Percocet Half-Life: How Long Does it Stay in Your System
Percocet is a powerful opioid that’s a controlled substance, so it’s only available by prescription. When someone takes Percocet, which also contains acetaminophen in addition to oxycodone (the opioid component), it changes how the person perceives pain.
When you take Percocet, the opioid component (oxycodone) binds to the opioid receptors in your central nervous system. This action releases a flood of dopamine that is responsible for not only changing the sensation of pain you experience but, in some cases, it also creates a euphoric high and a pleasurable sense of relaxation and well-being.
Because of that euphoria, people may not use Percocet to treat pain, but may exclusively use it to achieve the high.
Percocet is intended to be taken orally only, but people who abuse the drug may chew it or crush the tablets and snort them for a stronger effect that arrives quicker.
Percocet use has a high likelihood of leading to dependence and abuse because of how it affects the brain of the user. Once you take it and it triggers the release of a large amount of dopamine, your brain’s reward center thinks it should try to continue seeking it out as a way to continue that feeling. Even after using Percocet just a few times, people can become addicted because it rewires their brain, and pushes them to keep seeking the drug.
Understanding Percocet half-life is relevant for a few different reasons. First, you may want to know the Percocet half-life because you want to see how long it would take to clear from your system. People may also be interested in Percocet’s half-life to understand safe dosages and how much they can take without jeopardizing their health or overdosing. The Percocet half-life may also be relevant because you might be wondering when withdrawal symptoms would occur.
So what is Percocet’s half-life?
The drug’s half-life is estimated to be 3.5 hours. However, the range varies. On average, it would take the oxycodone component of Percocet more than 19 hours to fully clear the drug from your system. The half-life of acetaminophen is significantly less than the oxycodone and is around two to three hours.
For most people, the majority of both oxycodone and acetaminophen will be cleared from their system within 24 hours, although in rare cases it could take longer.
However, it should be noted that while Percocet may be eliminated within a day, some metabolites can linger and take more than two days to be fully excreted.
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Also, if you take Percocet more often, such as several times a day, it’s going to take longer for it to be fully excreted because you will have accumulated more in your body than someone who has taken it infrequently. The more you take it, the more effect it may have on your liver and kidney function as well, which can mean it takes longer to be fully excreted.
When you take Percocet, your gastrointestinal tract initially absorbs it, and peak levels of oxycodone in your blood are reached within about an hour. The effects are felt for anywhere from four to six hours. The kidneys usually excrete oxycodone and the lingering metabolites.