How much Percocet is too much?

How much Percocet is too much usually limited by how much acetaminophen you can take daily. In general, Percocet is easy to overdose on, and needs to be taken only as directed by a doctor. More on Percocet overdose, acetaminophen poisoning, and safe dosing here.

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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
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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