Percocet is an opioid-based drug that consists of of oxycodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol is a well known acetaminophen). According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the US consumes over 80% of the oxycodone-containing medications produced worldwide. When taken under a physician’s supervision, Percocet can provide effective and safe pain relief. Side effects are generally mild, but an overdose of the drug can produce severe, even fatal, health consequences.
Percocet’s Mild Side Effects
The most common side effects of Percocet can usually be managed by changing the dosage or by taking an over-the-counter medication to relieve symptoms. Mild side effects include:
- Daytime drowsiness
- Rashes or itching
- Dry mouth
If side effects are too unpleasant, your doctor may need to reduce the amount of Percocet you’re taking, or consider an alternative medication.
Percocet’s Severe Side Effects
The oxycodone in Percocet is a central nervous system depressant that can cause more severe side effects. Severe side effects of Percocet include:
- Lower heart rate
- Slow breathing
- Lower blood pressure
- Overdose, and even death
These effects can be even more severe if Percocet is consumed with alcohol. The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) notes that in 2011, there were over 31,500 people treated in emergency rooms in the US because of taking oxycodone and alcohol. Because alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant, it intensifies the side effects of Percocet and increases the risk of a deadly overdose.
Another dangerous side effect of Percocet is the potential for misuse and abuse. Like other opiates, Percocet has a high potential for addiction, especially when the drug is taken incorrectly.
Additionally, the acetaminophen in Percocet can cause severe damage to the liver in high doses. People who take too much may be putting themselves at risk of liver failure.
Avoiding the Risks of Percocet
People who take Percocet for legitimate medical reasons and follow a doctor’s orders may never experience any serious side effects from this medication. To avoid serious health risks, do not take more of the medication than your physician has prescribed, or take the drug more frequently than your prescription indicates. Most importantly, avoid taking Percocet for non-medical reasons, accepting the drug from friends, or sharing your own pills with others.
If you or a loved one struggle with Percocet misuse, opiate addiction treatment programs are available that can help you overcome that dependency. Futures Recovery Healthcare provides individualized care for those who want to stop misusing prescription medications and lead healthy, drug-free lives. With a full array of evidence-based, therapeutic programs, our treatment team provides personalized care that is tailored to your needs. Call us today to see how we can help.