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Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and Acetaminophen. Oxycodone is in a class of drugs called narcotic analgesics. Acetaminophen is a less potent pain reliever that increases the effects of oxycodone when taking in combination. Together, acetaminophen and oxycodone are used to relieve moderate-to-severe pain. It is considered an opiate.

It is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning it has a high potential for drug addiction and is only available by prescription from a licensed physician.

How Percocet Works
Oxycodone (the active ingredient in Percocet) is one of the most powerful medications for pain control that can be taken orally. Percocet tablets (oxycodone with acetaminophen) are routinely prescribed for post-operative pain control. Percocet is also used in treatment of moderate to severe chronic pain. When used at recommended doses for relatively short periods (several weeks), it provides effective pain control with manageable side effects.

According to the DEA and the companies that manufacture the drug, psychological addiction as a result of medical use is extremely rare. However, there are several lawsuits underway brought by plaintiffs who claim that they became addicted to the drug as a result of medical use. Tolerance and physical dependence occurs after several months of treatment, with larger doses being required to achieve the same degree of analgesia.

Percocet Addiction
Addiction is a major risk with prolonged use (over 2-3 weeks) of narcotics. Even moderate doses of some narcotics can result in a fatal overdose. When increasing doses of narcotics, the person may first feel restless and nauseous and then progress to loss of consciousness and abnormal breathing. Other risks include withdrawal symptoms that may last for months.

Addictive drugs activate the brain’s reward systems. The promise of reward is very intense, causing the individual to crave the drug and to focus his or her activities around taking the drug. The ability of addictive drugs to strongly activate brain reward mechanisms and their ability to chemically alter the normal functioning of these systems can produce an addiction. Drugs also reduce a person’s level of consciousness, harming the ability to think or be fully aware of present surroundings.

Side Effects of Percocet
The side effects of Percocet include but are not limited to:

  • an allergic reaction (difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives);
  • slow, weak breathing;
  • seizures;
  • cold, clammy skin;
  • severe weakness or dizziness;
  • unconsciousness;
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes; or
  • unusual fatigue, bleeding, or bruising.
  • constipation;
  • dry mouth, nausea, vomiting, or decreased appetite;
  • dizziness, tiredness, or lightheadedness;
  • muscle twitches;
  • sweating;
  • itching;
  • decreased urination; or
  • decreased sex drive.

Percocet Overdose
Symptoms of a Percocet overdose include slow breathing, seizures, dizziness, weakness, loss of consciousness, coma, confusion, tiredness, cold and clammy skin, small pupils, nausea, vomiting, and sweating.

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