The blend of the opioid oxycodone and acetaminophen in Percocet makes this a unique drug—with overdose symptoms and side effects that separate it from other prescription drugs.
Percocet is the established brand name for the combination of two different substances: oxycodone and acetaminophen. Each of these compounds is considered a pain reliever but oxycodone is an opioid.
Oxycodone binds to opioid receptors in the brain to alleviate chronic pain. It is highly addictive and contributes to thousands of overdose deaths annually. Acetaminophen also reduces pain, discomfort, and fever.
The combination of the two makes it unique — with overdose symptoms and side effects that separate it from other prescription drugs.
Percocet Overdose Symptoms
Chasing a Percocet high puts people at high risk of an overdose. Several symptoms may manifest following Percocet misuse, including:
- Muscle weakness: can occur as limpness of the extremities or a full-body sluggishness.
- Difficult or uneven breathing: healthy lung activity is characterized by an even, uninterrupted rising and falling of the rib cage. Momentary lapses in this cycle are points of concern.
- Fatigue or stupor: beyond feeble muscle contraction comes to a state of mental exhaustion as well. A clear head is not likely in an overdose. Victims may be unable to summon help themselves.
- Nausea: this may be accompanied by vomiting or gagging. It might be impossible to keep food or liquids down for more than a few minutes, if at all.
- Cyanosis: leading to blue or purple coloration of lips and nails.
- Fainting spells or full coma: victims may collapse from a cumulative weakness of mind and body. At its worst, this could result in a full-fledged coma.
- Seizures and body spasms: these will be uncontrollable and often sporadic.
These symptoms are very similar to a traditional opioid overdose. The oxycodone component in Percocet is often the cause. Though, there are also differences when considering the overdose symptoms of acetaminophen as well:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Loss of appetite
- Painful stomach or abdominal region
- Profuse sweating or clammy skin
- Feelings of irritability or confusion
Neither overdose symptoms of oxycodone or acetaminophen should be discounted. Call 9111 and get victims to an emergency room immediately.
Percocet Overdose Side Effects
Side effects, substance use disorders, withdrawal symptoms, and overdose are all less likely with Percocet than with oxycodone. That being said, various outcomes can result from a Percocet overdose such as:
- Kidney failure
- Urinary infections
- Chronic constipation
- Tolerance and dependence
- Immune system problems
Perhaps the most significant lasting side effect of Percocet overdose is liver damage. Both active ingredients found in Percocet are harmful to the liver, but acetaminophen is especially dangerous.
Percocet Overdose Amount (mg)
For people not accustomed to or without a tolerance to opioids, as little as 40 mg of oxycodone could result in an overdose.Acetaminophen is what makes Percocet overdose such a concern. There has always been an inherent risk in mixing opioids with alcoholic beverages, but Percocet takes things to another level entirely. Acetaminophen and alcohol are a dangerous combination for the liver.
Percocet pills are usually capped off at 325 mg of acetaminophen each, and physicians strongly discourage taking any amount over 3,000 mg a day of acetaminophen. When left unchecked, acetaminophen is considered a hepatotoxic compound that creates permanent damage to the liver cells entirely. 7000 mg of acetaminophen means almost certain death for most people.
Percocet Overdose Treatment: What Happens if You Overdose
Physicians use an anti-opioid medication, naloxone, to suppress the effects of an opioid overdose. Naloxone blocks the opioid receptors in the brain allowing for it to reverse the effects of a Percocet overdose. However, this will only help for half of the problem, something must also be done to counteract the acetaminophen poisoning.
To do this, emergency medical practitioners can administer an antidote known as N-acetylcysteine. This compound is essential in preventing liver failure. The faster these substances are given to someone experiencing a Percocet overdose, the better chance they will have to survive this dangerous situation.
This risk of overdose increases as Percocet tolerance and abuse develops. The greatest Percocet overdose prevention is to only take Percocet as prescribed by a doctor. If you have developed an addiction to Percocet it’s important to seek treatment which may include drug detox, residential treatment and outpatient programs.
If you or a loved one are struggling with Percocet addiction treatment we can help. Contact The Recovery Village® to learn more about our evidence-based treatment programs.
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