What is Percocet?
Percocet contains a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication. An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of oxycodone.
Percocet is used to relieve moderate to severe pain.
Percocet may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not use Percocet if you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.
This medicine can slow or stop your breathing, and may be habit-forming. Use only your prescribed dose, and swallow the pill whole to avoid a potentially fatal dose. Never share Percocet with another person.
MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.
Do not take more Percocet than is recommended. An overdose of acetaminophen can damage your liver or cause death. Call your doctor at once if you have nausea, pain in your upper stomach, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, or jaundice (yellowing of your skin or eyes).
Oxycodone may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn if the mother has taken this medicine during pregnancy.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use Percocet if you are allergic to acetaminophen (Tylenol) or oxycodone, or if:
- you have severe asthma or breathing problems;
- you have a bowel obstruction called paralytic ileus; or
- you have recently used alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizers, or other narcotic medications.
Some medicines can interact with oxycodone and cause a serious condition called serotonin syndrome. Be sure your doctor knows if you also take medicine for depression, mental illness, Parkinson’s disease, migraine headaches, serious infections, or prevention of nausea and vomiting. Ask your doctor before making any changes in how or when you take your medications.
To make sure Percocet is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- any type of breathing problem or lung disease;
- liver disease, cirrhosis, or if you drink more than 3 alcoholic beverages per day;
- a history of drug abuse, alcohol addiction, or mental illness;
- diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, or a blockage in your stomach or intestines;
- kidney disease, urination problems;
- problems with your gallbladder, pancreas, or thyroid;
- a history of head injury, brain tumor, or seizures; or
- if you use a sedative like Valium (diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Versed, Xanax, and others).
Percocet is more likely to cause breathing problems in older adults and people who are severely ill, malnourished, or otherwise debilitated.
If you use oxycodone while you are pregnant, your baby could become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Acetaminophen and oxycodone may pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.
How should I take Percocet?
Take Percocet exactly as prescribed. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Oxycodone can slow or stop your breathing, especially when you start using this medicine or whenever your dose is changed. Never use Percocet in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. An overdose can damage your liver or cause death. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in relieving your pain.
Oxycodone may be habit-forming, even at regular doses. Never share Percocet with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction. MISUSE OF NARCOTIC MEDICINE CAN CAUSE ADDICTION, OVERDOSE, OR DEATH, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription. Selling or giving away Percocet is against the law.
If you need surgery, tell the surgeon ahead of time that you are using this medicine. You may need to stop using the medicine for a short time.
Do not stop using Percocet suddenly after long-term use, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using the medicine.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Oxycodone is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.
Do not keep leftover Percocet tablets. Ask your pharmacist where to locate a drug take-back disposal program. If there is no take-back program, flush any unused tablets down the toilet.
Never crush a Percocet tablet to inhale the powder or mix it into a liquid to inject the drug into your vein.
Percocet dosing information
See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since this medicine is used for pain, you are not likely to miss a dose. Skip any missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose can be fatal, especially in a child or other person using Percocet without a prescription. Overdose symptoms may include slow breathing and heart rate, severe drowsiness, muscle weakness, cold and clammy skin, pinpoint pupils, and fainting.
The first signs of an acetaminophen overdose include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, sweating, and confusion or weakness.
What should I avoid while taking Percocet?
Do not drink alcohol. Dangerous side effects or death could occur.
Percocet may impair your thinking or reactions. Avoid driving or operating machinery until you know how this medicine will affect you. Dizziness or severe drowsiness can cause falls or other accidents.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist before using any other cold, allergy, pain, or sleep medication. Acetaminophen (sometimes abbreviated as APAP) is contained in many combination medicines. Taking certain products together can cause you to get too much acetaminophen which can lead to a fatal overdose.
Percocet side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction to Percocet: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
In rare cases, acetaminophen may cause a severe skin reaction that can be fatal. This could occur even if you have taken acetaminophen in the past and had no reaction. Stop taking Percocet and call your doctor right away if you have skin redness or a rash that spreads and causes blistering and peeling.
Like other narcotic medicines, oxycodone can slow your breathing. Death may occur if breathing becomes too weak.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
- shallow breathing, slow heartbeat;
- a light-headed feeling, like you might pass out;
- confusion, unusual thoughts or behavior;
- seizure (convulsions);
- problems with urination;
- infertility, missed menstrual periods;
- impotence, sexual problems, loss of interest in sex;
- liver problems – nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay-colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes); or
- low cortisol levels – nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, dizziness, worsening tiredness or weakness.
Seek medical attention right away if you have symptoms of serotonin syndrome, such as: agitation, hallucinations, fever, sweating, shivering, fast heart rate, muscle stiffness, twitching, loss of coordination, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
Common Percocet side effects include:
- headache, drowsiness, tiredness;
- nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, constipation;
- blurred vision; or
- dry mouth.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.