Percocet vs. Vicodin for Pain: What is the Difference?

Many pain medications are available by prescription, and they differ from one another in many ways. While the primary similarity is their ability to fight pain, the ingredients and effects are often different. Two of the more commonly prescribed painkillers include Percocet and Vicodin. These drugs also happen to be highly abused as well.

There are quite a few similarities when comparing Percocet vs. Vicodin, and some differences as well.

Before specifically comparing Percocet vs. Vicodin for pain, it’s important to consider the individual features of each of these prescription drugs.

Percocet is a combination of oxycodone, which is a semi-synthetic opiate, and acetaminophen. There are varying strengths and dosage options available with Percocet, and it’s prescribed when people experience moderate to severe pain. There is a high likelihood of abuse and addiction with Percocet since it is an opiate, and when people take it, particularly in larger doses, they can experience a euphoric high.

Along with euphoria, Percocet can also create extreme relaxation, which people find a pleasant sensation as well.

Vicodin is a combination medicine that includes an opioid element (hydrocodone) and acetaminophen. Also much like Percocet, Vicodin acts on the brain’s opioid receptors and changes the way the person responds to pain and creates euphoria and relaxation.

With both Percocet and Vicodin, acetaminophen is included, which is one way they’re similar, and the benefit of having this medication is to improve the pain-relieving effects of these drugs. There are options for doctors to prescribe hydrocodone and oxycodone without acetaminophen, but this practice is not as common.

One of the primary questions people have when looking at Percocet vs. Vicodin for pain is, “Which drug is more effective?” The general consensus is that Percocet is stronger and therefore may have more effective pain-relieving capabilities, but may also be more addictive. Vicodin tends to be less potent than Percocet. However, both Percocet and Vicodin are classified as Schedule II controlled substances.

Since Percocet is stronger, it also creates a more pronounced high, which is another reason it may be more likely to lead to abuse, even when it’s taken as prescribed.

Some studies show that even though Percocet may be more likely to lead to abuse, the pain-relieving effects are very similar between it and Vicodin, which leads doctors to tend to want to prescribe Vicodin over Percocet in a lot of instances.

There are currently no forms of Vicodin or Percocet that are available in abuse-deterrent versions.

Also relevant to the conversation of Percocet vs. Vicodin is whether or not either drug could be used for long-term treatment of pain. The answer is that both are meant for short-term use unless they’re being given for chronic cancer pain. No opioid pain relievers are meant for long-term use for chronic non-cancer pain, and they should be used as the last resort for pain that’s moderate to severe and hasn’t responded to other pain medicines.

Recommendations state that non-narcotic pain relievers are preferential over narcotic pain medicines, which is a category that includes both Vicodin and Percocet.

When looking at side effect and considering Percocet vs. Vicodin, it’s pretty similar between both. Side effects of both are similar to any opioid medication, and they can include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and drowsiness, although constipation may be more likely to occur with hydrocodone.

There are some differences in Percocet vs. Vicodin when it comes to potential interactions. If someone is on antidepressants, they are more likely to be prescribed Percocet, because Vicodin can cause adverse reactions if combined with antidepressants. Also, the risk of liver issues is higher with Percocet than it is with Vicodin.

Regarding the cost of Percocet vs. Vicodin, both are brand-name drugs, and they are expensive compared to the generic options.

So, to sum up, with Percocet vs. Vicodin, both are very similar in how they treat pain and also in their side effects. The primary difference is the fact that Percocet is slightly stronger than Vicodin.

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