Percocet is a prescription medication used in treatment to address moderate to severe pain. Percocet is made of two primary active ingredients. The first is oxycodone, which is a semi-synthetic opioid and the second is acetaminophen.
The oxycodone component of Percocet works by binding to the brain’s opioid receptors. The acetaminophen portion inhibits and blocks the production of chemical messengers called prostaglandins, which transmit pain signals. Although Percocet is used for pain relief the effects of the two major components can produce a high and deep relaxation. These effects are why Percocet has a high potential for abuse, even when taken as prescribed by a doctor. Percocet’s acetaminophen component also increases the risk of overdose, as an overdose of oxycodone can have the same liver toxicity as an acetaminophen overdose.
How Long Does Percocet Last?
So, how long does Percocet last? This can depend on some individual factors.
For many people, particularly if they’re just starting to take Percocet, the drug typically takes effect within about 20 to 30 minutes after taking a dose, at least in terms of feeling the pain-relieving effects of the acetaminophen. The effects of the oxycodone component of Percocet may take longer to be felt, and in most people occur within 30 to 40 minutes. Most people experience the peak of Percocet within 30 to 60 minutes of taking it.
If you have developed a tolerance to Percocet, the pain-relieving effects may be shorter, and you may feel less pronounced effects than you did when you first started taking the drug.
People are instructed to take Percocet no more than every four to six hours as directed, which provides some indication as to how long Percocet lasts. Most people report that the pain-relieving effects of Percocet last for several hours.
How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?
As well as considering how long does Percocet last, many people may also wonder how long it stays in your system. The half life of Percocet is a combination of the half-life of oxycodone and the half-life of acetaminophen. The half-life of oxycodone is estimated to be around 4 hours, so to fully clear it will take just over 19 hours. The half-life of acetaminophen is around three hours and will clear around 17 hours. For a majority of people, Percocet will be fully eliminated from their system within 24 hours.
There are other factors that also play a role in how long Percocet lasts and how long it stays in your system.
These individual factors include your age, body mass index, whether or not you took it with food or water, your health and organ function, and your metabolic rate.
Understanding how long Percocet stays in your system can be important if you are concerned about withdrawal symptoms.
When taking Percocet, particularly over the long-term, the chances of building tolerance, dependence and addiction increase. When you take Percocet, particularly for an extended period, it can also create problems with how your body produces endorphins, which can lead to more pain problems than you had before using the drug.
Percocet comes as a tablet that’s meant to be taken orally. However, when people abuse the drug, they may chew, crush, snort or dissolve the tablets in water and inject them, as this causes the effects to be felt more rapidly. When people take Percocet in any way other than orally as directed, they also increase their chances of becoming addicted.
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