Percocet is a prescription, brand-name pain reliever. Percocet treats pain ranging from moderate to moderately severe, and it’s a combination of an opioid component and acetaminophen. The opioid in Percocet is oxycodone. Acetaminophen is an over-the-counter pain reliever found in brand name medications like Tylenol.
As with other opioids, Percocet is a controlled substance, only available by prescription. There are various dosages, ranging from formulations with 2.5 to 10 mg of oxycodone in a dose, and 325 mg of acetaminophen.
So how long does Percocet stay in your system? The specific length of time can vary depending on:
- The dosage used
- How often someone uses Percocet
- Underlying health
- Other substances used simultaneously
- Kidney and liver function
- Body fat percentage
How Percocet Works
How does Percocet work? When someone uses Percocet, the oxycodone it contains affects the central nervous system. Specifically, opioids like oxycodone enter the brain and bind to opioid receptors. The effects of the process change a person’s perception of pain and their emotional response to pain.
Acetaminophen isn’t fully understood in terms of how it works. Doctors believe it blocks certain chemicals in the body that cause pain.
Side effects of Percocet use include:
- Confused thinking
What Is the Half-Life of Percocet?
Percocet half-life is a measure that’s used to determine how long it will stay in the system before it’s eliminated. Specifically, the half-life is how long it takes for half a dose of a drug to leave the system. Several half-lives are required for a drug to leave someone’s system entirely.
There are two half-lives to consider with Percocet. One is the oxycodone, and one is the acetaminophen. The average half-life of an immediate-release form of oxycodone is around 3.2 hours in the blood. Extended-release oxycodone has a half-life of 4.5 hours on average.
Acetaminophen has a half-life in the blood of 1.25 to 3 hours. For most people, a dose of acetaminophen will leave their system within 24 hours.
How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your Urine?
Since Percocet contains an opioid, it may be detected in drug tests. Percocet, or at least the oxycodone it contains, will show up in a blood test for up to 24 hours after someone takes a dose. For some people, it may leave the system sooner, but for others, the process may take longer.
So, how long does Percocet stay in your urine? In a urine screening, Percocet may show up for longer. Percocet may stay in urine for anywhere from 3 to 4 days following the latest use. Percocet can also show up in a saliva test for 1 to 4 days, and in a hair follicle test for up to 90 days after the last dose is taken.
There are a couple of key reasons it’s important to understand how long Percocet stays in your system, aside from a drug screening. First, oxycodone can cause a fatal overdose if too much is used in a short period. Opioids like oxycodone cause respiratory depression. If someone takes a dose too close to a dose they’ve already taken, it can overwhelm their central nervous system and cause dangerous or deadly respiratory depression.
In addition to the oxycodone, acetaminophen is a commonly used and generally safe medication, but if someone takes too much, it can cause liver damage or acute liver failure. More than 4000 mg of acetaminophen shouldn’t be taken in 24 hours, but for some people even less can cause harmful side effects.
Find Help for with Percocet Addiction
If you or a loved one struggle with Percocet misuse, contact The Recovery Village Ridgefield to speak to a representative and learn about opioid detox and addiction treatment programs. You deserve a healthier future, call today.
Buddy T. “How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?” Verywell Mind, September 26, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.
Kounang, Naida and Bender, Maddie. “What is Percocet? Drug facts, side effects, abuse and more.” CNN, July 12, 2018. Accessed March 26, 2019.