Drug abuse in the United States increases every year, specifically for prescription drugs. While some people view prescription drugs as safer than illegal substances, they can be just as dangerous and put users at risk for serious health concerns and overdose. Even at prescribed doses, medications like Percocet can be addictive. However, at larger doses and when used recreationally, Percocet is more dangerous.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is a powerful opioid medication, prescribed to patients suffering from moderate to severe pain related to injury, surgery and other acute illnesses. Percocet combines oxycodone — a powerful opioid painkiller medication with effects similar to that of morphine in large doses — and acetaminophen, which is a mild pain reliever and fever-reducer. This combination increases the potency of Percocet and makes the drug more dangerous when abused.

How Does Percocet Work?

Percocet is a fast-acting combination of a narcotic and opioid. It provides immediate relief within minutes of use, although full effects may take an hour or more. Percocet directly affects the central nervous system, blocking pain receptors in the central nervous system and altering how the brain responds to pain. In higher doses, Percocet produces a state of euphoria and extreme relaxation in users.

Medically, it is prescribed over an extended period of time. However, it is not uncommon for abusers to crush the pill and snort it for immediate effects. Altering the intended form of Percocet can result in life-threatening consequences because it can release too much of the drug at once and increase the risk of overdose.

Physical Side Effects of Percocet Use and Addiction

Percocet, like many abused prescription drugs, eventually takes a toll on the mind and body when used in excess. Unlike addiction on some illegal street drugs, Percocet addiction can be more discrete. Users may function normally depending on the severity of abuse. However, there are some signs indicating possible addiction. Some of the most common abuse symptoms include:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Swelling
  • Yellow skin
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Slow breathing

Percocet Allergy and Itchy Skin

Percocet, like other medications with opioid influences, may cause a user to experience itching and skin irritations from an allergic reaction or neurotransmitter stimulation. Prior to using Percocet or any other medication, it is important to know if you are allergic and be able to identify when you are having an adverse reaction.

When having an allergic reaction to medication like Percocet, the body produces an excess of antibodies meant to release chemicals in the body. These chemicals can immediately cause allergy symptoms in the sinuses and lungs, along with swelling of the lips, mouth and throat. Percocet medication may also delay immune responses in the skin, resulting in an itchy sensation or a rash.

Percocet and other opioid drugs may also trigger itching sensations. Though there is no cure for the itching sensation.

Physical Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

Users who have consumed Percocet over an extended period of time are at an increased risk of becoming dependent on the drug. The brain and the body will no longer be able to function without it, and abruptly quitting Percocet can cause uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. The most common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Mood changes
  • Nausea
  • Muscle pains
  • Runny eyes or nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Goosebumps
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Fever

If users have a severe addiction, medical professionals advise against quitting Percocet cold turkey. Immediate removal of the drug from a user’s system can intensify withdrawal symptoms. It is recommended users gradually taper off the drug to minimize the withdrawal pains.

Long-Term Physical Effects of Percocet Addiction

Other than experiencing painful withdrawal symptoms, Percocet users risk developing other health conditions from prolonged use. Long-term effects of Percocet include:

  • Liver toxicity
  • Kidney failure
  • Severe constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Worsening pain
  • Infection
  • Respiratory failure
  • Overdose

If you or someone you know is struggling with opiate addiction, don’t hesitate in seeking help. Resources like The Recovery Village are available to guide you through finding a treatment plan that best suits your needs. Supported by our team of trained medical professionals, you will be able to develop the skills necessary to live a safer, and healthier life.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.