What is Percocet withdrawal?

Percocet withdrawal is a cluster of symptoms that occur when your body is physically dependent on oxycodone and you decrease your dosage or stop taking Percocet completely. More on what withdrawal from Percocet is like and what to expect during Percocet withdrawal here.

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What happens during Percocet withdrawal?

Anxiety.  Depression. Increased heart rate.  How long Percocet withdrawal lasts depends on your individual dosing amount and frequency.  How long to be dependent on Percocet also varies by person.  Here, we review what happens in the body when you withdraw from Percocet (oxycodone) and why. We will also discuss how Percocet withdrawal feels and what you can do to help treat related symptoms. And then we invite your questions about withdrawing from Percocet at the end.

What is Percocet withdrawal syndrome?

Like other opiate based painkillers, Percocet works by interactings and attaching to the central nervous system opioid receptors. In this way, the main ingredient in Percocet (oxycodone) inhibits messages of pain that would normally get sent out to the rest of the body system. Likewise, oxycodone also suppresses the cough reflexes which is attached to the medulla. But when you take Percocet regularly over time and try to stop, you will go through withdrawal. Why?

Percocet dependence develops when you start getting used to the prescence of oxycodone in your system over a longer period of time. When this happens, the body gets used to Percocet in the body and needs it to function normally. Without it, the presence of withdrawal symptoms show up. So in this way, withdrawal is a way of bringing back body balance and helping the body to readapt without Percocet in the body.

What is withdrawal from Percocet like?

Withdrawal from Percocet is like having the flu and the stomach flu simultaneously. Severity and intensity of symptoms of withdrawal increase with prolonged use and higher doses. Plus, addiction to Percocet can make withdrawal not only painful but mentally unbearable. If you are trying to withdrawal from Percocet, the symptoms you may suffer the following outside flu like symptoms include:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • heart palpitations
  • flushed skin
  • increased heart rate
  • insomnia
  • irritation
  • restlessness
  • tingling and numbness of the limbs

What does Percocet withdrawal feel like?

Percocet withdrawal can feels like a sudden rush of sensations and feeling that were once held at bay by the Percocet have sudddenly been released. Symptoms can range from mild to severe and last for a few days to long after you have stopped taking Percocet, especially mental conditions such as anxiety and depression. You can expect to feel the effects of withdrawal a few hours after a missed dose of Percocet. Acute and harsher symptoms such as vomiting, chills, and tremors can last up to 10 days before evening out and giving you a sense of returning to normalcy.

What helps Percocet withdrawal?

Percocet withdrawal and detox can be hazardous, but are not usually life threatening. For this reason, it is helpful to seek professional medical help as you withdraw from Percocet. Plus, you can access prescription medications which treat symptoms of Percocet withdrawal when you seek medical advice. For those addicted to Percocet, being monitored during withdrawal is even more helpful as it decrease your cravings to search, find and take oxycodone. This gives your body more time to withdraw from Percocet without the possibility of a quick relapse.

Three current possible treatments for Percocet withdrawal include: tapering, medications, and home remedies.

1. Tapering Percocet doses – Tapering is a standard medical process used to slowly wean a person off opioids like Percocet. Tapering is a method of decreasing your Percocet doses over a period of days and weeks. This helps reduce the presence or severity of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Hopefully, tapering Percocet dosage can help you feel the least amount of symptoms as possible. In general, Percocet should be tapered 10% weekly or slower depending on your personal development of tolerance. Then reduce the dose 20% every 3-5 days. Then again 25% every week. This regime continues til there are minuscule traces of oxycodone in the body. Note here that it is important to avoid large decreases in Percocet dosage in order to lessen the severity withdrawal symptoms. This may take a long time but you will eventually be able to go cold turkey off Percocet with minimal discomfort.

2. Medications for Percocet withdrawal – There are many different drugs that doctors may prescribe to help ease withdrawal symptoms as you come off Percocet. The more common ones include; Clonidine (reduces anxiety, agitation, vomiting/diarrhea) Buprenorphine (can shorten the time frame of detox),anti-diarrhea medications, and antidepressants. If you would like a more extensive list that aid opiate withdrawal please refer to our article about opiate withdrawal drug treatments.  Keep in mind that it is not advised that you switch to other opiates to help with Percocet withdrawal as you run the risk of transferring dependence from one drug to another and can even trigger respiratory depression or other opiate overdose symptoms.

3.Home remedies – Home remedies for Percocet withdrawal address the actual withdrawal symptoms themselves. There are many household aids to aid withdrawal symptoms. For example, you can increase fluids and stick to bland food for a while. Exercise and staying busy can help with craving and psychological distress. Over-the-counter medications can address the achiness and flu-like symptoms. But as you look into NSAIDs (non steroid anti-inflammatory drugs), be careful nothing is counter indicative and won’t harm the detox process. Speak with a pharmacist about your options. Heating pads help with pain and abdominal cramps. Cold packs and showers can help regulate fluctuation in body temperature. There are also varies anecdotal evidence of various remedies working. But be sure to check with your doctor before trying any suggested “herbal” or “natural” detox remedies. Medical supervision is really the best way to withdraw from Percocet.

Questions about Percocet withdrawal

Are you asking yourself, “How do I stop taking Percocet“?  Do you still have a question about Percocet or withdrawal? We invite you to ask any questions you make have regarding Percocet withdrawal. We promise to answer your question as soon as we are able or to refer you to someone who can.

Reference Sources: SAMHSA: Abrupt withdrawal from Pain Medication
Medline Plus: Opiate Withdrawal
SAMHSA: Medication-Assisted treatment of opioid 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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