Wednesday April 16th 2014

How long does Percocet withdrawal last?

Are you preparing for Percocet withdrawal?

Percocet dependence time takes a few weeks to develop.  And typically, withdrawal from opioids like Percocet usually resolves within five (5) to ten (10) days after cessation. However, the number of symptoms you experience, how long you experience them, and how severe the symptoms of Percocet withdrawal all depend on your body’s individual response to withdrawal, how long you’ve been taking the medications and the dose of oxycodone you’ve been taking.

More here about how to quit taking Percocet, the withdrawal process from Percocet, and what you can expect over the course of a few weeks. We also invite you to ask any questions about Percocet withdrawal you may have at the end.

How long until Percocet withdrawal starts?

Once you have decided to stop taking Percocet, Percocet stays in your system for a couple of days.  However, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms about four (4) to six (6) hours after the effects of Percocet have worn off in the body. In other words, withdrawal starts when you body expects the next dose of Percocet…and you do not oblige. As the withdrawal process begins, you may notice that it hits you like you are experiencing a cold/flu and the stomach flu at the same time. There are, of course, other symptoms which encompass the spectrum of Percocet withdrawal symptoms. These can include:

  • anxiety
  • cold flashes
  • depression
  • flushed skin
  • heart palpitations
  • increased heart rate
  • insomnia
  • irritation
  • nausea/vomiting
  • restlessness
  • tingling and numbness of the limbs

How long do Percocet withdrawal symptoms last?

Withdrawal symptoms from Percocet detox will start about 6 hours after the last does has worn off. But the time it takes for withdrawal to resolve fluctuates from person to person. Acute, intense and uncomfortable symptoms of withdrawal usually resolve within the first week of withdrawal. And most symptoms should even out in and be gone within about 4-5 weeks. But, there are chances you can develop protracted withdrawal symptoms which can last months after you have stopped taking Percocet.

Percocet withdrawal timeline

For chronic users of Percocet, the first days of withdrawal are usually the most intense and uncomfortable. During this time it is advisable that you be monitored and under medical supervision so that you can benefit from the addition of prescription medications to help ease symptoms, and to be monitored and supported during this time.

24 – 72 hours Percocet withdrawal: Percocet withdrawal is not life threatening, but it is not pleasant, to say the least. At about 72 hours after last Percocet dose, symptoms tend to peak in severity and intensity. The physical sickness can make this process of withdrawal daunting and frustrating but it will subside and pass.

Week 1 Percocet withdrawal: Acute withdrawal symptoms from oxycodone will last into this week. Cramp, chills, insomnia are symptoms can be present in this time frame. You may also experience drug seeking behavior and drug craving, thinking you need Percocet in order to return to normal.

Week 2 Percocet withdrawal: Your body should begin to feel a little more normal after a couple of weeks into withdrawal, though you may still have aches and pains. You will still feel drained and tired, possibly needing more sleep. Emotions of anxiousness and depression may be particularly hard at this time.

Week 3-4 Percocet withdrawal: Protracted withdrawal symptoms may be present and continue to linger long past the first month of withdrawal. This is more likely to happen to chronic users or Percocet abusers then those who were taking Percocet properly. Insomnia may also still be an issue.

Percocet withdrawal: how long?

In general, the longer you have been taking Percocet, or the more you have abused oxycodone, the greater the intensity of withdrawal will be. But most symptoms should dissipate after the first week of withdrawal. The human body is an amazing thing as its ability to adjust and adapt is quite remarkable. If you are not experiencing a “typical Percocet withdrawal” like other people you know or have read about, don’t worry. Everybody’s system is different and will experience withdrawal in its own way. And keep in mind that other health concerns do play a role in recovery.

It is also important to mention another possible condition present during Percocet withdrawal called “PAWS”, or post-acute withdrawal symptoms. The condition of PAWS is a set of persistent symptoms that can last for several weeks or months after you have stopped taking Percocet. Theses symptoms usually show up because of prolonged drug abuse. During a case of PAWS for Percocet, the body just takes longer to adjust to life without oxycodone. These symptoms are usually more psychological in nature and can include: short term memory loss, anxiety, and depression.

How long Percocet withdrawal questions

If you have any more questions regarding withdrawal from Percocet, please ask. We do our best to respond to your questions accurately and promptly.

Reference Sources: The National Pain Foundation: Abrupt Withdrawal from Pain Medications — Information and Caution
Social Work: OxyContin in Missouri
Daily Med: Oxycodone and Acetaminophen

Photo credit: *MarS

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17 Responses to “How long does Percocet withdrawal last?
11:58 pm September 17th, 2013

I’m concerned particularly regarding the duration of diarrhea. This is my third day. I think it’s letting up but I’ve been fooled before. At what point do I need to seek medical intervention? This is really the only concerning symptom I have. I’m 8 days in to a slow, month by month withdrawal from six 7.5 mg pills/day. Any insight or advice would be great.

10:40 am September 19th, 2013

Hello Ember. Be sure that you’re properly hydrated…dehydration salts can help. And I’d suggest that you do check in with a doctor. Have you tried Imodium AD?

4:20 pm September 30th, 2013

My husband has been taking Percocet for about two years for his back but of course he starting more then normal about 13 pill a day 325 and then he had enough so he started to wean off by taking each week or two he remove a pill then he stopped completely when he got to 2 pills a day he was very uncomfortable but he managed but by the third day he said he started to feel a little better he said its scaring him because he thinks its going to get worse later he doesn’t understand please help

8:49 am October 1st, 2013

Hello Lisa. Is your husband concerned about withdrawal symptoms or symptoms of pain?

9:14 pm October 5th, 2013

I had surgery to fix a broken tibia and fibula at the end of July. I was prescribed oxycodone as needed. I was taking about 25mg daily, and then my pain started to decrease so now I would like to be off. Three days ago I lowered my dose down to 10mg and woke up the next day feeling awful. For the next two days I took 5-10mg just to keep WD at bay, but I have had terrible insomnia and RLS as well as flu like symptoms. My last dose was 15 hours ago @ 5mg and I am hoping that that week be my last dose. My question is: how much longer should I anticipate these WD symptoms to last, and am I better off taking 2.5-5 mg at night to help me sleep, or just suffer through the insomnia? Thanks in advance! My heart goes out to everyone who suffers from oxy addiction. I had no idea how addictive it could be and how terrible the WD is even after short term use.

11:04 am October 9th, 2013

Hi Jessica. Symptoms usually peak 72 hours after your last dose. I’m sorry to hear about the insomnia. This, too, will pass.

10:49 pm October 20th, 2013

I have been taking Percocet, 10-325, six a day for almost two years for chronic pain. I would like to wean myself off so that I can see where the pain is at. It is difficult to tell as I take several medications for my health problem. I am worried about withdraw as much as I am worried about being in a great deal of pain if my symptoms are most likely still present. Any suggestions? In theory, I could be taking pain medication for the rest of my life and I am only 50 years old. Everyone tells me to use a medical marajuana rx but it’s just not my thing.

5:14 pm October 22nd, 2013

Hi Richard. I’d suggest that you work with your prescribing doctor to create an individualized tapering schedule just for you. Considering that you’re taking multiple medications, you need an expert opinion about how to go about weaning off Percocet.

Chrissy M
8:45 pm November 7th, 2013

I have been on percocets for 1 year due to chest pain. I had anxiety before that but in the past year felt like I kicked that issue. I weened off slowly and this is day 2 of being off them. My anxiety is bad, is it due to coming off the pils?

2:44 pm November 13th, 2013

Hi Chrissy. Yes, anxiety can be attributed to Percocet withdrawal. Check in with your prescribing physician for tips and suggestions on how to address it. Also, make a record or calendar of days, and record the symptoms (type, duration, intensity, etc.) so that you can report accurately to the doctor when you make a visit.

8:06 pm November 27th, 2013

I have been taking Percocet daily for about two years after back pain started. At one time, I was taking 2-3/day, but when my back pain settled down, I decreased the dose. For the better part of a year, I have rarely taken more than 1/2 – 1 of a Percocet 5/325 daily. I always thought Percocet withdrawal was dose-related, not time-related, and I figured that I could easily stop it when my back pain became livable. (I have suspected ankylosing spondylitis). What happens is that every day about the same time, the pain gets significant enough that I feel I suddenly really need the Percocet. I will take 1/4 or 1/2 tab. Generally I don’t repeat it later in the day, but sometimes I do, especially if I just want to enjoy watching a movie or something with my husband and not deal with pain. I have NEVER found that I needed to keep increasing the dose to get the same effect.
My doctor has never pushed me to stop, but I expressed that I want to, and she suggested Suboxone. My reading about Suboxone seems that it’s overkill for the dose of Percocet I am taking. Now that I am more educated about how Percocet may actually just be perpetuating my back pain, is it really necessary for someone at my dosage level to go through the whole Suboxone thing – or could I just stop it on my own with enough conviction to do so? My husband is completely supportive and I have a break from all work/school/social obligations after Christmas for about a month. I am ready to do it either way (Suboxone or on my own), but I just need some input on the difficulty level of withdrawing from my current dose of up to 5 mg per day. I am being entirely truthful about the dose, not minimizing. Thanks for any insight on this.

8:49 pm November 27th, 2013

Hi Sara. Each person deals with withdrawal differently. If you taper down Percocet doses over the course of 3-4 weeks, this will help minimize the severity of withdrawal. Then, withdrawal peaks about Day 3 after total cessation. Suboxone is used more in people who have psychological craving and compulsion to use Percocet addictively, as a way to mitigate cravings. But if you set up a plan with your prescribing doctor, with contingencies for how you’ll manage the symptoms of withdrawal + pain management , it seems like the Suboxone might just prolong the process. What does your doctor say?

8:59 pm November 27th, 2013

You have confirmed what I have been wondering since reading about Suboxone – that it may actually just prolong the process and, at least, is going to make it more costly and complicated than if I just tapered off. I see the Suboxone doctor on Tuesday next week (he is a partner of the family MD who suggested Suboxone). He is also a pharmacist. So he will be knowledgeable, but I wanted to suggest to him just tapering off as an alternative. I did notice some mild withdrawal when I tapered down originally (between 1 1/2 tablets to 1), so I wanted to do this under the doctor’s supervision, just not necessarily with Suboxone if I don’t have to.
Yes, I am definitely worried about pain control, but it might not be as bad as I think it is. As for craving Percocet, I don’t think I crave it so much as it feels like a security blanket. I fear pain.
One more question I did think of: if someone stops Percocet but later has reason to use it, i.e. after surgery, do you go right back to the level of dependence you had before?
I really appreciate your response. It is so helpful to someone like me, in this situation.

1:36 pm December 8th, 2013

For nearly 2 weeks prior to knee surgery from torn meniscus I was given Vicadin. After surgery I was given Percocet. Within 2 days of the procedure the pain stopped – so I quite taking the Percocet. It caused lethargy & constipation for 4 days. Subsequently I have unsettled stomach issues from hunger to bloating, headache & fatigue. Today there was a 1 time event of dark blood in my stool. From what I have read, this is rare. I had also stopped all aspects of exercising.
I would appreciate comments from all.

9:23 am December 12th, 2013

Hi Bob. Have you consulted with your supervising physician on the symptoms? Perhaps a quick phone call would quell your fears.

4:06 am February 21st, 2014

I suggest you ask your dr for some meds to help ease the pain of withdrawal. My dr. gave me clonadine which helps a lot with chills/hot flashes, anxiety, sleep and cravings. He also gave me Selaxtin, a mild muscle relaxer which helps with stomach cramps and general body aches. He also gave me promathazine for nausea. You can get Immodium over the counter for diarrhea. Vitamins and staying hydrated helsp too. Withdrawal sucks bad, but being prepared for it can make a big difference.

7:58 pm March 27th, 2014

I am day 2 of no Percocet and I feel ok just a few withdrawal symptoms. So my question is will it get worse from here or at 72 hours is it gonna be worse. Im scared I quit cold turkey after 3 years.

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