abuse treatment include:
If you or a loved one is struggling with a Percocet addiction, reach out to a medical professional to review your treatment options.
Scholl L, Seth P, Kariisa M, Wilson N, Baldwin G. Drug and Opioid-Involved Overdose Deaths — United States, 2013–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019;67:1419–1427. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm675152e1
NIDA. "Benzodiazepines and Opioids." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 15 Mar. 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids.
NIDA. "Misuse of Prescription Drugs." National Institute on Drug Abuse, 13 Dec. 2018, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/misuse-prescription-drugs.
Wakim, Judith H. “Alleviating symptoms of withdrawal from an opioid.” Pain and therapy vol. 1,1 (2012): 4. doi:10.1007/s40122-012-0004-5
“Harmful Interactions.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 5 June 2019, www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/harmful-interactions-mixing-alcohol-with-medicines.