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Percocet Withdrawal

Percocet contains oxycodone, which is an opioid that can cause chemical dependence and withdrawal, especially when it’s abused. Percocet withdrawal is similar to withdrawal symptoms for other opioids and may present a challenging barrier to sobriety for many people who are dependent on the medication. 

When prescription opioids are taken as directed, they are less likely to cause issues like dependence and addiction. However, abusing Percocet can lead to dependence, addiction, and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, people misuse prescription opioid medications by taking them in a way that isn’t prescribed. Taking someone else’s prescription, and taking the medicines in high doses to get high also count as misuse.

Percocet can affect the whole body, and withdrawal can come with whole-body symptoms. It’s often compared to the flu because withdrawal can cause very similar symptoms. Percocet withdrawal isn’t deadly in most cases, but it can be very uncomfortable, preventing people from reaching sobriety without help.  

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms 

The oxycodone in Percocet binds with opioid receptors all over your body. These receptors bind with your naturally occurring endorphins that serve to manage your body’s pain response. Oxycodone is more potent and can stop pain more effectively. However, it can cause euphoria that can lead to addiction.

If your body starts to adapt to the drug after long-term use, you may also become dependent. When you stop taking the drug, you may feel uncomfortable symptoms all over the body that mimic a bad case of the flu. Nausea, sweating, and body aches are common. Percocet withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Excessive yawning
  • Watery eyes
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • High temperature
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • General discomfort
  • Restlessness
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Anxiety 
  • Depression

Stages of the Percocet Withdrawal Timeline

  • First 24 hours: Percocet is effective for about three to six hours before its effects start to wear off. After that, withdrawal symptoms may appear within 12 to 24 hours. If you were used to a high dose or took the drug for a long time, you may experience your first symptoms sooner. Early withdrawal may feel like you are coming down with a cold and may also include yawning and watery eyes.
  • 5 days: Your symptoms will get worse until they reach their peak within the first five days. Peak symptoms are the most unpleasant and may include vomiting, nausea, and fever. It’s important to avoid dehydration because of quick fluid loss during this period.
  • 7 days: Your condition should improve by the end of the first week. Peak symptoms are the worst, but your symptoms should start to ease up after that. Severe physical symptoms, such as vomiting and fever, often go away first.
  • 10 days: Some symptoms can last longer than your acute withdrawal phase. Symptoms like anxiety and depression may bother you for two weeks before subsiding. In some cases, symptoms can linger indefinitely and may need treatment to resolve. Cravings may come and go for a long time, but addiction treatment can help you learn to cope with them without relapse. 

Should I Detox?

Medical detox isn’t necessary for everyone who’s going through addiction treatment. Opioid medications like Percocet aren’t known to have a high risk for deadly withdrawal symptoms. However, withdrawal can be unpleasant enough to prevent sobriety without help. 

In rare cases, opioid withdrawal can also cause dehydration, which can be deadly if it’s not treated. If you are struggling to keep fluids down, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Medical detox can help people who need 24-hour medical treatment for withdrawal symptoms or other medical complications alongside withdrawal.

Sources

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016, February). 8: Medical detoxification. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, June). Prescription Opioids. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/prescription-opioids

RxList. (2018, October 9). Percocet (Oxycodone and Acetaminophen): Side Effects, Interactions, Warning, Dosage & Uses. Retrieved from https://www.rxlist.com/percocet-drug.htm

Scheve, T. (2019, July 25). What are endorphins? Retrieved from https://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/endorphins.htm

U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2019, October 15). Oxycodone: MedlinePlus Drug Information. Retrieved from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html

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