Thursday November 26th 2015

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Dependence on Percocet

Dependence on Percocet

Does dependence on Percocet (oxycodone) mean that you are addicted to Percocet? And how do doctors answer the question: “Can I just stop taking Percocet?”  We’ll look at the difference between dependence on Percocet and addiction here. And give you the signs to look out for. Finally, we invite your questions about Percocet at the end. We answer all questions about Percocet with a personal and prompt reply.

What’s in Percocet?

People use Percocet to treat pain. Percocet is the brand name for a formula of oxycodone mixed with acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opioid man-made synthetic drug which produces similar effects as morphine or codeine. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that helps to safely increase the effects of oxycodone. While you can overdose on acetaminophen, you cannot develop a depedence on it. You can, however, develop a physical dependence to oxyocodone. How?

Percocet dependence time: How long to be dependent on Percocet?

You can tell if you are dependent on Percocet when you stop taking Percocet. Basically, if you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop Percocet, you’ve become physically dependent on oxycodone. But how long does it take for physical dependence on Percocet to start?

Dependency can develop as quickly as a couple of weeks or a month after taking Percocet every day. People who use Percocet to get high speed have a higher potential of developing dependency faster. Still, some people claim that it takes more than a month to creating a dependency on Percocet.

Percocet dependence vs. addiction

Being dependent on a drug doesn’t mean you are addicted to it. Even if you are using Percocet as directed you can still develop dependency. You can develop a dependence on Percocet if you are taking Percocet over an extended period of time. Being dependent on Percocet simply means that you can’t stop taking Percocet without the presence of withdrawal symptoms. However, the rate of dependency increases for those using Percocet outside the prescribed parameters. And some people who are dependent on Percocet can develop Percocet addiction over time.

If you are addicted to Percocet, psychological symptoms of cravings and compulsion to use accompany withdrawal. While many people never get addicted to Percocet, about 10% of those who take Percocet regularly will not be able to stop taking Percocet without having obsessive or compulsive thoughts about using Percocet again. If you suspect that you are becoming addicted to Percocet, speak with your doctor immediately.  Treating Percocet addiction includes both behavioral as well as pharmaceutical interventions.

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Dependence on Percocet symptoms

Key symptoms of Percocet symptoms encompass the following:

1. Increased tolerance to Percocet (needing more to feel the effects). Increased tolerance may just mean that you need to take more Perceoct to feel the effect of the pain relief. However this may be a flag for you to be aware of for the potential of developing dependence.

2. Needing to take Percocet in order to compensate for withdrawal symptoms.

3. The presence of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Percocet.

Physical dependence on Percocet

Dependence is the physical need to take Percocet in order for the body to function. Over time, your body begins to incorporate the main ingredient in Percocet (oxycodone) into the body system. Oxcodone then becomes part of the normal chemistry process of the brain. So, when you stop taking Percocet, you will experience Percocet withdrawal symptoms as your brain attempts to re-regulate the body chemistry. If you have withdrawal symptoms, this means that you’ve become physically dependent to Percocet.

Psychological dependence on Percocet

When you experience psychological dependence on Percocet, this could mean you have become addicted to the drug. Psychological signs of dependence may include the following:

  • Doctor shopping in order to get Percocet.
  • Crushing or snorting Percocet to feel the effects faster.
  • You cannot stop yourself from taking Percocet.
  • You have a compulsive need to take Percocet or take Percocet impulsively.

If you have a psychological dependence on Percocet simply tapering your medication may not work. This is when it may be helpful to seek help from someone who is trained to treat drug addiction. This person can help you not only detox from Percocet (oxycodone) but help give you the tools you need to to resist the psychological drive which compels you to take Percocet. Your doctor may recommend that you seek out help from a license psychologist, psychiatrist or other addiction specialist.

Percocet dependence withdrawal

If you are dependent on Percocet and stop taking Percocet suddenly, you will go through a period of withdrawal. This process is painful and at times dangerous. If you would like a more in depth understanding of the withdrawal process please refer to the following article otherwise, the symptoms you can expect to feel are:

  • anxiety
  • flu like symptoms
  • insomnia
  • muscle pain
  • nausea/vomiting
  • runny nose
  • sweating
  • seizures

Percocet dependence questions

Do you still have questions about Percocet dependence and addiction? We invite you to leave us your questions about dependence on Percocet below. We welcome all questions and try to answer each one personally and promptly

Reference Sources: FDA: Oxycodone
Daily Med: Percocet
FDA: Percocet

Photo credit: NIDA, National Institute of Drug Abuse

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27 Responses to “Dependence on Percocet
kay G
6:40 pm December 28th, 2013

How soon can you feel w/d symptoms after not taking a dose? I only take 1 or two 5/325 daily for 5 months for chronic sacrum pain.

11:39 am December 31st, 2013

Hello Kay. Most withdrawal symptoms manifest in the 4-6 after your last dose, when you’re expecting another dose. If you pass through 72 hours after cessation and experience only mild discomfort, it’s possible that your body will not manifest further symptoms. How are you feeling now?

kay G
6:02 am January 2nd, 2014

I do not feel mild headache or flulike symptoms throughout day if pass 4-6 hr of last dose. It usually will be in morning if i went 12 or more hrs. without a dose. So i really dont know if it is withdraw symptoms. I battle to try to manage the meds to avoid addiction.

kay G
6:03 am January 2nd, 2014

Also…Thank you 4 help

kay G
5:59 pm January 3rd, 2014

I usually take two 5/325 percocet a day. One in afternoon and the other in evening. Some days it may be just one. The percocet will take the Pain away to allow me to be funtional for household activities. I just am getting worried that i could be getting dependence for the meds.

9:50 pm January 15th, 2014

Know that dependence is a normal and expected outcome of Percocet use. While not ideal, physical dependence IS NOT the same as addiction. Do you have cravings for Percocet or do you get high when you use it? If not, you’re most likely in the clear for addiction…does this help?

5:25 am June 20th, 2014

I’ve taken Percocet for about a month after burning my hand severely.. I went through a lot of them.. After about two weeks i started taking them without even thinking about it.. The pain had already stopped but i kept taking them.. Its like i was in a bad mood if i didn’t.. Im not taking them anymore.. But i would like to know how long insomnia and these flu like symptoms can last.. I had to have taken at least 70 in a month.. Stopped taking them about a week ago.. I just want this feeling gone

2:18 pm June 23rd, 2014

Hello Vance. The flu like symptoms usually subside within 7-10 days, day 3 being most severe. The insomnia (given the short period of time you’ve been taking Percocet) will most likely resolve within this time, as well. Have you consulted with a pharmacist or your physician about these withdrawal symptoms? It’s always advised that a medical profession supervise Rx pain pill withdrawal.

12:29 am August 16th, 2014

I’m taking this with a muscle relaxer for sciatica and back pain. I take them during the first half of the day but not the second half because i can’t work on it. It’s been 3 weeks roughly almost every day. I feel very sad and weepy when i take it but feel I need it. It doesn’t help the pain very much. Does this mean I am becoming addicted?

10:05 pm March 11th, 2015

I am a 75 year old male. I have been taking two Oxycodon-acetaminophen 7.5 mg daily for severe sciatic pain for approximately 3 weeks. Is it possible that I have already become addicted? Would taking a one half dose prevent addiction? I can try just Ibuprofen which dulls the pain somewhat.

I would appreciate your suggestions.


5:25 pm March 16th, 2015

HIi Jack. I don’t believe you can get addicted to Percocet. Sure, physical dependence will form quite quickly, but it’s far from addiction. Now, physical dependence is when your organism becomes accustomed to the presence of a medication. It doesn’t take much time for your body to adjust to other substances and the dependence if formed fast-that’s why we get withdrawal symptoms when we suddenly stop taking a medication. If you are taking your meds for pain relief, you have a prescription and they work when you take them, it’s all good. And don’t worry, when time comes to stop taking the med, you will taper doses down and treat symptoms with over-the-counter medicines.

6:54 pm March 18th, 2015

I usually take 1/2 to 1 Percoset nightly to help me sleep in conjunction with 1/2 of Ambien ( 12.5 controlled release ). I always feel tired when going to bed but after dosing for 20 minutes or so I wake up and my body ache’s to the point of having no chance of falling asleep. It is at this point that I give in and take the 1/2 Ambien and 1/2 percoset which usually puts me to sleep. My question is the body aching craving that small amount of pain relief ( which I usually include 1 or 2 Tylenol ? Sometimes the body is aching an hour or so before I go to ben around 11 pm. Thankyou for your advice.

8:41 am March 26th, 2015

Hi Paul. This is a question for a medical doctor. I’d suggest that you consult your prescribing doctor or a pharmacist for advice.

9:28 pm April 20th, 2015

yes i’ve been been on the pills for several years because of a injury my insurance change took me away from my pain management doctors now i’m taking more pills than ever now i’d like to be off but I fear my pains I need help i’m dependent on the pills

Gale W
4:47 am June 11th, 2015

Am desperately seeking information that is to the point and in layman’s terms concerning extreme risks of chronic abuse of oxycontin along with methadone along with time-release muscle relaxers ingested by means of snorting and sometimes smoking. My person has suffered multiple injuries through the years and of course these things were prescribed; this lady’s family is terrified, at the end of their rope and attempting intervention while we still can. Any information or recommendations you can suggest will be much appreciated.

12:13 am July 18th, 2015

Have been taking percocet 5/325 for 6 weeks for a broken ankle and subsequent surgery. Started at 2 every 4 hours cut back to 1 even 6 hours the every 8 hours with ibuprophin for breakthrough pain. I took one about 2 this morning and went to the doc, forgetting to take it with me. Pains not horrible, but took ibuprophin twice since. Now having shakes, mild nausea, stomach stuff mild headache. The problem is that the pain is worse at night. Thinking abt 1 every 12 hours since doc is already titrating me down. Does this make sense? I’ll see him on 24th.

Charles H
5:50 pm July 31st, 2015

Thank you for the invitation to comment. I am a 74 yr old gentleman. I have been on Percoset for 5+ yrs. I have chronic back pain which became worse after a flawed surgery in 2011. My initial dose was a 10Mg tablet. A yr after the surgery it was reduced to a 5 Mg tablet four times a daay and that is where I have stayed. I have pretty much controlled my pain satisfactorily to a pain level 3 by taking a tablet in AM and one in PM. The days I have physical work to perform like working on my vehicles etc I will increase the dose as need for up to 4 tablets. Recently my Pain managemet doctor took me off Percoset and started me on 12.5 Mg patch of Fentamynl. It was too strong for me as I was naseous and additionally did not help with any breakthrough pain. He then switched me to Methadone tablets. I discussed with him that by taking the slow release meds it was forcing me to take a larger daily dose than I felt was required. Example, I was on average taking 15 Mg of Percoset per day and now I was taking the equivalent of 20 Mg/day and was still expierincing break through pain when physically active. After 3 months the doctor relented and presribed 3-5Mg Percoset tablets per day. I have now found that this has become a problem for me. I am having a lot of difficulty with only taking 15 mg a day. I can feel withdrawals start after 5 or 6 hrs since last dose. If that remains I will not have enough meds to last the month. I have tried numerous ways to extend my time to 8 hrs between tablets with some success. The most effective has been to slowly increase the time between tablets by 30 mins every day but when I get to the 1 hr time interval extension it has become extremely uncomfortable and impossible so far. What I don’t understand is that I was doing fine before all these adjustments were made. My dependence was only 2-5 Mg tablets per day with adjustments as needed when active. I have never abused the drug in all those years of use. But, now being on the higher doses for 3+ months has increased my minimum level from 2 tablets to 4. My question is, How do I slowly return to my earlier dosing as I described. Given other health conditions such as heart and vascular problems I am concerned about stopping to rapidly. Sorry for the lengthy message but I am trying to keep it as clear for you as possible.

6:03 am August 3rd, 2015

Hello, I was just wondering. I been on Percocet for 1 month. I only take half a Percocet a day. Will I have withdrawals?

11:05 am August 4th, 2015

Hi Judi. The one way surefire to know if you’ve become dependent on Percocet, or not, is to miss a dose and evaluate possible symptoms. Speak with your doctor or pharmacist first to get medical advice. However, each person experiences dependence at different rates, dosing, and time periods. Generally, dependence kicks in after regular, daily dosing of a couple of weeks, or more.

8:25 pm September 7th, 2015

My question is if some that has not been on pain med, have with draws and is only been taking percocet 15 for about 3 week period of a two month time .Reason I ask is because I am not sure about these pain killers . My doctor put me on them in the last part of July . I took 2 a day for the first 2 weeks missing a couple of days during the 1st 2 weeks , but when I did take them I felt great but then I started get dizziness, so I took 1 a day for about 4 days but ddizziness didn’t stop so now I am taking them 1 daily but last week I didn’t have none for 3 days and since then even taking them daily I am sick as a dog not trowing up and no fever but dizziness weak hot sweats body acking Can I be having withdrawls even when taking meds

2:11 pm October 1st, 2015

I had knee replacement 8 weeks ago. I took oxycodone during rehab then mostly at night because the pain would keep me awake. I didn’t take one last night and I was miserable. Anxious , legs and arms hurting and not being able to fall asleep. So I took a zanex that I take from time to time for anxiety. Does this mean I am addicted? What do I do ?

4:41 pm October 9th, 2015

Hi Terri. That’s just a sign of physical dependence. You will have to be slowly reducing your doses for a while, and then you’ll be safe to stop taking the medication completely. But, you shouldn’t be worried. Our organisms are just good at adapting, but it’s nothing serious or harmful.

1:37 am October 12th, 2015

I’ve have been taking oxycodone for approximately 8 weeks for a broken humerus. Started out with 2 per day, but that was too much time between doses. Now I’m taking 3 per day, morning and evening dose with 1 Aleve. It only reduces my pain, but I still have break through. Now either my pain is increasing or I’m becoming physically dependent because at the 4-5 hour mark my pain increases and now I started taking 4 per day and still have pain. Other odd symptoms: overheated, lightheadedness and sleepiness. Can’t function normally or sleep without meds. Any suggestions, thanks.

1:06 am October 30th, 2015

I had two car accidents and my pain is unbearable, my doctor gave me Percocet to relieve the pain.
However, Percocet does not take away all my pain. I have been on Percocet pain pills since 2007 -It’s been 8 years already. I am 70 years old. How long can I keep taking Percocet to relieve all my pain? I have a shoulder operation and since then I have had more pain than before the operation.
I need knee operations and back operations. What other pain medication can I take to
relieve the excruciating pain in my body, if I stop taking Percocet?

2:27 am November 2nd, 2015

I had a csection sept 15 and was given oxy ir 5mg. When discharged from the hospital I was prescribed 50 of them. I had such a bad recovery that I was on them for 3 weeks. Then once I stopped I started having dental pain and was prescribed Percocet 5mg. I was taking 2 a day. Then once I stopped taking them I became very ill from withdrawal. Extreme nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, sweats etc. I found that taking one ultracet for the first 3 days helped me get through it. Along with zofran for the nausea.
I haven’t had to take anything for 5 days now. Thank God! I never want to go through that again.
However I need to have 6 teeth pulled. And due to a huge fear of the dentist, I want them all out at one time. I had 9 pulled at once 2 years ago and the pain was excruciating for the first two days. Percocet is all that helped. My question is, how long should you wait after a physical dependence before taking this stuff again without withdrawal? I am so scared of withdrawing again!

9:42 pm November 9th, 2015

Hi Cassandra. I believe you should consult with a doctor or a pharmacist for any changes that you are planning to make about your pain medication.

3:32 pm November 10th, 2015

Hello Dar. Percocet affects each person differently depending on the dosage and time duration of using Percocet. I believe that there is no strict time to wait after a physical dependence before taking the drug again. Withdrawal might happen again depending on the dosage and how long have you been taking the drug.

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