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Percocet (Oxycodone) Detection Time: How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

Debra Wallace, MA.Ed, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

Medically reviewed by

Debra Wallace, MA.Ed, LPCC-S, LICDC-CS

February 18, 2019

Percocet can be detected in your system for 48 hours after last use, depending on the type of test. Medical detox and treatment is available for those struggling with Percocet abuse and addiction.

Percocet is a combination medication, made up of a semi-synthetic opioid (oxycodone) and a mild pain reliever (acetaminophen). Percocet is prescribed in tablet form and is used to treat severe pain for a short amount of time.

Percocet can be detected in a person’s system for up to 48 hours. The half-life of Percocet is about 3.5 hours, which means that after that time, about half of the dose will be cleared from a person’s system.

A number of factors contribute to the exact amount of time that Percocet stays in a person’s system. Detection time can also vary from person to person, like age, body mass index, and health status should be taken into account.

How Is It Metabolized?

As a combination of pain medication, Percocet is metabolized by the liver. Once a person ingests the tablet, their body begins to break it down into agents called metabolites. This happens about two hours after use.

Certain tests can now detect metabolites in a person’s system, even if the Percocet detection window has passed.

If a person uses Percocet regularly, traces of the drug are stored in the fatty tissue of the body. This can result in a longer detection time for oxycodone.

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Percocet (Oxycodone) Detection Time

Although Percocet (oxycodone) can remain in a person’s system for up to 48 hours, one study found the detection window was shorter among people who do not use the drug regularly (about 30 hours).

Peak concentrations of Percocet (oxycodone) are found in the body between three and 19 hours after use. Individuals who take Percocet will experience the drug’s effects within the first few hours after use.

Oxycodone, also known as oxycontin, can cause drowsiness, euphoria, itching, nausea, and vomiting. As peak levels of the drug decrease in the bloodstream, these effects begin to fade.

Because Oxycodone is an opioid, tolerance is built very quickly. This means a person will need higher and higher doses in order to get the same effect.

Opioids like Percocet are associated with high levels of abuse and addiction, due in part to this high level of tolerance.

Drug Test Types That Detect Percocet (Oxycodone)

To combat rising rates of abuse, some of the actions workplaces are now taking indlude testing for Percocet (oxycodone) and other semi-synthetic opioids in their drug screenings. There are several types of tests that can detect Percocet in an individual’s system.


By far the most common form of drug screening, urine tests can confirm Percocet in the urine for 48 hours following use. However, basic urine screenings (like immunoassay tests) may miss semi-synthetic opioids like Percocet.

More advanced urine screenings (such as gas chromatography or mass spectrometry) are more sensitive and can report semi-synthetic opioid use more accurately.


Percocet can be detected in the blood for about a day. However, more advanced drug screenings can confirm the metabolites of Percocet (oxycodone), not just the drug itself. This could result in longer detection time from the test.


As with most drugs, Percocet (Oxycodone) is detectable in the hair for an extended period of time. That said, hair testing is typically used to detect heavy, long-term use patterns, and may not be accurate for testing short-term use.

Factors That Influence How Long Percocet (Oxycodone) Is In Your System

In addition to the type of drug test used, several factors can influence how long Percocet stays in your system.

Percocet detection time can be impacted by factors such as:

  • age: The older a person is, the slower their metabolism. Detection time lengthens with age, as it takes the liver longer to process toxins like Percocet (oxycodone).
  • amount taken: Small or infrequent doses of Percocet will be metabolized faster than regular doses. Excess Percocet is stored in fatty tissues of the body and could be detected for a longer period of time.
  • body mass index (BMI): A person’s height and weight determines the amount of fatty tissue in their body, which is where traces of the drug can be stored.
  • overall health: A person’s overall health contributes to their metabolism and organ functions, including the liver. As systems of the body deteriorate, the detection time is lengthened.

How To Get Percocet (Oxycodone) Out Of Your System/Body

Detoxing from Percocet and other opioids can be a difficult process. Because the body quickly develops a tolerance to this medication, it’s easy to become physically dependent.

When a person is physically dependent on Percocet, their system requires the drug in order to function normally. This dependence leads many people to begin to take more than directed, which is abuse.

If a person is unable to obtain their regular dose of the drug — for example, if they run out of a prescription early — the body may begin to exhibit uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

The safest way to get Percocet or any other drug out of your system is to manage withdrawal symptoms in a medical detox program. Doctors may introduce a tapering schedule, where you take smaller and smaller amounts of the drug.

Medical detox programs also use medication-assisted treatment, such as naloxone or naltrexone, to help alleviate oxycodone withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse.

Abuse And Addiction

In recent years, semi-synthetic opioid addiction has skyrocketed. We know that these drugs can cause temporary pain relief, but are associated with long-term abuse and addiction patterns.

Many people that become addicted to opioids were prescribed the medication for a legitimate medical condition. Unfortunately, opioid abuse is now considered an epidemic: 115 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day.

Because of the physical dependence that this drug creates, people suffering from Percocet addiction may cycle between the high of relieved pain and an agonizing withdrawal period.

Treatment Will Help Your Addiction

Of the millions of Americans that are affected by Percocet addiction, only a small percent choose to get help. If you or someone you love is struggling with Percocet dependence, help is available in the form of inpatient treatment.

Inpatient rehab centers provide a stable, drug-free environment for those new in recovery from Percocet (Oxycodone). In addition to medication-assisted treatment, clients are provided with detox therapies, individual and group counseling, and nutrition and wellness care.

To learn more about Percocet detection time and medical detox, contact one of our specialists today.

Centers for Disease Control - Urine Drug Testing

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Opioid Overdose Crisis

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - Oxycodone and Hydrocodone: Detection in Urine, Oral Fluid, and Blood

U.S National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health - Prescription opioids. I. Metabolism and excretion patterns of oxycodone in urine following controlled single dose administration.

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