Medically reviewed by Kaci Durbin, MD. Last updated on March 3, 2021.
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.
You should not use Percocet if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other opioid medications. Do not use Percocet if you have used a MAO Inhibiter in the past 14 days, such as isocarboxazid, linezolid, phenelzine, rasagiline, selegiline, or tranylcypromine, or have received a methylene blue injection.
Oxycodone 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 take more Percocet than is recommended. An overdose of oxycodone or acetaminophen (both present in Percocet) can 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 (present in Percocet) may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has taken Percocet during pregnancy.
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.
You should not use Percocet if you have severe asthma or breathing problems, or a blockage in your stomach or intestines.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Percocet if you are allergic to any of its components including 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:
breathing problems, sleep apnea;
a drug or alcohol addiction;
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.
If you become pregnant while taking oxycodone, do not stop your medication suddenly without talking to your doctor. You may need to decrease your medicine gradually.
Do not breastfeed. Oxycodone can pass into breast milk and cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death in a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding before using oxycodone.
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 you feel an increased urge to use more of this medicine.
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.
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 this medicine can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sweating, severe drowsiness, pinpoint pupils, slow breathing, or no breathing.
Your doctor may recommend you get naloxone (a medicine to reverse an opioid overdose) and keep it with you at all times. A person caring for you can give the naloxone if you stop breathing or don't wake up. Your caregiver must still get emergency medical help and may need to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on you while waiting for help to arrive.
Anyone can buy naloxone from a pharmacy or local health department. Make sure any person caring for you knows where you keep naloxone and how to use it.
What to avoid
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.
In rare cases, acetaminophen may cause a severe skin reaction that can be fatal. This could occur even if you have taken acetaminophen or Tylenol 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.
Oxycodone can slow or stop your breathing, and death may occur. A person caring for you should give naloxone and/or seek emergency medical attention if you have slow breathing with long pauses, blue colored lips, or if you are hard to wake up.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
noisy breathing, sighing, shallow breathing, breathing that stops during sleep;
slow heartbeat or week pulse;
cold, clammy skin;
a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
weakness, tiredness, fever, unusual bruising or bleeding;
confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;
problems with urination;
signs of liver problems including nausea, upper stomach pain, tiredness, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes);
nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness; or
high levels of serotonin in the body - agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea.
Serious breathing problems may be more likely in older adults and in those who are debilitated or have wasting syndrome or chronic breathing disorders.
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;
constipation, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain;
itching, red eyes, or flushing;
feelings of extreme happiness or sadness; or
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:
cold or allergy medicines, bronchodilator asthma/COPD medication, or a diuretic ("water pill");
other opioids - opioid pain medicine or prescription cough medicine;
drugs that make you sleepy or slow your breathing - a sleeping pill, muscle relaxer, medicine to treat mood disorders or mental illness;
Frequently asked questions
More about Percocet (acetaminophen / oxycodone)
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- During Pregnancy
- Dosage Information
- Patient Tips
- Drug Images
- Drug Interactions
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- Support Group
- Pricing & Coupons
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- 223 Reviews
- Drug class: narcotic analgesic combinations
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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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