What is in Percocet: Oxycodone / Paracetamol Combination

In recent years there has been a great deal of national and even international attention on prescription drugs, particularly when they fall into the opioid category.  Opioids include prescription drugs used for pain such as Percocet and Vicodin, as well as illicit street drugs like heroin. People often have questions about these drugs such as what’s in Percocet.

It’s important to educate yourself about these details of these drugs, particularly if you’ve been prescribed one, or you think a loved one who is abusing these drugs.

What is in Percocet: Oxycodone / Paracetamol Combination
So what is in Percocet? It’s a combination of oxycodone and paracetamol, which is the generic name of a drug found in Tylenol and also called acetaminophen.

First, we’ll cover the oxycodone component of Percocet.

Oxycodone, as mentioned, is an opioid that is considered semi-synthetic because it’s chemically manufactured but is derived from an alkaloid found in the opium poppy. Oxycodone is considered relatively powerful among narcotic pain relievers, and it was first developed in Germany in 1917 as a way to improve on the opioids that were available at the time.

It is possible to find oxycodone not only combined with paracetamol but also as a single-ingredient medication, which can be prescribed as immediate release and controlled-release versions. In addition to being combined with paracetamol, oxycodone can also be combined with NSAIDs which include aspirin and ibuprofen.

Opioids, in general, create a euphoric high when people take them, and this includes the prescription drugs like oxycodone. When you take oxycodone, which is the primary active ingredient in Percocet, particularly at higher doses, you will often experience not only euphoria but also relaxation and general feelings of well-being.

Along with euphoria, taking opioids changes the way you perceive pain, and this class of drugs also depresses the respiratory system because of the effects on the central nervous system.

Opioids have a high potential for addiction and abuse because once you’ve experienced the high they create, your brain’s reward system thinks it wants to repeat that stimulus that led to the feeling. Even when people are taking prescription opioids like Percocet, there is the possibility they can become addicted to them.

There’s also the issue of physical dependence with Percocet and other opioids. Eventually, your brain and body start to feel as if the presence of the Percocet is normal, and not having it is abnormal. This means when you don’t take it your body goes into a type of shock. This is why people experience withdrawal symptoms.

When someone gets a prescription for Percocet, it’s available in several different oxycodone dosages.

Also included in Percocet is paracetamol also known as acetaminophen. This is a non-prescription and noncontrolled substance that is the primary active ingredient in over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol.

Acetaminophen effects the COX and prostaglandins in the brain, which are chemicals. When someone takes acetaminophen, it impacts these brain chemicals, and so the prostaglandins that cause pain are no longer being produced. Therefore, it reduces pain as well as fever, but differently than opioids.

When someone takes Percocet, they are getting the pain-killing advantages of both substances. Acetaminophen stops the production of prostaglandins that cause pain, and oxycodone relieves pain that’s felt in the nervous system. At the same time, there is a narcotic effect of oxycodone as well as the pain relieving effects, and this is when the oxycodone creates endorphins that don’t eliminate pain, but instead mask how it’s felt.

Over time the continual use of Percocet not only contributes to abuse and addiction, but it also prevents the brain’s natural production of endorphins, and the person’s brain and body are dependent on the presence of the oxycodone to create endorphins.

So, what’s in Percocet is a combination of two primary active ingredients: oxycodone and acetaminophen or paracetamol. It is a powerful painkiller, but it does have quite a few risks associated with its use as well. In addition to the risks that come along with opioids in general, the excessive use of acetaminophen can cause liver damage as well.

It’s important for people to know what’s in Percocet before taking it to understand how it works and the risks.

What is in Percocet: Oxycodone / Paracetamol Combination
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