Tolerance to Percocet

Tolerance to Percocet does not occur for everyone. So when do you develop tolerance and what are Percocet tolerance symptoms? We explore here.

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Is your body Percocet-tolerant?

Are you having to take more Percocet (oxycodone) in order for it to work? Does Percocet no longer work when you take it? If so, you may have developed a tolerance to Percocet.  But does this mean that you should start to treat Percocet addiction… and how is increased tolerance to Percocet different than Percocet dependence?  Plus, do you have to go through Percocet detox to change the way your body reacts to oxycodone?

In this article, we take a close look at what Percocet tolerance is, how long it takes to develop tolerance and who develops tolerance. We invite questions about Percocet tolerance (which we answer) at the end of this article.

Developing tolerance to Percocet

If you take Percocet daily, doctors expect your body to become dependent on oxycodone for normal functioning. But over a period of time, tolerance may also start to develop. This may mean you have to up your doses or take Percocet more often in order to feel is therapeutic effects. Most people develop a tolerance to Percocet with time. Others may have a natural tolerance to oxycodone and not be able to take Percocet from the beginning. But how do you know if you’re tolerant to Percocet effects, or not?

Percocet tolerance symptoms

There are two common symptoms that can indicate a developed tolerance to Percocet.

1. When you take Percocet, no therapeutic effects occur. The pain relief you are supposed to feel is not present. Likewise, if you are taking Percocet recreationally, increased tolerance would manifest as no euphoric effect.

2. Your physician has to increase doses amount or frequency in order to maintain the opioid effect of pain relief.

If you are finding that these symptoms apply to you, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean you are addicted to Percocet. Instead, these are only indicators that the effects of Percocet no longer work for you. While tolerance, dependence, and addiction can be present simultaneously, each condition is a separate and different entity.

Percocet tolerance: How long?

Percocet tolerance is different for everyone. But, because of the potency of opioid analgesics, you can develop a tolerance to Percocet over the course of 2-3 weeks of continual use. If you are using Percocet for recreational purposes, this pathway to tolerance may be significantly shorter. If your Percocet tolerance continues to increase or if you already have a high tolerance to Percocet, you may want to talk to your doctor about switching to another pain medication alternative to mitigate breakthrough pain you may experience.

High tolerance to Percocet

According to Percocet labels, adults should not exceed 12 immediate-release Percocet tablet pills per day. If you are taking more than 12 tablets a day under prescription, you have a high tolerance to Percocet. But keep in mind that at times, doctors may prescribe higher doses than normally considered. Therefore, these numbers are a rough estimate for high tolerance.

How to lower tolerance to Percocet

You can lower your tolerance to Percocet but it is important to note that you cannot lower tolerance to your original base level. In other words, there will always be a level of maintained tolerance as long as you are taking Percocet. If you want to lower your tolerance, the best way to do so is to seek a doctor’s supervision. Then, you can cut back on the amount and/or frequency with which you take Percocet. Some call this a “medication holiday”. That is, they stop taking Percocet for a while to give the body time to lower its tolerance.

Additionally, some people may have a naturally high tolerance to Percocet and have a more difficult time lowering their tolerance to the medication. This can be difficult because when you stop taking Percocet or lower your does the presence of the symptoms it was treating may arise. Or withdrawal can occur. Keep a line of open communication with your doctor during times when you want to make Percocet more effective. MDs can help you figure out the best possible situation for your pain and examine possible alternatives.

Building up tolerance to Percocet questions

Some worry that as they start to develop a tolerance to Percocet, this means they are becoming addicted. This isn’t the case. Tolerance simply means that your body has adapted to the presence of oxycodone and does not react to its chemical cues. That can render Percocet ineffective or lower its therapeutic effects. You can develop tolerance simply by taking Percocet over a length of time or by having a natural tendency to tolerate oxycodone in the system.

Do you still have questions about Percocet tolerance? Please share your questions and experiences with Percocet in the comments below.

Reference Sources: FDA: Percocet 
NCBI: Cellular neuroadaptations to chronic opioids: tolerance, withdrawal and addiction
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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