Can you overdose (OD) on Percocet?

Yes, you can overdose on Percocet because of the acetaminophen (not the oxycodone) it contains. More on what happens when you OD on Percocet, acetaminophen poisoning, and safe doses here.

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Yes. You can OD on Percocet.

Percocet overdose complications can include liver damage, liver failure of death.  And it can be easy to accidentally take too much of a drug, especially a drug like Percocet that’s used to control pain. However, most Percocet overdoses occur as a result of toxic levels of acetaminophen in the body, not the narcotic oxycodone. Here, we review what can you do to prevent accidental Percocet overdose. At the end, we invite your questions about Percocet and overdose.

Can you overdose on Percocet?

Yes, you can easily overdose on Percocet. Percocet contains oxycodone, an opioid painkiller which can cause overdose with large doses, and acetaminophen, another analgesic medication which is much more dangerous but less addictive. Even at fairly low doses, Percocet can cause permanent liver damage as a result of acetaminophen toxicity which may not be immediately obvious. At higher doses, this liver toxicity turns deadly.

Plus, certain people are more at risk of OD’ing on Percocet than others. If you take Percocet to get high, your risk of overdose increases. Percocet abuse increases your risk of death and overdose.  In addition, Percocet addictive potential is relatively high.  This medication should only be taken swallowed as a whole pill, and only in the doses recommended by your doctor. You’re much more likely to overdose when you chew, crush, snort or inject Percocet pills.

What happens when you overdose on Percocet?

Liver failure is the most dangerous complication of Percocet overdose, caused by acetaminophen toxicity. However, Percocet overdose can not only cause you health problems down the road, but it can potentially kill you if you take too many Percocet in one day.  How long Percocet stays in the the body (a short half life of about 3.2 hours) may contribute to taking too many Percocet in one day. So how many Percocet can you safely take?

How many Percocet is too much?

Safe dosing for Percocet varies between different strengths of the medication. Some versions of the drug may have more acetaminophen than others, so it’s very important to carefully check dosage instructions. But as a general rule, doctors recommend no more than 1 gram of acetaminophen at one time.

In the case of Percocet, it would be unsafe to take more than two 500 mg doses every six hours. More than this can potentially cause liver damage if these doses are taken long-term, although taking more than 1 gram on accident probably won’t harm you if it only happens occasionally.

On the other hand, taking more than 4 grams of acetaminophen in one day can poison you and cause permanent liver damage, even liver failure. Many medications contain 500-600 mg of acetaminophen per dose, making it unsafe to take more than directed per day. Because acetaminophen can be so dangerous,you should only take as Percocet much as your doctor recommends.

Percocet overdose help

If you’ve taken a high dose of Percocet and experience adverse side effects, you should seek medical attention immediately. Medications containing acetaminophen take about 12 hours before overdose is irreversible – but you may not experience symptoms of an overdose immediately. If you suspect you’ve taken too much Percocet or acetaminophen for any reason, seek emergency medical assistance as soon as possible.

Overdose on Percocet questions

If you have any questions about safe amounts of Percocet in your system, please leave them here. We are happy to try to help answer your questions about Percocet, and will try to respond with a personal and prompt reply for all legitimate queries.

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
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
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