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Percocet Patient Tips

How it works

Percocet combines acetaminophen and oxycodone, two different pain-relief medicines with two different mechanisms of action. Acetaminophen works by blocking the effects of a specific enzyme, know as cyclo-oxygenase (COX). Oxycodone binds to specific receptors called opioid receptors that block pain signals on their way to the brain.


Effective for the management of severe pain unresponsive to other treatment options.


If you are between the ages of 18 and 60, take no other medication or have no other medical conditions, side effects you are more likely to experience include:

  • May cause nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and headache (oxycodone component).
  • May impair reaction skills and affect a person's ability to drive or operate machinery (oxycodone component). Avoid alcohol.
  • Rarely, serious, life-threatening, breathing problems (oxycodone component).
  • Rarely, liver failure especially at dosages greater than 4000mg/day (acetaminophen component).
  • Avoid taking extra acetaminophen while taking Percocet.
  • Risk of addiction, dependence, and withdrawal reactions (oxycodone component). Also risk of abuse.

Notes: In general, seniors or children, people with certain medical conditions (such as liver or kidney problems, heart disease, diabetes, seizures) or people who take other medications are more at risk of developing a wider range of side effects. For a complete list of all side effects, click here.

Bottom Line

Percocet is an effective combination pain relieving medicine; however, use is limited by the dependence and addiction potential of the oxycodone component.


  • Tell your doctor if you experience any breathing difficulties, wheezing, itching, or facial swelling.
  • Tell your doctor if you think you have become addicted to Percocet.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose.
  • Be careful not to double on on other medicines containing similar ingredients (for example, acetaminophen is present in some cough and cold remedies).

Response and Effectiveness

  • Maximum effect of oxycodone component reached in 1.8 hours and duration of activity lasts for 3-4 hours. Acetaminophen effect reached within 30-60 minutes of administration and analgesic effect lasts around 3 to 4 hours.


Percocet (oxycodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen) [package insert]. Revised 07/2015. Endo Pharmaceuticals. Accessed 02/2016

  • 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.

  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that this information is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. This drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. It is an informational resource designed as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of this information. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2017 Revision Date: 2016-02-19 00:00:00