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Because the addictive ingredient in Percocet® (oxycodone and acetaminophen) is related to morphine, the symptoms of Percocet withdrawal are similar. The severity of the symptoms depends on how long someone has been using (Percocet or a similar narcotic) and how high their daily dose is.
The manufacturer recommends that anyone who has been taking Percocet regularly (four times daily) for “more than a few weeks” should be weaned off the drug to prevent Percocet withdrawal symptoms. The tapering off period is two weeks, with a gradual decrease of dosage as recommended by a physician.
Symptoms of Percocet withdrawal
Although one sign of addiction is withdrawal, even those who are taking the medication properly and are not addicted will experience Percocet withdrawal if they have built up a physical tolerance to the drug.
Regular use of any opioid will create a physical dependence over time.
The symptoms of Percocet withdrawal are:
- Yawning – unrelated to boredom or sleep.
- Anxiety and increased heart rate and blood pressure.
- Restlessness and irritability – an inability to sit still or relax.
- Muscle aches or tremor.
- Watery eyes, nose, and excessive salivation.
- Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting.
- Temperature regulation problems – sweating alternating with chills.
There is a crossover from physical symptoms to psychological - for instance, anxiety and depression. Drug seeking and an inability to focus, except on obtaining more is considered a psychological symptom, but it is driven by physical withdrawal. For those addicted, psychological symptoms will outlast the physical symptoms.
How long does Percocet withdrawal last?
Symptoms will start in 12 to 24 hours from the last dose. They usually peak at 48 to 72 hours and then lessen. The total time for Percocet withdrawal to be completed varies somewhat depending on the level of tolerance built up.
The standard detox for Percocet at an inpatient drug treatment facility would last about a week. Again, this only addresses the physical dependence. If someone is truly addicted to narcotics, the treatment can be life-long. Addicts are considered to be in remission or recovery, not cured.
photo by Klaus Post