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.
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:
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.
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