Percocet is a pain relief prescription medication which is used when weaker pain relievers fail. It is a combination of oxycodone, which is a narcotic analgesic, and acetaminophen or Tylenol, which is not addictive and added to the concoction to reduce dependency.
People who are in dire need of pain relief are prescribed extended release Percocet. How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System? Whether it’s because you’re trying to ace a drug test, or trying to avoid an overdose or potential drug interactions with other medicines, it’d behoove you to find out.
Read on and you will learn everything you need to know about Percocet use.
Oxycodone Risk Factors
Oxycodone affects the central nervous system in order to feel less pain. Prolonged use of oxycodone can lead to mental and physical addiction. However, if you are in a lot of pain, you should not refrain from taking pain relief medications for any extended period of time just for fear of addiction.
If you use the medicine solely for that purpose, you should not form a mental dependence. On the other hand, physical dependency can cause side effects because of early withdrawal. To avoid withdrawals, your dosage should be gradually reduced until your treatment is complete.
If you increase the dosage, you can experience some very serious side effects, like severe breathing problems. This can also happen when you’re just starting your treatment, especially during the first three days. Take extra caution if you have a medical history of breathing problems such as asthma or chronic bronchitis.
You should not ever combine oxycodone with other opioids, medications for allergies or cold that are known to cause drowsiness (go for the non-drowsy variety), benzodiazepines or alcohol. The results of these combinations can be devastating; the worst-case scenarios are coma and death, but also it can make you heavily sedated and hinder your ability to breathe.
Pay close attention to your other medications, such as antifungals and antibiotics. Some of them can increase the effects of oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin, etc.). After a course of antifungals or antibiotics, their traces can still be found in your body so you might not want to Percocet during that time.
The easiest way to ensure you are safe is to report everything to your doctor, including any medication you are using, be it prescribed or OTC medication. Also, tell them if you’re using any dietary supplements and herbs. Finally, inform the doctor if you are starting to feel addicted to Percocet or if it doesn’t relieve your pain.
Acetaminophen Risk Factors
Acetaminophen is better known as Tylenol in this part of the world. It is usually harmless but you must have heard of people trying to commit suicide by downing a whole bottle of it. Extended use of acetaminophen can also cause permanent damage to the liver.
Refrain from taking more than 4 grams of acetaminophen a day to avoid liver damage. Again, it is best to check the dosage with your medical practitioner and tell him or her about all the other medication you are using. Percocet usually contains 325 milligrams of acetaminophen per pill.
How long is Percocet in Your System?
Every medication stays in our bodies for a different amount of time. There are many factors which have an impact on this, such as:
- Hydration levels
- Usage period and frequency
- Kidney and liver functions
- Body weight and fat percentage
- Other medication in use
So, how long does Percocet stay in your system? Percocet should not stay in your bloodstream for longer than 24 hours, but it can stay in your urine and saliva up to four days. Keep that in mind if you have to take a drug test for work.
Get a doctor’s paper so that you can inform your employers (if you’re legally prescribed). If you’re using it recreationally, don’t use it for at least a week before the drug test just to be safe. Don’t mess with those flushing systems that claim to rid your body of all recreational drugs (they might not work). Better yet, you might want to think about quitting. It’s the only reliable way to beat a surprise drug test.
On the other hand, Percocet may stay in your hair for up to 3 months.
Just like nuclear materials, half-life refers to the average amount of time required for the first half of the dose to leave your system. A few half-lives would have to pass before the drug is totally out of your system. Knowing these times can save you from an overdose.
Immediate-release oxycodone has a half-life of around 200 minutes. You process it in the kidneys and out through urination. For the extended-release version of oxycodone, the half-life is around 250 minutes or more.
Percocet also contains acetaminophen whose half-life in the bloodstream is between 75 and 300 minutes. It can vary depending on your liver function and if you have had more than 4000 mg of it.
Remember that you should gradually reduce your Percocet dosage instead of stopping it abruptly, which can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. Let your medical practitioner guide you on this process.
The withdrawal symptoms of Percocet include:
- Uncontrollable sweating
- Muscle and joint pain
- Digestion problems including diarrhea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Shallow breaths
- Heart rate changes
Overdose from Percocet
Extended-release pills should be swallowed whole. Or it’d be like taking immediate-release pills.
If you think that you’ve taken more than 4 grams of acetaminophen over the course of the day, notify your medical practitioner right away, even if you’re feeling well at the moment.
You might be having a Percocet overdose if you are experiencing some of the following symptoms:
- Lightheadedness and fainting
- Breathing issues, like gasping for air or slow breathing
- Severe fatigue
- Pupil dilation changes
- Cold and blue skin
- Falling unconscious or into a coma
Use but Don’t Abuse
If you are feeling lasting and unbearable pain, drugs are there to relieve it. You can use Percocet as it’s intended with the guidance of a doctor. Follow his or her guidelines for a speedy recovery.
Any extended use is not recommended unless a doctor assures you otherwise. Even then, know that the current opioid epidemic often starts with Percocet. It’s easy for a Percocet user to start using stronger and stronger painkillers.
How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?