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Percocet is a combination of oxycodone, and acetaminophen, making this prescription drug in a family of drugs known as opioids. Read more to learn about Percocet side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and addiction treatment.

By We Level Up NJ Treatment Center | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: March 3, 2023

Percocet Side Effects

What are the side effects of Percocet? Percocet is a mixture of oxycodone, and acetaminophen (paracetamol), making this prescription drug in a family of drugs known as opioids. They’re commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain and work by blocking the pain receptors sent to your brain. The most frequent minor side effects of Percocets include nausea, constipation, headache, dizziness and dry mouth.

Long-term abuse of Percocet has many negative side effects. Among them are serious psychological problems that can include:

  • Depression: Studies found taking opioids for ninety days or more profoundly increases your chances of developing major depression disorder. One research reported anyone taking opioids such as Percocet for 90 to 180 days has a 25% increased risk. Those taking opioids more than 180 days were 53% more likely to develop depression.
  • Paranoia: These thoughts and feelings are linked to a perceived threat, persecution, or conspiracy. Opioid users experience extreme fear and anxiety due to the changes Percocet causes in the brain.
  • Confusion: Oxycodone which is the opioid contained in Percocet is a very powerful opioid. Abused or overused, it clouds your mind as it floods your brain’s opiate receptors. As a result, thoughts are unclear and confusion sets in, making it difficult to put coherent thoughts together or follow logical processes.
  • Insomnia: Long-term use of this prescription drug makes it hard to sleep. Since getting the right amount of sleep is important to your overall well-being, this affects several other aspects of your health. Moreover, a lack of sleep worsens other symptoms like depression and anxiety, resulting in a downward spiral.
  • Hallucinations: These vary greatly from individual to individual. You might see lights, colors or other things that aren’t really there, or you may hear non-existent sounds. It’s also possible to smell things or feel things that aren’t there, such as an itching sensation… like things are crawling on your skin.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name for a painkiller that contains oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a powerful opioid, and acetaminophen is the active ingredient in Tylenol. Opioids such as Percocet activate the brain’s reward center. It is considered a psychoactive drug. So, a person can become addicted to the euphoric Percocet side effects (NIH) [1]. A person who does not receive effective care for an addiction to this painkiller can suffer many negative Percocet side effects and consequences.

Percocet, also known as “White Collar Heroin,” is a controlled substance. It is classified by the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) [2} as a Schedule II substance which means it has a high potential for abuse and addiction, but it still has some accepted medical uses. In large dosages, someone who abuses Percocet feels a similar euphoria or “high” as those who abuse heroin, which is why Percocet is so addicting.

Can you snort Percocet? Three typical methods of Percocet abuse include snorting, smoking, and injecting the drug—all are considered substance abuse.
Can you snort Percocet? Three typical methods of Percocet abuse include snorting, smoking, and injecting the drug—all are considered substance abuse.
Serious Percocet side effects may be induced if used improperly, and it is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.
Serious “Percocets side effects” may be induced if used improperly, and it is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.

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Percocet Drug Facts


Percocet, which is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen, is a semi-synthetic narcotic analgesic
and historically has been a popular drug of abuse among the narcotic-abusing population.


Oxycodone is synthesized from thebaine, a constituent of the poppy plant.

Common Street Names

  • Hillbilly Heroin
  • Kicker
  • OC
  • Ox
  • Roxy
  • Perc
  • Oxy

What does Percocet look like?

Oxycodone is marketed alone as OxyContin® in 10, 20, 40, and 80 mg extended-release tablets and other immediate-release capsules like 5 mg OxyIR. It is also sold with aspirin, such as Percodan®, or acetaminophen, such as Roxicet.

Percocet Abuse

Oxycodone is abused orally or intravenously. The tablets are crushed and sniffed or dissolved in water and injected. Others heat a tablet placed on a piece of foil and then inhale the vapors.

Effects of Percocet

  1. Brain

Euphoria and feelings of relaxation are the most common effects of oxycodone on the brain, which explains its high potential for abuse.

2. Body

Physiological effects of oxycodone include:

  • Pain relief, sedation, respiratory depression, constipation, papillary constriction, and cough suppression.
  • Extended or chronic use of oxycodone-containing acetaminophen may cause severe liver damage.

Percocet Overdose Symptoms

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Muscles weakness
  • Confusion
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Shallow breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Fainting
  • Coma

Oxycodone products are in Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.

Percocet Abuse Statistics

In 2020, drug-related overdoses involving illegal drugs and prescription opioids claimed the lives of nearly 92,000 people in the U.S. 10.7% of American adults 20 and older used one or more prescription painkillers (opioid or nonopioid) in the previous 30 days between 2015 and 2018. 5.7% of adult Americans from 2015 to 2018 consumed one or more prescription opioids.

According to Percocet statistics, addiction to this prescription opioid pain reliever is a severe problem, even in individuals who start using the medication for therapeutic reasons. A treatment facility or medical expert can handle Percocet detoxification in a way that enables a person to avoid several negative sensations.


In 2020, drug-related overdoses involving illegal drugs and prescription opioids claimed the lives of nearly 92,000 people in the U.S.

Source: NIDA


10.7% of American adults 20 and older used one or more prescription painkillers (opioid or nonopioid) in the previous 30 days between 2015 and 2018.

Source: CDC


5.7% of adult Americans from 2015 to 2018 consumed one or more prescription opioids.

Source: CDC

Percocet Abuse and Addiction

Percocet is a powerful narcotic pain medication, usually prescribed for intense, short-term pain felt after trauma or surgery. It is also sometimes used for cases with severe chronic pain. This prescription drug is often seen as a safer way to get high because it is legal to purchase (it is available with a prescription).

If it’s taken largely for long periods of time, the body and brain can grow dependent on it. As a result, when someone stops taking the drug, the body needs time to recover. This causes withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal from this drug can happen any time long-term use is stopped or cut back. It can be hard living with Percocet addiction. Coping with such an addiction can be life-consuming. Also, those who are addicted can lose themselves to constantly seeking their drug, “doctor shopping,” and living in fear.

Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Abuse and Addiction

The symptoms of Percocet abuse and addiction will vary among people based upon the length of time the person has been misusing the prescription drug, the amount of the drugs taken, as well as other drugs that are combined with Percocet. The most common symptoms of Percocet abuse and addiction include:

Physical Symptoms

  • Fatigue
  • Dry mouth
  • Decreased respiration rate
  • Stomach pain
  • Damage to vital organs
  • Constriction of pupils
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Failure of vital organs
  • Impotence
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Psychological Symptoms

  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Periods of “blacking out”
  • Paranoia
  • Other substance abuse
  • Worsening of mental health disorders

Mood Symptoms

  • Rapture
  • Irritation
  • Sense of emotional well-being
  • Feeling carefree
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritation
  • Nervousness

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Agitation
  • Violence
  • Frequent trips to the emergency room for various pain complaints
  • Faking illnesses to receive Percocet prescription
  • “Doctor shopping” or going to multiple doctors to obtain greater quantities of Percocet
  • Polydrug abuse
  • Forging prescriptions for Percocet
  • Withdrawing socially from friends and loved ones
  • Cessation of once-pleasurable activities
  • Long shirts in the summer to cover track marks
  • Buying Percocet on the internet
  • Robberies
  • Loss of appetite

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Percocet Side Effects: Abuse and Addiction

Because Percocet is usually prescribed on a short-term basis, someone addicted to this drug may eventually resort to illegal means to feed their addiction. Percocet addiction can result in risky behavior, including:

  • Seeking out drug dealers
  • Using a fake prescription
  • Stealing
  • Seeing multiple doctors or “doctor shopping”

Due to the Oxycodone in Percocet, there are numerous potential side effect of Percocet tied to abuse of the drug. The most commonly recorded physical Percocet side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headache
  • Memory loss
  • Dizziness

Snorting Percocet

Can you snort Percocets? When a person snort Percocet, rapid absorption of the drug produces a substantial release of dopamine, which then produce a euphoric “high” and activates the drug’s potential for addiction. Over time, tolerance and dependency can develop from snorting Percocets. When a user becomes dependent on Percocet, highly unpleasant withdrawal effects will manifest if the individual attempts to cut back or quit abruptly.

Do people snort Percocet? Percocet is already an extremely potent drug, and snorting Percocet it makes it that much stronger. Why do people snort Percocet? Percocet is also known to increase euphoria. This heroin-like high is why more and more individuals are becoming dependent or abusing the prescription drug. And while snorting Percocet provides a faster, more intense high, it also results in a more dangerous one.

What happens if you snort Percocet? There are many short- and long-term side effects from snorting Percocet, in which some more dangerous and life-threatening than others. Snorting Percocet can be unpredictable and even deadly. This is because drugs, like Percocet, are currently being made on the black market, often cut with fentanyl and carfentanyl.

Mixing Percocet with other Drugs (Polydrug Abuse)

Many people who are struggling with Percocet addiction can also be abusing other substances as well. This is known as polydrug abuse. This intensifies the effects of any individual drug and makes them more dangerous.  

Mixing Percocet and Alcohol 

Alcohol can intensify the Percocet side effects, but taking Percocet and alcohol together makes it more likely that the user will experience overdose and stop breathing. Alcohol tolerance is decreased by the presence of painkillers such as Percocet. Someone combining Percocet and alcohol may merely seem extremely drunk. However, the combination is actually much more dangerous because both amplify each other’s effects, not to mention both are addictive and dangerous for the liver. 

Signs of Concurrent Percocet and Alcohol Abuse

  • Feeling of euphoria
  • Numbness
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Small pupils
  • Shallow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Constant itching
  • Excessive sweat
  • Cold skin
  • Dry mouth

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Simultaneous Use of Alcohol and Percocet Side Effects 

The main difference between combining Percocet and alcohol and combining alcohol with other painkillers is the huge possibility of severe liver damage. The FDA [3] has issued a warning to pharmaceutical companies, limiting the amount of acetaminophen to be mixed into opioid painkillers.  

Acetaminophen (which is an active ingredient of Percocet) causes more than 400 deaths per year due to its effects on the liver. All painkillers weigh heavily on the liver, and that those taking Percocet are best advised to avoid alcohol completely due to the risk of liver damage. 

The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) [4] says that the liver, along with the heart, brain, and pancreas, are all organs negatively affected by alcohol.

With continued use, a person will develop a tolerance to alcohol and painkillers and form addiction. Those with a history of alcohol abuse are more likely to develop a dependence on opioid painkillers. Combining alcohol with Percocet increases the possibility of overdose.

Simultaneous use of alcohol and Percocet side effects  include:

  • Constipation
  • Depressed respiratory system
  • Inability to focus thoughts
  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver failure
  • Heart attack
  • Colon cancer
  • Coma
  • Death 

Mixing Percocet (Opioids) and Meth (Stimulants) – Speedballing

Some opt to take Percocet to battle the unpleasant effects of stimulants such as cocaine and crystal meth. This is commonly known as “speedball.” Typically a speedball involves combining an opioid such as Heroin, Fentanyl, or Percocet (depressants) and stimulants such as cocaine, Adderall, or methamphetamine. The simultaneous use of depressants and stimulants are usually injected but can be used intranasally and in other ways. By mixing an opioid and a stimulant, users experience an extreme rush while expecting to reduce the negative effects of both drugs.

Abusing these powerful drugs through their combination can affect someone’s health, increase risky behaviors, and damage or end relationships. Both opioids and stimulants are common, addictive, and destructive. Once a person develops tolerance to a drug, they may be more likely to combine drugs to achieve the desired effects. While abusing two drugs at once will almost always guarantee some type of high, it also increases the risks of negative side effects.

Taking opioids such as Heroin, Fentanyl, and Percocet with stimulants such as crystal meth, cocaine, and Adderall can cause negative side effects typically linked with the abuse of either one individually, such as a state of incoherence, general confusion, blurred vision, stupor, paranoia, drowsiness, and mental impairment because of lack of sleep. In addition, the combination of both drugs can also result in uncontrolled and uncoordinated motor skills and the risk of death from a heart attack, stroke, aneurysm, or respiratory failure.

Percocet Side Effects. As with any Opioid addiction, treating a Percocet addiction can be a challenge. But there are many options available. Percocet rehabilitation is similar to that for other prescription Opiates, such as OxyContin or Morphine.
As with any Opioid addiction, treating a Percocet addiction can be a challenge. But there are many options available. Percocet rehabilitation is similar to that for other prescription Opiates, such as OxyContin or Morphine.

Simultaneous Use of Stimulants and Percocet Side Effects

The negative effects of stimulants include high blood pressure, anxiety, and strong or irregular heartbeat, while the negative effects of depressants like opioids include drowsiness and suppression of breathing. Meth, cocaine, and other stimulants mask the effects of opioids.

Since the effects of stimulants like meth outlast that of some opioids like heroin, a person’s heart rate may also rapidly change pace. For example, their heart rate can go from very slow and depressed and then speed up very quickly. A rapid change in heart rate and respiration rate can cause arrhythmias, heart failure, or stroke.

Respiratory failure is particularly likely to happen with speedballs because stimulants wear off far more quickly than the effects of opioids. For example, fatal slowing of breathing can happen when the stimulating cocaine wears off, and the full effects of the Percocet are felt on their own.

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Mixing Percocet and Xanax

Moreover, the combination of Xanax (which is a benzodiazepine) and oxycodone (the active ingredient of Percocet, which is an opioid) produced stronger psychomotor effects and performance impairment. This is according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) [5].

Xanax is a brand name of alprazolam and belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines (benzos). Xanax is among the most commonly prescribed psychiatric drugs in the U.S. Millions of prescriptions are written for it each year. It is prescribed to treat panic disorders and anxiety. Xanax is especially addictive when it’s taken in large amounts or combined with other drugs or substances, and it’s very often used recreationally.

Both Xanax and Percocet depress the central nervous system (CNS). They do so in different ways, but they share this effect. Percocet binds to opioid receptors results in slowed functionality of the Central Nervous System (brain and spinal column). Xanax achieves this effect by causing the brain to produce more GABA, which is a natural depressant.

Simultaneous Use of Xanax and Percocet Side Effects

Taking Percocet and Xanax together puts the user at high risk for potentially dangerous respiratory depression. Respiratory depression means the breathing slows down, and this can lead to loss of consciousness, coma or death.

It can also cause heart rate changes. Almost one in three accidental prescription drug overdoses involves a combination of both benzodiazepines and opioids. It’s become so problematic that benzodiazepines and prescription opioids now have a black box warning about the risks of combining these two classes of drugs.

Percocet Overdose

A person can overdose on Percocet if the drug is taken more often than prescribed, if tablets are crushed or chewed, or if it is combined with other drugs, such as alcohol or sleeping pills. Overdose is considered a medical emergency. Without prompt treatment, serious health effects and even death can occur. An overdose of oxycodone or acetaminophen (both present in Percocet) can cause death. Oxycodone may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has taken Percocet during pregnancy. In addition, fatal Percocet side effects can occur if a person uses Percocet with alcohol or with other drugs that cause drowsiness.

Percocet Side Effects. The most effective known treatment includes medical detox, inpatient treatment, and follow-up with long-term support.
The most effective known treatment includes medical detox, inpatient treatment, and follow-up with long-term support.

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The inpatient treatment approach works best as it aims to change the person’s behaviors. Also, it will help them establish social support systems and better methods of coping with stress. A person will likely experience many different Percocet side effects from the abuse and misuse of this prescription drug. These Percocet side effects may be physical, emotional, or mental. For example, someone in withdrawal will likely experience many uncomfortable feelings and negative thoughts about life during the process of detox. Unfortunately for those with dependency, detox is an unavoidable first step towards recovery.

Please, do not try to detox on your own. The detox process can be painful and difficult without medical assistance. However, getting through the detox process is crucial for continued treatment. We Level Up NJ provide proper care with round-the-clock medical staff to assist your recovery. So, reclaim your life, call us to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

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Search We Level Up NJ “Percocet Side Effects, Withdrawal Signs, Symptoms, Addiction Treatment” Topics & Resources

[1] NIH –

[2] DEA – 30 side effects

[3] FDA – side effects of percocet 30

[4] NIAAA – side effects percocet/

[5] NCBI – effects of percocets

[6] We Level UpOpiate Detox & Opioid Detox

[7] Overdose Death Rates | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) ( – How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

[8] Products – Data Briefs – Number 369 – June 2020 ( – How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

[9] Oxycodone: MedlinePlus Drug Information – How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

[10] Drug Fact Sheet: Oxycodone How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?(

[11] pmtf-final-report-2019-05-23.pdf How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System? (