Percocet’s half-life is about 3.5 hours, which means this is the amount of time needed for half a dose of the drug to be purged from a person’s system. It takes an average of about 19 hours to eliminate Percocet from the system completely.
This period can be more prolonged, however, for those who are chronic, excessive users, as oxycodone will have been absorbed by fatty tissues if there is more in the person’s system than the liver can process. It takes longer for traces of the drug in these tissues to be eliminated than that which remains in bodily fluids.
Percocet is a prescription painkiller that includes a combination of the opioid oxycodone and the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (i.e., Tylenol). It’s indicated to treat acute moderate to severe pain and is administered in tablet form.
Importantly, many drug tests can also detect metabolites that are produced when the liver breaks down opioids, and these can remain in a person’s body for far longer than the oxycodone does itself.
Percocet can be found in the blood for about 24 hours but may be identified in a urine screen between 2-48 hours after the last dose. Hair analysis is the longest-term test, which can find oxycodone in follicles for 90 days.
Blood tests are less often used because they are invasive, and hair follicle tests are expensive. Instead, urine tests are the most frequently used by law enforcement, addiction treatment centers, and employers to check for the presence of oxycodone or other opioids.
The Risks of Percocet Abuse
The abuse of prescription painkillers has been steadily increasing due to widespread availability and the mistaken belief that they are less risky to abuse than illicit substances. Prescription opioids such as oxycodone, however, can be just as addictive as illegal drugs and also come with the potential for overdose.
Repeated oxycodone use can produce tolerance, which means that those who are regularly using Percocet will need increasingly higher doses to achieve the sought-after effects. This pattern of usage can rapidly result in addiction and other adverse health problems.
Opioid abuse can lead to long-term harm to the body, and the development of tolerance puts users at a heightened risk of overdose. Also, when used in excessive amounts, the acetaminophen in Percocet can damage the liver and can lead to inflammation, hepatitis, scarring, and permanent injury. Persons suffering from addiction are urged to seek professional treatment services as soon as a problem is suspected to avoid severe health risks and overdose.
Why Addiction Occurs
When oxycodone is ingested, it causes an excessive amount of dopamine to be released. Dopamine is a chemical messenger that induces feelings of reward and euphoria. When oxycodone is used regularly, both tolerance and dependence can develop.
Dependence occurs over time as the brain becomes accustomed to the repeated presence of a certain substance, and can no longer function normally without it. When a person becomes dependent on a drug or alcohol, he or she will encounter unpleasant and often painful withdrawal symptoms upon an attempt to discontinue use. These symptoms are often a primary reason why people who try to quit ultimately relapse.
As noted, tolerance also develops due to repeated exposure, and the brain and body diminish the effects of the substance, often compelling the user to use more of it to get high or even to relieve pain.
Symptoms of Percocet Addiction
Percocet addiction has been associated with several side effects, including the following:
- Mood swings
- Sleep disturbances
- Low blood pressure
- Slowed respiration
- Impaired coordination
Those who are addicted to Percocet or other opioids should undergo medical detox in a licensed addiction treatment center that offers around-the-clock supervision and support.
Percocet withdrawal symptoms may include the following:
- Excessive yawning
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Irritability and anxiety
- Tremors and shakiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Elevated heart rate
- Muscle aches and pains
Treatment for Percocet Addiction
Persons who are addicted to Percocet, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol, face a high risk of incurring significant health consequences or experiencing a life-threatening overdose. For this reason, we urge these individuals to seek professional medical and mental health treatment to help them detox from drugs and develop the skills needed to maintain long-term sobriety.
Just Believe Recovery offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that features therapies and treatments clinically proven to be effective, if not essential, for the process of recovery. Our caring staff are dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the tools, education, and support they need to reclaim their lives, free from active addiction.
Please contact us today and discover how we can help you restore your health, sanity, and well-being and foster the fulfilling and happy life you deserve!