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Percocet Withdrawal And Detox: Signs, Symptoms, And Timeline

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

May 16, 2019

Percocet is a highly addictive prescription opioid. Abusing Percocet can result in physical dependence and addiction. When someone is dependent on this drug, he or she will experience withdrawal symptoms that may include flu-like symptoms and muscle pain.

Percocet is a prescription medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. This drug is made up of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Both of these ingredients act as pain relievers.

Oxycodone is a potent drug that is part of the opioid family. As with other opioids, Percocet comes with the risk of abuse, dependence, and addiction. Abusing this medication can result in a tolerance to be built up. Tolerance to Percocet often leads individuals to consume more of the drug to experience the same effects.

Taking more and more Percocet as a result of tolerance can cause physical dependence and addiction to the drug. People who are addicted to or dependent on Percocet will likely experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. Percocet withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable to debilitating.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Percocet Withdrawal?

Oxycodone, an active ingredient in Percocet, binds to opioid receptors in the brain. Opioids work by changing how the brain perceives pain to reduce feelings of pain. However, opioids also affect the brain’s reward system.

When a person abuses Percocet for an extended period of time, the brain becomes reliant on the opioid to function properly. Opioids cause the brain to release excess levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine. When someone stops taking Percocet, the brain doesn’t release the same level of neurotransmitters. This can result in a number of withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can begin a few hours after the last dose of Percocet is taken. Symptoms of withdrawal may include:

  • sweating
  • restlessness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • tremors
  • confusion
  • headaches
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • flu-like symptoms
  • insomnia
  • increased heart rate
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • diarrhea

Percocet withdrawal symptoms typically don’t happen all at once. They tend to happen gradually as a person progresses through the stages of detoxification.

Percocet Withdrawal Timeline

Symptoms of opioid withdrawal typically happen along a general timeline. The stages of withdrawal include early, peak, and late stages. Symptoms tend to begin milder and increase in intensity as time goes by.

The following is the typical timeline of Percocet withdrawal:

  • Six to 10 hours after the last dose — Symptoms of Percocet withdrawal typically set in six to 10 hours after the last dose is taken. These symptoms are milder and include flu-like symptoms, irritability, muscle pain, and sweating.
  • Thirty-six to 72 hours after the last dose — Symptoms tend to hit their peak two to three days after quitting the drug. Peak symptoms during this time may include nausea and vomiting, depression, increased heart rate, and insomnia.
  • Five to 10 days after the last dose — Percocet withdrawal symptoms tend to clear up a week to 10 days after stopping the medication. Individuals may still feel fatigued and mildly sick, but the majority of physical symptoms have passed by this point.

Cravings and other post-acute withdrawal symptoms (PAWS) can continue for several weeks or months after quitting Percocet. Many treatment programs address PAWS and teach individuals how to deal with these symptoms.

Percocet Detox Programs

Percocet withdrawal symptoms can be incredibly uncomfortable. Many people continue to take the drug to avoid dealing with the withdrawal process. A detox program can help individuals successfully quit Percocet by providing support and medical assistance.

Many detox programs offer medication to ease symptoms of withdrawal. This can improve a person’s chances of getting off the drug. A detox program will also provide a safe and comfortable environment with round-the-clock care.

Treatment For Percocet Abuse And Addiction

Formal treatment programs like an inpatient program are often seen as the most successful approach to beating Percocet addiction. Many people who complete a detox program will transition into inpatient treatment.

Inpatient treatment offers intensive and daily treatment for substance use disorders like Percocet addiction. These programs often incorporate a number of different therapies and other forms of addiction treatment.

To learn more about the symptoms and timeline of Percocet withdrawal, contact a treatment specialist today.

MedlinePlus - Opiate and Opioid Withdrawal

WebMD - Percocet

American Society of Addiction Medicine - Opioid Addiction

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