Monday March 30th 2015

How much Percocet is too much?

How much Percocet is too much?

How much Percocet is too much? Taking more than four (4) high dose Percocets per day can affect your liver.  In this article, explain how much Percocet is too much. And we invite your questions about Percocet at the end.

What’s in Percocet?

Percocet is a pain medication that combines both narcotic and non-narcotic pain drugs: oxycodone and acetaminophen. In general, it takes a significant amount of oxycodone in Percocet to be fatal – several times more than the normal dose.  In fact, overdose risk increases if you are getting high off Percocet instead of using Percocet for medical reasons.  And note here that acetaminophen must be taken exactly as directed to avoid serious health problems. How long Percocets stay in system is about a few days, due to the relatively short half life of oxycodone.  But in terms of too much Percocet, acetaminophen is really the main cause of concern.

Percocet strengths

Percocet comes in multiple strengths. This is your body gradually begins to tolerate the opioid oxycodone. Over time, you need increasingly higher doses of Percocet for pain relief. Note here that it takes far less Percocet to overdose if you haven’t developed a tolerance to the medication. Once you take Percocet to manage pain for a longer period, you need a higher dose to get the same effects, which is why there are so many different formulations on the market.

For opioid naive patients Percocet comes in doses of 2.5 mg oxycodone and 325 mg acetaminophen. Stronger doses may have 5, 7.5, or even 10 mg of oxycodone. Some strengths have 325 mg, 500 mg, and even 650 mg of acetaminophen, so read your prescription label carefully to determine how much of this drug you can safely take. 500 mg of acetaminophen is the equivalent of one extra-strength Tylenol.

How much Percocet is safe?

Percocet should only be taken as prescribed – your doctor will be able to advise you on the amount of oxycodone it’s safe for you to take. Never take more than 4 grams (4000 mg) of acetaminophen in one day – but don’t assume that just because you’re under the limit, that the medication is safe. If you haven’t taken oxycodone before, you should be cautious about taking large amounts of the medication

Furthermore, acetaminophen can cause liver problems, even if you don’t take a lot of Percocet. In fact, it’s much easier to overdose on acetaminophen than on the oxycodone contained in Percocet.The FDA is currently advising drug manufacturers to limit acetaminophen in Percocet and other prescription narcotics to no more than 325 mg per dose to avoid overdose. Taking more than 4 grams of acetaminophen in one day can poison you and cause permanent liver damage, even liver failure. So for the highest doses of Percocet, even four pills in one day could cause liver problems.

How much Percocet can you take at once?

In general, you can take 2 of the 2.5 mg Percocet pills every 6 hours. Higher doses of Percocet should only be taken 1 at a time. Just because you have been prescribed a lower dose of Percocet doesn’t mean you can safely take more than the recommended 1-2 pills. Additionally, never take more than 1000 mg (1 gram) of acetaminophen at one time – higher amounts of acetaminophen can cause liver damage which may not be immediately obvious.

How much Percocet to overdose?

Again, it takes between 1-4 grams of acetaminophen to overdose. This is more than two Percocet tablets more frequently than every six hours. Or more than one Percocet more frequently than every six hours at the very highest dose. This is why it’s very important only to take Percocet medications as directed.  For example, snorting Percocet vs oral puts you at higher risk of overdose.

Toxic levels of Percocet in the system

Abusing pain medications, such as Percocet, can result in acetaminophen overdose, especially if more than two pills are taken at a time. How does Percocet overdose occur? You can overdose on Percocet by taking it orally. But taking Percocet in ways other than prescribed definitely raises the risk of overdose, especially if you’re taking an extended-release version of the medication. Crushing the Percocet and either snorting it, or dissolving it in water and injecting it, further increases your risk of overdose.

How much Percocet is fatal?

Lower doses of Percocet may cause permanent liver damage, while not actually causing liver failure or overdose (although overdose is a definite risk as well). Nonetheless, taking several Percocet pills at once can cause overdose, especially on the lower strengths. Keep in mind that just because it doesn’t kill you, doesn’t mean the medication isn’t hurting you.

How much Percocet should I take?

You should take the amount of Percocet prescribed to you by your doctor. Never take more than recommended by a medical professional, and only take this oral medication as directed.

Too much Percocet questions

Do you have more questions about Percocet? Please leave them here. We are happy to help find you an answer or refer you to someone else who can help.

Reference sources: Toxnet: Oxycodone
PubMed Health: Oxycodone
DailyMed: Percocet
FDA Safety Communication: Prescription Acetaminophen Products to be Limited to 325 mg Per Dosage Unit; Boxed Warning Will Highlight Potential for Severe Liver Failure

Photo credit: Michael @ NW Lens

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40 Responses to “How much Percocet is too much?
denise lopez
11:23 am August 15th, 2012

how many nanograms are supposed to be in my system if i am taking 10 mg oxycodone for 3 years?also does the instant release leave your system faster ? i have been searching for the answer with no luck,please help.

9:33 am February 9th, 2013

Hi Denise. These are very specific questions that might be best answered by a pharmacist and a medical review officer at a drug testing facility. I’d suggest that you try your lcoal pharmacy first by phone or walk in visit. And then, call a drug testing center for clarification, if needed.

11:40 pm April 1st, 2013

I’m about 120 lbs and am on Percocet for pain caused by a bulged disc which is hitting a nerve. I just increases from taking two pills at about 7 AM, 2 PM, and 9PM. I am getting worse dealing with the pain and for the last few days started taking 2 pills 4 times throughout the same time period.

My question is, is this too much?
Thanks, Debra

2:30 pm April 3rd, 2013

Hello Debra. You’ll need to consult with your physician and get clearance BEFORE upping the dose. Call in for a consult on the phone and to report increases in pain, but please don’t increase doses of your pain medication without medical supervision.

Richard abalos
4:15 am April 11th, 2013

I take 2.5 3.25 of Percocet as needed for cronic pain usually every other day and codeine with tylonal on other days. I try to keep Percocet to minimum so it will continue to work without increasing doses. But pain is getting worse as time goes on. I’m 61 and want more relief but fear that too much will lead to reduced results and that thought is very discouraging. I can’t find anything that will tell me how much to take to insure it won’t stop working. Something like taking for a few days then, stay off it for a few days to let it get out of my system. I really would like to take one pill a day before I excercise to help with the pain. Any source of information you can direct me to?

Thank you

5:01 am April 11th, 2013

Hello Richard. It sounds like your body has developed increased tolerance for the pain relief effects of Percocet. While you might try to reduce dosage in order to increase it again, you might bring on withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable. I’d suggest that you talk with your prescribing doctor to report the tolerance (it’s a totally natural phenomenon) and to discuss alternatives you have. Ask about the medical practice about decreasing tolerance for some time, and whether or not this is clinically advised. Also, seek an opinion with your local pharmacist about this practice to come to your doctor’s office prepared!

Val Gates
8:56 pm May 20th, 2013

My friend took ~ 20 Percocet. I called 911 and they reversed the ocicodin. I told her she could have killed herself with that dose and she keeps saying no. I am going to be part of an intervention in a couple of hours and I would like to tell her the lethal dose of Percocet. Would someone please answer me soon. Thanks.

1:15 pm May 21st, 2013

Hi Val. You can tell her that normal dosing is no more than two Percocet tablets taken every six hours. 20 Percocets is a call for help. Good luck with the intervention, and let us know if we can help further.

3:25 am July 30th, 2013

Hi. I’m currently prescribed 40mg of oxycodone per day and i’m still having increasing pain issues. My doctor is recommending an increase to 50mg, so I’m wondering what is considered a high dosage per day. I’m a little worried that this will become a trend the longer I take these meds.

2:04 am November 15th, 2013

If I took 7 5-325mg by accident last night, am I ok?

11:00 pm December 1st, 2013

I take 1 10/325 oxycodone every 4-6 hours as prescribed. Is it going to affect my liver or health if i continue this schedule for longer than 2-3 weeks?

8:56 am February 22nd, 2014

I normally take 15 mg percocet every night before bedtime. My husband takes 30mg. He left for a month to go back to work taking my 15 mg percocet with him. He left his 30 mg pills here. Would it be safe to take one of his at night until he gets back?

10:04 am February 25th, 2014

Hi Marci. You’ve probably developed a tolerance to Percocet after daily dosing…but you don’t really want to increase your tolerance to oxycodone by increasing doses from 15 to 30 mg. If you do, you may experience withdrawal when returning to 15 mg.

Speak with you prescribing doctor or a pharmacist about the mix-up; depending on the release version (immediate or long term release)….it may be OK for you to split the 30 mg into two 1 mg halves. But you’ll need medical supervision and an OK before doing so. Otherwise, you may need a prescription renewal to get the correct 15 mg dosage you need.

12:12 pm February 28th, 2014

Been on Pain meds for years. Started with Lortab 7.5/500. I was happy with those meds but my doctor stopped scribing them cuz of the tylenol. He went to percocet 10/325. I guess these take my pain away too. I haven’t really been to concerned about my liver. I guess I should be, I drank a lot up until 5 years ago. None now. I don’t know if the liver heals itself from alcohol damage during time taking pain meds. I wouldn’t think so. I think my family has pretty strong livers, they all were drinkers and none have had liver trouble. My dad did, scerocis. SP? He lived 15 years with it and even drank with it and died from lung cancer. Funny how that works. Kind of hard to get off pain meds after taking for 15 years. Non-narcotics dont’ seem to do much for my pain. Tried all of them. Ex girlfriend is tryying to take my child custody rights away from me because I take pain meds. They have never affected my ability to be a good father! I think the courts will have to see that! I have seen multiple doctors and one that I seen one time suggested that he thought I had a substance abuse problem. Now, that is only one opinion out of all of the other doctors I have been in contact with including my current physician. I think it is a no brainer. Now, she is trying to get me for child abuse, I didn’t do anything. I think she is desperate. I am a great father. Been without my baby for 9 months. Could be a real easy time for me to abuse my 120 perks/mo. I am not abusing them though. Life is so confusing.

4:50 pm March 3rd, 2014

I got a message that there was a reply to what I typed, I cannot find it. Maybe it wasn’t something that I needed to hear today. I just picked up my script, I am doing fine. I keep myself to the 4 a day I am supposed to take and surely need. I got out of bed this morning and needed a pill really badly. The pain was right in my face! It does seem to be more painful since I started taking the Percs, I don’t know why. I will try to push ahead and continue with church and my fellowship of friends. I think the right answers will come to me one day. I don’t know that I am doing anything wrong you know. It is confusing. I think it is because the custody courts are in it. The ex’s lawyer is making me out to be a big bad drug addict. I have control and am a good father. Everything is so confusing to me right now. I will continue to pray about it!

4:09 pm May 4th, 2014

Is it dangerous to take 7 5mg percocet in the course of 24hrs if you’ve developed a high tolerance over 2 years?

10:43 pm May 24th, 2014

Hi Tonya, I have been taking 4-, 7.25 mg of percoset a day and have no side effects from taking
it. What to remember is the amount of acetaminophen is in each tablet. You should not take
more than 4grams of acetaminophen in 24 hours. That’s the rule of thumb. If you take more
than that, be careful because you could cause liver damage that is permanent. And you can’t
live without a liver!

re dose of Perocet
9:42 pm May 26th, 2014

Please can you tell me if 2 Percocets (10-325mg) per day ( taken at HS to sleep because chronic diagnosed pain keeps me awake), is considered to be abuse or addiction. I do not take any more than 2 for pain control even when my pain is bad during the daytime.

Mary Jo.
Thank you so much.

7:38 am May 27th, 2014

Hello Mary Jo. If you are taking Percocet as prescribed, you are not abusing it. However, if you take more Percocet more often than prescribed, or in ways other than prescribed … use = abuse.

Your body may become dependent on Percocet (oxycodone) and need the drug to function normally. But dependence is different than addiction. It is a physical manifestation brought on (and expected by doctors) as a result of regular, daily dosing of Percocet.

Does this help?

9:01 pm July 19th, 2014

Well I have very bad toothaches every once in a while and today I’m having one of those tootheaches I have already taken 3 5-325 mg of percets I know I spelled that wrong but I’m still in pain and its been 2hours can I take another one please answer cause I’m in some much pain

2:37 pm July 25th, 2014

I have a friend who always ask for my 7.5 milligram percocet. It’s at the end of my prescription and I am out of 30 of them. I now need my meds and my doctor is not wanting to refill my prescription. What do I do?

8:44 pm August 6th, 2014

I have been taking Percocet 5/325 one tablet everyday for the past 15 months… Half in the afternoon. Half in the evening. I am also taking three 10mg adderall a day for 3 years now… Am I at risk for any problems? Even after a few drinks? Thx

9:54 am August 7th, 2014

Hello Liz. Percocet is considered CNS depressants, so it will react with alcohol in a similar way as depressant drugs react with alcohol. In addition to sedation, it may inhibit the coughing reflex, which places an individual at high risk for aspiration, pneumonia and choking. This creates a dangerous effect that could stop breathing altogether.
Adderall, on the other hand, is a stimulant and many people make mistakes when thinking that mixing alcohol and adderall all together will even them out. Adderall seems to overide the effect of alcohol, making the person feel as if they can drink more without getting drunk, eventually leading to alcohol poisoning.

10:50 pm August 7th, 2014

The generic oxycodone manufacturers have been changed by all the pharmacies…no more of the popular Watson and Malinkrodt are being supplied to pharmacies. Instead new brands like Actavis, Amneal, and Alvogen are dispensed by all high street pharmacies.

This is a DISASTER for patients. The new formulations simplyvDO NOT WORK of which Actavis a333 is the worst with side effects. I have been in pain management for three years and I am in no doubt whatsoever that this is due to action taken by the federal government be it the FDA or DEA, to illuminate the prescription drug abuse and overdose epedemic widely reported in the USA. But it is at the cost of denying PATIENTS who genuinely need these meds for thier healthcare. Its a sneaky way of removing opiate meds without having to publicly announce it.

The evidence is everywhere in many many complaints from patients since Jan 2014. What can we do….our doctors continue to prescribe thier patients pain meds, the pharmacies fill them…but the patient is left holding the expensive bag and in pain. Some may say..oh you just got a bad batch..or its your tolerance that’s increased..but come on…every pharmacy that has dispensed Watson and Malinkradt for years suddenly change suppliers at the same time..and so many patients complain. I never had a single issue before. I can only hope that enough voices are heard to effect authorities to allow the original formulations to be supplied….but still controlled without denying the meds to the patients that genuinely need them.

3:31 am August 23rd, 2014

Ive been taking 4 5/325 percocet two times a day for the last three days will this damadge my liver

9:38 am September 1st, 2014

Hi Jesse. Percocet contains acetaminophen, which in higher doses can damage the liver. Since every organism is different, noone can tell for sure if you are facing risks of liver damage and/or liver failure. But you can look out for signs and indications. If you are experiencing nausea, vomitting, yellowing of eyes and skin you should see a doctor.

3:49 am September 2nd, 2014

I have been doing some research about all the prescriptions my mother takes. I just downloaded her prescription history for the last year and was shocked to see that her doctor prescribes 300 325 mg a month for her. That’s over 4,500 pills since last May. Not to mention the 90 pills of lorazepam a month. In all the research I’ve done I’ve never seen this amount ordered. This has been happening for at least ten years. She has agreed to go to rehab after two hospitalizations in the last 15 days. I am thinking about taking legal action and wondering if it’s futile or if maybe this doctor is responsible in part for the addiction. Please help!

Tony B
12:51 am September 7th, 2014

I take Percocet 5/325 or 10/325 just one tablet at bedtime 3 to 4 times a week to help me sleep due to extreme hip pain . How long can I do this without becoming dependent ? thanks


3:13 pm September 10th, 2014

Hi Tony. Speak with your prescribing doctor about your concerns; it’s possible that you can take drug tests to monitor levels of oxycodone in the system. One REAL way to know whether or not you’re dependent, though, is to stop taking Percocet altogether (with doctor’s knowledge and permission) and notice whether or not you experience withdrawal symptoms.

3:24 pm September 13th, 2014

I have a friend that cannot swallow pills so they give her percocets to her in capsules so they can be opened and poured on applesauce or straight on the tongue. Yeah I know how it works. My comment on percs WHY HAVE THEM IF THEY CAUSE MORE PROBLEMS THAN HELPING. I DIDN’T SEE ANYTHING ABOUT THE PATIENTS THAT CANNOT SWALLOW PILLS. THEY DON’T MAKE A LIQUID FORM WITH THAT STRENGTH.

3:50 pm September 13th, 2014

Advice such as to tell someone thats not that experienced in this field is not good either. You suggested that he stop to see if he has any w/d symtoms? Thats so wrongful doing. Under no circumstances should he stop his percocet to see if he starts to experience withdrawal. It takes him off the dosing schedule and puts him at risk for withdraeal symtoms and the pain clinic agreement specifically states in many if not all of them NOT TO STOP YOUR MEDICATION WITHOUT CONSULTING YOUR DOCTOR FIRST NOT EVEN A PHYSICIAN ON CALL MAKES THOSE KINDS OF COMMENTS TO ANY OF THIR PATIENTS

11:29 pm September 28th, 2014

my mother is taking a high does of percoret daily and about 8 to 10 per day. Can that effect her mental thinking to make legel matters?

5:00 am October 8th, 2014

Ok i had took a percocet like 3 hrs ago dose dat mean i overdoes

9:09 am October 19th, 2014

My husband is 323lbs and 6’2 ..he was recently shot in his forearm…long story short he had surgery Friday and the pain has gotten worse because the bullet fragment is no longer laying on his nerve and now his nerve is stretched and damaged. He was prescribed 5/325 percocet..1 to 2 tabs every 4 hrs…well the pain has gotten worse (the Dr said it would for the next week) and my hubby is now taking 3 pills every 5 hrs…is that safe? He’s in ALOT of pain otherwise..thx in advance

4:25 pm October 22nd, 2014

Hi Moore29. I have to say it is quite a high dose. Can the doctor prescribe some other, more powerful medication to help him with the pain?

Jim j
4:55 am November 25th, 2014

I took three 5mg tablets at nine thirty am and then three more at about two thirty pm and on more an hour later. I was feeling fine but I got pretty nauseous and threw up everything I had eaten that day. Am I risk of an overdose?

12:45 pm November 26th, 2014

Hi Jim. You can Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 for a free over-the-phone assessment of the risk of overdose. Then, they’ll give you further instructions for any necessary actions. Hope you are OK!

11:02 pm December 1st, 2014

listen everyone I’m 21 years old I have been on 60mg of morphine 4 times a day plus Vicodin since I was nine years old they had to put me on that I have probably the worst case of polyticular arthritis which means the entire body a hip replacement and at 13 I was diagnosed with discoid and systemic lupus that will kill you it burnt my entire body I was in the icu so it depends on your pAin tolerance when you been on pain medication that long it starts to wear off it stops working so they have to increase it not because ur a addict because u have a high pain tolerance,!!!!

6:30 am March 4th, 2015

I am currently taking 10/325 Percocet for a bad back, broken foot in two places and other ailments accosiated with chronic pain. Why is it now so hard to get a prescription filled. I live in las vegas and my Wal-Mart is now two weeks behind. Any similar stories and or experiences?

9:56 am March 6th, 2015

Hey all, Wednesday afternoon I got back surgery. Fast toward to right now I’m in moderate-severe pain as expected. I was given oxycodone 5/325. I started taking 1/5hrs but now I’m taking 1.5/4hrs. Blown away by how much they reduce my pain would I be setting myself up for another health issue?

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