Tag Archives: percocet

Oxycodone vs Percocet

Oxycodone and Percocet are two of the most common prescription opioid painkillers on the market. While they are not necessarily synonymous, they are closely related. 

Oxycodone is a generic name for an opioid drug that appears under various brand names (e.g. OxyContin). Percocet is a brand name for a drug made up of a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is most often recognized by the brand name Tylenol. 

Both drugs have legal and medical application as pain relievers. However, easy access and cheap (illegal) production combined with their high addictive potential make both Percocet and oxycodone a common culprit in substance abuse cases. 

Oxycodone and Percocet – or “percs,” as the pills are sometimes called – overlap in some areas, but the chemical make-up and symptoms of each make their applications slightly different.  

Chemical Overview of Oxycodone vs Percocet

Both Percocet and oxycodone bind to opioid receptors in the brain. This attachment affects the central nervous system (CNS), essentially blocking pain. 

You may have heard the terms “opiate” and “opioid” used interchangeably. The distinction isn’t always important, but it’s worth noting that “opiates” refer to natural opioids such as heroin, morphine and codeine, while “opioids” refer to all natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids.

Opioids cause certain receptors to activate artificially, leading to the pain-numbing effect that opioids are recognized and used for.

Chemistry In the Brain

The end result of almost any opioid is the same: pain suppression.

One specific kind of receptor in the brain, when activated, produces the effects that opioids are known for: the mu opioid peptide receptor (MOP), in its natural state, functions to manage the body’s response to pain.  

Opioids cause the MOP receptors to activate artificially in order to achieve the pain-numbing effect that opioids are prescribed for.

Half Life of Oxycodone vs Percocet

The half life of an opioid refers to the amount of time it takes for an average patient’s body to eliminate half of a dose. If the dose size is 20mg and the half life of the opioid is 5 hours, then there will be around 10mg of the substance in the patient’s system after 5 hours. 

The half life of opioids varies largely from one drug to the next. Length of time for an opioid half-life can be anywhere from 40 minutes to two and a half days. 

Oxycodone can take effect as quickly as one hour after dosage, and reduces by half in about 4 hours. During this time, it binds to MOP receptors and numbs the sensation of pain by reducing communication between cells.

Whether a pain relieving drug is “short-acting” vs “long-acting” and how it is administered are two of the main factors that determine how long opioids remain in a person’s system. 

Abuse Potential

In addition to pain relief, users often describe experiencing a sense of “euphoria” as a side effect of taking opioids. 

This “numbing” or “carefree” feeling often motivates individuals to take oxycodone long after the pain that warranted the prescription is gone

Compared to other euphoria-producing substances, oxycodone and Percocet are both less expensive and relatively easy to obtain. Since the body can build a tolerance to opioids quickly, people also may want to continue taking them to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. 

If a person is experiencing withdrawals, this is a sign that the body has begun to form chemical dependence upon opioids. Dependence forms even more quickly in individuals who abuse opioids, increasing the severity of withdrawals, and the likelihood they will slip into a full-blown addiction. 

Oxycodone vs Percocet Applications 

Doctors prescribe oxycodone most frequently in cases of ongoing moderate-to-severe pain, such as pain associated with cancer.

Percocet can also address this type of pain, but has the added benefit of treating conditions associated with fever. It can also be used to treat intense, flaring pain from a chronic condition when a long-acting pain drug doesn’t provide enough relief.

Oxycodone is not particularly strong when compared to the general scale of opioid strength, but is still a potent painkiller.

Oxycodone vs Percocet Side Effects

Dizziness and feelings of euphoria are more closely associated with oxycodone than with Percocet. Both drugs, however, share most of their side effects in common, such as:

  • feeling relaxed and calm
  • unusual drowsiness or sleepiness
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • motor skill impairment

Serious, but less common side effects include:

  • painful urination
  • vomiting blood
  • skin rash
  • itching
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chills

Because of the presence of acetaminophen, Percocet can cause side effects such as upper abdominal pain, black or tarry stools, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Additionally, long-term use of Percocet is not recommended both due to the possibility of opioid addiction as well as liver damage from the acetaminophen. 

Breaking Oxycodone and Percocet Addiction

Unfortunately, even prescriptions like oxycodone and Percocet come with a risk of abuse. If you find you require the use of opioids to treat pain, it is important to communicate with your doctor about how to properly take it to avoid addiction. 

If you find you or a loved one already exhibits signs of a chemical dependency, there is still hope. Addiction doesn’t have to take over their life. Contact us today to find out how we can help you re-learn to live life free from substance abuse.

Percocet Addiction

Opioid drug addiction and abuse has been on the rise in the US for some years now and is responsible for more deaths than motor accidents. Opioids also account for a majority of overdoses and have become a major problem in the US. Opioid addiction is a very concerning issue which many people do not fully understand. However better knowledge of the effects and dangers of drugs may help prevent users from falling victim to the drug. It is important to recognize Percocet addiction and take it seriously.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name for the combination of oxycodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen (commonly seen in brand name Tylenol). The acetaminophen present in Percocet helps boost the effectiveness and potency of oxycodone. Percocet is prescribed to individuals who are dealing with moderate to severe pain and can also be prescribed to those who struggle with chronic pain. 

Percocet can have some severe side effects even if taken responsibly, such as:

  • Hypothermia
  • Vomiting
  • Visual disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased thirst
  • Hypo-tension or hypertension
  • Slowed/repressive breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
percocet addiction

Why are opioids so dangerous?

Opioids relieve pain by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain which activates them. These receptors are a part of a system of proteins known as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). They work great as painkillers but can be very dangerous given their addictive nature. When opioids are taken, most people will feel a slight euphoric high. It will calm them down and make them feel relaxed. The issue is that users will build a tolerance to opioids.

percocet addiction

A tolerance is when your body essentially gets accustomed to the chemical and will develop a resistance to its effects- prompting users to take more for the drug to be useful. If someone is abusing this drug just to achieve a high, they run the risk of developing a tolerance and continually increasing their dosage to achieve the same high. At a certain point, the drug will become overpowering and cause an overdose. Most overdoses will cause the complete suppression of the central nervous system which in turn causes critical bodily functions such as breathing to completely stop.

Abuse vs Addiction: What is an addiction?

In the world of drug use, abuse and addiction can mean different things and it is important to understand the differences as it can determine what kind of treatment you need.

 Abuse

Abuse is the misuse of any drug. Instances of abuse include:

  • Taking more than the prescribed amount of a drug
  • Taking someone else’s prescriptions
  • Using non prescribed drugs to alleviate stress or experience a euphoric high

Taking any drug in a manner inconsistent with its labeling can be considered abuse. However, you are usually able to stop your habits relatively easily which is one of the key differences between abuse and addiction.

Addiction

An addiction is considered to be a chronic disease which is characterized by compulsive drug use and the inability to stop using even when the negative effects are known. Given that addiction is a chronic disease, it is common to see former addicts relapse. In fact, addiction has similar relapse rates as other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes.

Percocet addiction is no different. Users who have become dependent on the opioid will find it difficult to effectively become sober- but that does not mean it is not possible. 

percocet addiction

How long does Percocet stay in your system?

Percocet has a half-life of around 3.5 hours. A substance’s half-life will determine how long it takes for the substance to reduce to half of the taken dose to eliminate from your system. However, the substances that make up Percocet and that are unique to the drug (also known as metabolites) can have a longer half-life. It takes around 19 hours for the drug to leave your system. However, it is possible to detect for some time after that. 

Generally, it is possible to detect Percocet in your system via:

  • Saliva 1-4 days after ingestion
  • Urine 3-4 days after ingestion
  • Hair upto 90 days after ingestion

Keep in mind that these figures are for Oxycodone and by extension all opioids. There are a lot of other factors which may affect how long Percocet can be detected in your body such your weight, usage history and metabolism. 

Percocet Addiction Help and Treatment

As previously mentioned, addiction is a chronic disease which has a high potential for relapse. Therefore it is always recommended that anyone seeking treatment do so under the supervision of a professional who is trained to assist individuals who are on the road to recovery. Further, with the risk of withdrawals, it is never recommended that you try and go ‘cold turkey’ on your own. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please contact us today so we may begin your path to a sober life, together.