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) . 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.
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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:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased respiration rate
- Stomach pain
- Damage to vital organs
- Constriction of pupils
- Failure of vital organs
- Nausea and vomiting
- Memory loss
- Periods of “blacking out”
- Other substance abuse
- Worsening of mental health disorders
- Sense of emotional well-being
- Feeling carefree
- 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
- 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
- Seeing multiple doctors or “doctor shopping”
Due to the Oxycodone in Percocet, there are numerous potential Percocet side effects tied to abuse of the drug. The most commonly recorded physical Percocet side effects include:
- Abdominal pain
- Memory loss
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
- Slurred speech
- Small pupils
- Shallow breathing
- 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  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)  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:
- Depressed respiratory system
- Inability to focus thoughts
- Low blood pressure
- Liver failure
- Heart attack
- Colon cancer
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.
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) .
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.
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.
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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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 NIH – https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a682132.html
 DEA – https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/
 FDA – https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/pmtf-final-report-2019-05-23.pdf
 NIAAA – https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohols-effects-health/alcohols-effects-body
 NCBI – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3454351/