Detox from Percocet

During detox from Percocet, clinicians evaluate and stabilize a person dependent on Percocet. But can you detox from Percocet at home? We review here.

8
minute read
Reviewed by: Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D.
Reviewed by: Dr. Juan Goecke, M.D.

ARTICLE OVERVIEW: Percocet is habit-forming for anyone who uses it for more than a couple weeks. This article provides basic info on Percocet and how can you can safely detox from it. 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:


What is Percocet?

Percocet is a prescription medication that is recommended by doctors to alleviate discomfort and pain that can occur after surgery an injury or due to a medical condition. It is comprised of oxycodone (an opioid) and acetaminiphen (an over the counter pain reliever). Oxycodone is a semisynthetic opioid analgesic, which occurs as a white, odorless, crystalline powder having a saline, bitter taste. Acetaminophen is a non-opiate, non-salicylate analgesic and antipyretic.

Percocet causes physical dependence in as little as 2-3 weeks.


What Happens To Your Brain?

Oxycodone is a semisynthetic, pure opioid agonist with a principal therapeutic action of analgesia. That means its main effect is pain relief. Other, known pharmacological effects of oxycodone include:
  1. Anxiety relief
  2. Euphoria
  3. Feelings of relaxation

These effects are mediated by opioid in the central nervous system for endogenous opioid-like compounds such as endorphins and enkephalins. This is the main reason that Percocet is Scheduled as a Type II drug under the Controlled Substances Act.  It has a habit-forming potential for anyone who uses it continuously over the long therm, or abuses it illegally.

The bottom line?

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Percocet affects the brain and the central nervous system the same way heroin and morphine do – by changing the way the brain perceives physical pain. When doses of Percocet are upped, you can experience a “high” that is pretty much similar to the “high” produced by heroin, including feelings of:

  • Calm
  • Extreme well-being
  • Heightened pleasure

Percocet triggers the release of neurotransmitters in our brain. Dopamine is one of those neurotransmitters, also called “the happy hormone” or “feel-good chemical” and plays an important role in the reward system. This system is crucial for delivering pleasurable feelings and motivation.

However, there is a trick!

The brain’s reward system also reinforces behaviors that lead to or initiate the release of dopamine. THIS is how addiction to Percocet is formed.

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Seek help anytime you detox from Percocet. Medical detox ensures your safety.


What Happens To Your Body?

Most people who use Percocet for more than a couple of weeks become physically dependent on the drug. Dependence is a way that the brain adapts so that you can continue to live! So, if you’re Perc-dependent…you go through withdrawal when you lower doses or quit suddenly.
Percocet withdrawal is different for each individual. The severity and duration of the withdrawal symptoms will depend upon several factors, such as:
  1. A person’s general health, age, and medical history.
  2. Average dosage of Percocet intake.
  3. The frequency of Percocet use.
  4. The total length of time of Percocet use.

Call us to review your detox options. You don’t have to withdraw alone.


Common withdrawal symptoms you may experience when you quit Percocet include:

  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Dry mouth
  • Dysphoria or negative mood
  • Excess sweating, flushing and itching
  • Restlessness
  • Stiff muscles
  • Stomach ache and nausea
  • Tiredness

Duration

Once you have stopped taking Percocet, you will begin to experience withdrawal symptoms about four to six hours after the last Percocet dose, or whenever oxycodone effects begin to fade. The acute and severe symptoms from Percocet withdrawal usually resolve about five to ten days after cessation.
Some symptoms can persist in the weeks to months after acute withdrawal, especially problems with sleeping and mood. However, remember that these symptoms vary from person to person.

Timeline

Below is a list of the most frequently reported Percocet withdrawal symptoms sorted by period of appearance. We hope that this information can easily guide and prepare you about what to expect during Percocet withdrawal.
REMEMBER: Detox varies by person. The length of time and the severity of withdrawal are highly personal.

24-72 Days After Your Last Percocet Dose

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  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Flushed skin
  • Heart palpitations
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea

3-7 Days After Your Last Percocet Dose

  • Body Pain
  • Chills
  • Cramps
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Week 2 Of Percocet Withdrawal

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  • Anxiety
  • Body pain
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Week 3 Of Percocet Withdrawal

  • Feeling better
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Week 4 Of Percocet Withdrawal:

  • Restlessness
  • Sleep stabilization

Overdose can occur if you take Percocet after you complete a detox. Call 911 immediately or administer naloxone.


Dangers

As we said above, Percocet contains oxycodone, a Schedule II controlled substance. As an opioid, Percocet exposes users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and misuse. Due to their effect on the part of the brain which regulates breathing, opioids (oxycodone contain in Percocet), in high doses, can cause respiratory depression and death. This is why overdose is a REAL DANGER when you’re detoxing.
When your tolerance for oxycodone lowers, relapse can lead to death after you detox.

A Percocet overdose can be identified by a combination of three signs and symptoms referred to as the “opioid overdose triad”. The symptoms of the triad are:

  1. Pinpoint pupils
  2. Respiratory depression
  3. Unconsciousness

Overdose occurs when someone intentionally or accidentally takes a dose higher than prescribed. These symptoms become much more serious:

  • Bluish-colored fingernails and lips.
  • Coma (unresponsiveness).
  • Constipation.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Drowsiness.
  • Low blood pressure.
  • Muscle damage from being immobile while unresponsive.
  • Nausea.
  • No breathing.
  • Pinpoint pupils.
  • Possible seizures.
  • Shallow breathing.
  • Slow breathing that requires more effort.
  • Spasms (pain) of the stomach or intestinal tract.
  • Vomiting.
  • Weak pulse.

A drug overdose is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of an overdose, call for help from 9-1-1 right away, because requires emergency medical treatment.

Naloxone is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent overdose by opioids such as oxycodone (contain in Percocet). It blocks opioid receptor sites, reversing the toxic effects of the overdose. Naloxone is administered when a patient is showing signs of oxycodone overdose. The medication can be given by intranasal spray, intramuscular (into the muscle), subcutaneous (under the skin), or intravenous injection. This medication can only be administrated by a medical doctor.

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Factors that may increase the risk of Percocet overdose include:

  • Being dependent on or addicted to Percocet.
  • Combining Percocet with acetaminophen or other drugs containing acetaminophen (e.g., other opioid combinations, over-the-counter analgesics/fever-reducers/cold and cough preparations).
  • Combining Percocet with other drugs, especially alcohol or benzodiazepines.
  • Having some other serious medical condition (e.g., liver disease, respiratory compromise).
  • Using Percocet in a way other than intended, such as snorting or injecting.

Can You Detox Yourself?

Yes, you can detox off Percocet yourself.
But should you?
Detox from Percocet is possible, especially if you have just started taking it and you know what to expect during detox and for how long. Nevertheless, for others who have taken Percocet for more than a few weeks, medical and specialized supervision is recommended. Supervision is safer for managed tapering protocols, minimizing complications, and making sure that you are 100% safe.
So, the best place to detox is in a detox clinic.

Where To Detox?

The best place to detox from Percocet is in a specialized detox clinics. The most effective known treatment includes a medical detox in an isolated recovery environment and follow up with long-term support. A variety of treatment options will be available including inpatient rehabs and outpatient care:

Inpatient treatment allows the recovering individual to stay for a duration of time at a live-in sober facility where they engage in regular therapy and counseling to understand the root causes of their addiction and to build up their sobriety skills. Inpatient programs typically offer 30-, 60-, and 90-day options.

Outpatient treatment programs also involve regular therapy and counseling, yet the individual continues to live at home throughout the treatment duration. These programs require a lot of self-motivation.

To supplement formal treatment, free self-help groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, are a great way to engage with a community of sober-minded peers.


Medication and talk therapy are the best combination to help you “cure” a drug problem.


Medications

Medications are available to help with the withdrawal process. However, remember, if you have an addiction to Percocet, medication alone is not “the cure”. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, behavioral therapies, counseling, education and treatment medications should all be used to change brain function and reduce cravings. Some of the medications currently used to treat Percocet problems include:
  • Buprenorphine
Buprenorphine works like methadone, but it does not require the same sort of oversight in clinics, and it has less potential for abuse. It can be prescribed to people who are in inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation programs, with a physician’s oversight to taper doses until the person has been successfully weaned off all opioids. Buprenorphine binds to the opioid receptors in the brain for longer than other opioid drugs, which helps to ease withdrawal symptoms and satisfy cravings without creating a “high.”
  • Clonidine
Although clonidine was developed to treat high blood pressure, it is often prescribed for people detoxing from an opioid addiction to help ease the fight-or-flight response in the brain. This medication may ease certain symptoms of withdrawal, such as sweating, restlessness, and anxiety.
  • Methadone

Methadone relieves withdrawal symptoms and helps with detox. It is also used as a long-term maintenance medicine for opioid dependence. After a period of maintenance, the dose may be decreased slowly over a long time. This helps reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Some people stay on methadone for years.

  • Lofexidine

Lofexidine hydrochloride (Lucemyra) is not an opioid but it can be used to ease the symptoms when there needs to be a rapid detoxification. It is for the mitigation of withdrawal symptoms to facilitate abrupt discontinuation of opioids in adults. While Lucemyra may lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms, it may not completely prevent them. It has been approved for use for up to 14 days.

  • Naltrexone

Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist, stops opiates like Vicodin from binding to the brain’s receptors. This medication is typically not used until after a person has successfully detoxed from their addiction. It is used instead as a method to help maintain sobriety by preventing opioid drugs taken during a relapse from having an effect.

  • Suboxone

Suboxone is another medication for Vicodin addiction treatment. This medication is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, which is designed to lower the potential for abuse. When ingested as prescribed, Suboxone’s buprenorphine component works on the brain to ease withdrawal symptoms and cravings; however, when crushed or abused in ways not as prescribed in order to get high, naloxone binds to the opioid receptors in the brain instead, stopping the uptake of all other opioids and sending the person into withdrawal.

Treating Common Symptoms

Below is a table that shows you Percocet withdrawal symptoms and how are they treated medically. Is important that you keep in mind that this information is not intended to replace the evaluation or the opinion of your
treating physician, because he can evaluate your condition and decide the best option for you to treat any of these symptoms. It is highly recommended that you do not self-medicate.

Source: Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. Withdrawal Management.

Do You Have Questions?

Do you want to know more about Percocet detox? Do you want to share our experience with Percocet detox? Please leave your comments and questions below. We will do our best to answer them quickly, with a personal response.
Reference Sources: CDC: Prescription opioid overdose data
DAILYMED: Percocet
FDA: Opioid medications
FDA: Percocet
MEDLINE PLUS: Opiate and opioid withdrawal
NCBI: Oxycodone/Acetaminophen (By mouth)
NIH: Misuse of prescription drugs
NIDA: Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction
NIDA: Principles of drug addiction treatment
SAMHSA: Medication and Counseling Treatment
SAMHSA: Treatments for Substance Use Disorders
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.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Goecke is a medical doctor and general surgeon with personal experience of...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

18 Comments

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  1. Hello:
    I have been on Percocet for 12 years due to several injuries and surgeries in combat and a motorcycle accident. I live with Percocet and I AM TIRED if this and want to stop. I DO NOT WANT TO LET MY DOCTOR KNOW IN CASE MY PAIN IS TO GREAT AND I DO IN FACT NEED THEM. I want to make a solid effort with the help of one of my friends and my wife. We just want to ask what OTC Drug will help with the pain in my hands and legs as I try to come off this drug. I have tried it and I know there has to be some drug that I can buy,. Please help

  2. I suffer from chronic migraine,fribromylga,cold,insomnia and I’m detoxing at home my question is if and when I finally fall asleep in my dreams I shake like crazy, when I wake up I’m physically shaking is it possible that I’m convulsing in my sleep?

    1. Hi Terrell. Experts claim that slowly lowering the dosage is a safer way to quit the drug. I suggest that you speak with a doctor to help you create an individualized tapering schedule.

  3. I take 5 Percocet aday and 2oxymorphones aday the Percocet is 10 milligrams and the. Oxy is 30milligrams. Each one !! The pain in my back and neck and knee calls for it so I can function. I been doing this for 3years now I wonder if I will be pain free if I stop? How do I get clean?

    1. Hi Steve. Experts claim that lowering the drug doses gradually is a safer way to quit them. So, I suggest you speak with a doctor to help you create an individualized tapering schedule.

  4. I bn on percocets for a year now for pain iv had several injuries now I suffer from ptsd and copd enphazemia disease I have heart problems and seizures and crohnes how can I deal with the painwith out them

    1. Hi Loretta. Have you talked with a professional expert in some pain clinic? Maybe, they will give you some alternative methods to relieve pain.

  5. I need a quick detox after a prostrate surgery and and have continued my use buying it over the Internet. I’m very frustrated and had about 20 years of aa
    ..can you help. I need to detox fast and back.to AA and My family. I’m a stock broker and can’t miss work

    1. Hello Hector. Depending on the detox method you choose, detoxing from Percocet can last from couple of days to a few weeks. There is a rapid Percocet detox, a detox process where you are put under anesthesia, and given medications to cleanse opiate receptors in the brain. This method usually lasts about two hours, and you are closely monitored over 24 to 48 hours.

  6. Hi Joyce. Physically cutting Percs are less exact than going to a pharmacist and getting a reduced dosage; can you ask for a new script from your prescribing doctor with a lower oxycodone dose?

  7. I have studied up on detoxing at home but I DID TELL my doctor. I was told that if I start from my regular dose and then cut the dose in half for a few days or so and then cut that dose in half and so on. I’ve heard from others with the same addiction that it worked great for them. Let me make myself clear tho, I have fibromyalgia and I deal with pain everyday and my doctor finally gave me the Pacific medcine for that along with coldine (spelled wrong sorry).I was only on percocet for aprox 6 months but took it every day twice a day so my body got dependent on it. I’ve never had to go through something like this. My question is breaking the Percocet down? Would that help weaning off the meds? Thank you, sincerely Joyce

  8. Hello Richard. When you stop using Percocet, the perception of pain can return. However, the process is different for everyone. Pain is a subjective experience. And when you do stop using opioids, you’ll need to find another method of managing pain. You’ll need to consult with a pain management doctor for suggestions and to create a tapering plan that will meet your individual needs.

  9. Hi John. Oxycodone appears on the “Extended opiates/opioid” test in urine for about 48 hours after last use…but up to about 4 days if you’re a heavy user. Blood tests usually don’t register oxycodone much past 24-48 hours after use.

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