How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

Overdose Risks From Acetaminophen and Oxycodone in Percocet

Percocet Label
Percocet Contains Oxycodone. NIH

Percocet contains the narcotic oxycodone, an opiate analgesic medication prescribed for moderate to severe pain. It also contains acetaminophen (paracetamol), a non-narcotic pain reliever and fever reducer. The extended release version of Percocet is prescribed for people who need pain relief around the clock for an extended period.

Knowing how long that Percocet remains in the system can help prevent accidental overdose by taking more of the medication too quickly and by having interactions with other medications you are taking.

Risks From Percocet in Your System

The risks of drug interactions and overdoses from Percocet come both from the oxycodone opiate and acetaminophen. An overdose of acetaminophen can result in irreversible liver damage and death. Often this can happen when a person doesn't realize they are taking acetaminophen in more than one medication.

Liver injury is possible when your dosage of acetaminophen exceeds 4000 milligrams per day. You will need to ensure you aren't taking paracetamol or acetaminophen in any other over-the-counter medications or prescriptions. Trade names include Tylenol and Panadol. Combination drugs like Percocet are now limited to no more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per tablet, capsule, or dosage unit to help prevent these dangerous overdoses.

The oxycodone in Percocet can produce serious or fatal depression of breathing, especially when first starting a prescription or increasing the dosage.

Using Percocet with alcohol, other opioids, benzodiazepines, or other central nervous system depressants can result in profound sedation, breathing suppression, coma, and death. The drug can also interact with certain antibiotics and antifungal agents known as CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 inhibitors, and it risks a dangerous increase in the level of oxycodone if they are used with Percocet or discontinued while using Percocet.

How Long Percocet Remains in Your System

It is important to avoid drug and alcohol interactions when there is any Percocet still in your system. Discuss any over-the-counter and prescription medications with your doctor so they can be monitored and adjusted.

The acetaminophen in Percocet has a half-life in the blood of 1.25 to 3 hours, but that varies depending on whether a person has poor liver function and whether they have taken an overdose. Most has passed out through the urine in 24 hours.

The half-life of oxycodone is about 3.2 hours in the bloodstream. It is metabolized in the body to noroxycodone and oxymorphone and passes out into the urine. When taking extended-release products, more drug is being released over a longer period and so it continues to be absorbed at different times. It can be seen in the urine for 1 to 3 days after a dose. If you take a urine drug screen for employment or other purposes while taking Percocet, it will be positive for opioids.

Percocet Overdose

Knowing how long that Percocet remains in the system can help prevent accidental overdose by taking more of the medication too quickly. If you suspect you have taken more than 4000 milligrams of acetaminophen in a day, contact your doctor immediately, even if you feel well and don't have any symptoms.

Crushing or cutting an extended-release capsule or tablet can result in a large dose all at once, which can produce an overdose. These are some of the symptoms of Percocet overdose:

If you suspect someone has overdosed on Percocet, call 9-1-1 immediately. First-responders should be able to revive the overdose victim by using Narcan if they are notified quickly.

Sources:

Hydrocodone/oxycodone overdose. MedlinePlus NIH. https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007285.htm.

Opiates. Mayo Medical Laboratories. http://www.mayomedicallaboratories.com/test-info/drug-book/opiates.html

Oxycodone. MedlinePlus NIH. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html

Oxycodone and Acetaminophen Tablets USP. Mallinckrodt. http://www2.mallinckrodt.com/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=1965

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