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Percocet

Generic Name: acetaminophen and oxycodone (a SEET a MIN oh fen and OX i KOE done)
Brand Names: Percocet

Medically reviewed by P. Thornton, DipPharm. Last updated on Dec 17, 2018.

What is Percocet?

Percocet contains a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of oxycodone.

Percocet is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.

Due of the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse, even at recommended doses, Percocet is only prescribed when treatment with non-opioid pain relieving medication has not been tolerated or has not provided adequate pain relief.

Important Information

You should not use Percocet if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.

This medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. Use only your prescribed dose, and swallow the pill whole to avoid a potentially fatal dose. Never share Percocet with another person.

MISUSE OF THIS MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.

Do not use Percocet if you have used a MAO inhibitor in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue injection, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine.

Do not take more Percocet than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death. Call your doctor at once if you have nausea, pain in your upper stomach, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).

Oxycodone may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has taken Percocet during pregnancy.

An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death. Call your doctor at once if you have nausea, pain in your upper stomach, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).

Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have skin redness or a rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling.

Fatal side effects can occur if you use Percocet with alcohol, or with other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use Percocet if you are allergic to acetaminophen or oxycodone, or if you have:

  • severe asthma or breathing problems; or

  • a blockage in your stomach or intestines.

To make sure Percocet is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have ever had:

  • liver disease;

  • a drug or alcohol addiction;

  • kidney disease;

  • a head injury or seizures;

  • urination problems; or

  • problems with your thyroid, pancreas, or gallbladder.

If you use Percocet while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on opioids may need medical treatment for several weeks.

Do not breast-feed. Oxycodone can pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby.

How should I take Percocet?

Take Percocet exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never take this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. An overdose can damage your liver or cause death. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.

Never share this medicine with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH. Keep the medicine in a place where others cannot get to it. Selling or giving away Percocet is against the law.

If you need surgery or medical tests, tell the doctor ahead of time that you are using Percocet.

You should not stop using Percocet suddenly. Follow your doctor's instructions about tapering your dose.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep track of your medicine. You should be aware if anyone is using it improperly or without a prescription.

Do not keep leftover opioid medication. Just one dose can cause death in someone using this medicine accidentally or improperly. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush the unused medicine down the toilet.

Percocet dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Pain:

Immediate-release:
Oxycodone 2.5 mg/acetaminophen 325 mg: 1 to 2 tablets every 6 hours
Maximum dose: 12 tablets in 24 hours

Oxycodone 5 mg/acetaminophen 325 mg: 1 tablet orally every 6 hours as needed for pain
Maximum dose: 12 tablets in 24 hours

Oxycodone 7.5 mg/acetaminophen 325 mg: 1 tablet orally every 6 hours as needed for pain
Maximum dose: 8 tablets in 24 hours

Oxycodone 10 mg/acetaminophen 325 mg: 1 tablet orally every 6 hours as needed for pain
Maximum dose: 6 tablets in 24 hours

Doses should be individually titrated to provide adequate analgesia while minimizing adverse reactions.
-Because of the risks of addiction, abuse and misuse, the lowest effective dose for the shortest duration consistent with individual patient treatment goals should be used.
-Monitor patients closely for respiratory depression within the first 24 to 72 hours of initiating therapy and following any increase in dose.
-Oxycodone/acetaminophen ER Tablets are not interchangeable with other oxycodone/acetaminophen products.

Use: For the management of acute pain severe enough to require an opioid analgesic and for which alternative treatments are inadequate.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since Percocet is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not use two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of Percocet can be fatal.

The first signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and confusion or weakness. Later symptoms may include pain in your upper stomach, dark urine, and yellowing of your skin or the whites of your eyes.

Overdose can also cause severe muscle weakness, pinpoint pupils, very slow breathing, extreme drowsiness, or coma.

What should I avoid while taking Percocet?

Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how Percocet will affect you. Dizziness or drowsiness can cause falls, accidents, or severe injuries.

Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.

Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine that may contain acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as APAP). Taking certain medications together can lead to a fatal overdose.

Percocet side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Percocet: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Percocet can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.

In rare cases, acetaminophen may cause a severe skin reaction that can be fatal. This could occur even if you have taken acetaminophen in the past and had no reaction. Stop taking this medicine and call your doctor right away if you have skin redness or a rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling.

Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing;

  • a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;

  • weakness, tiredness, fever, unusual bruising or bleeding;

  • confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;

  • problems with urination;

  • liver problems - nausea, upper stomach pain, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or

  • low cortisol levels - nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Serious side effects may be more likely in older adults and those who are overweight, malnourished, or debilitated.

Long-term use of opioid medication may affect fertility (ability to have children) in men or women. It is not known whether opioid effects on fertility are permanent.

Common Percocet side effects include:

  • dizziness, drowsiness, feeling tired;

  • feelings of extreme happiness or sadness;

  • nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;

  • constipation; or

  • headache.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect Percocet?

You may have breathing problems or withdrawal symptoms if you start or stop taking certain other medicines. Tell your doctor if you also use an antibiotic, antifungal medication, heart or blood pressure medication, seizure medication, or medicine to treat HIV or hepatitis C.

Opioid medication can interact with many other drugs and cause dangerous side effects or death. Be sure your doctor knows if you also use:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may affect Percocet, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed here.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use Percocet only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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