Percocet is a prescription medication used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. The drug is a combination of the opioid-based oxycodone and the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). The two drugs are combined because acetaminophen enhances the pain-killing effects of oxycodone. Originally, Percocet was intended to treat short-term or acute pain. But now the medication is also used to treat chronic pain. Still, doctors most frequently prescribe Percocet to patients recovering from an injury or surgery. Like all opioid narcotics, Percocet carries a high risk of addiction and can lead to painful physical and mental symptoms known as Percocet withdrawal if a dependent user suddenly stops. People often abuse Percocet at high doses to achieve a feeling of euphoria — similar to the effects of heroin. Some users also crush the pills and snort the drug to increase its potency.

The Risks of Stopping Percocet Cold Turkey

Some people who become addicted to Percocet abruptly stop taking the drug–known as going cold turkey. This results in painful withdrawal symptoms including nausea, muscle aches, and diarrhea. While stopping Percocet without medical help is typically not life-threatening, it is a difficult and painful process. Some people often return to using Percocet to stop their painful withdrawal symptoms. At detox or drug rehab, clients can safely and comfortably withdraw from Percocet in a controlled setting.

Percocet versus Vicodin: What’s the Difference?

Both Percocet and Vicodin are medications that combine an opioid and acetaminophen to create a pain reliever. Percocet uses oxycodone while Vicodin contains hydrocodone. Of the two, Percocet is more potent. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies both Percocet and Vicodin as Schedule II-controlled substances. According to the DEA, Schedule II substances carry a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Percocet abuse can lead to liver damage

Sold without a prescription, acetaminophen is a relatively safe pain reliever, but it can cause liver damage if taken in extremely large doses. Because Percocet contains acetaminophen, people who abuse Percocet run the risk of damaging their livers. The effect is even more pronounced when people abuse Percocet with alcohol.

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Common Percocet Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Percocet Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of Percocet withdrawal vary depending on how long a person has been using the drug and how much they use. Percocet use affects the central nervous system, suppressing heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and body temperature. After prolonged use, the body becomes accustomed to the drug’s effects, leading to withdrawal symptoms when a user stops taking Percocet.

  • Anxiety
  • Body aches
  • Cold and hot flashes
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Goose bumps
  • Flu-like symptoms (coughing, runny nose, teary eyes)
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

Percocet Withdrawal Timeline

Percocet Withdrawal Timeline
    • Day 1-2

      Compared to other opioid painkillers, Percocet has a short half-life, which is the amount of time a drug takes to leave the body. People can begin to experience withdrawal symptoms about 12 hours after their last dose of Percocet. Most of the initial symptoms are physical including fever and body aches.


    • Days 3-5

      Withdrawal symptoms typically peak during this period. Many of the symptoms of the first two days remain while users may also experience nausea and diarrhea.


    • Days 6-7

      While the physical side-effects of withdrawal begin to subside, many psychological symptoms remain. Former users can experience depression, anxiety and strong cravings for the drug.


  • First Few Weeks

    Former Percocet users begin to recover as most symptoms fade. However, many experience Post Acute Withdrawals Symptoms (PAWS), which include cravings, depression, and irritability. Continued treatment can help former users through this period.

Percocet Detox and Treatment

Treating Percocet Withdrawal

How to Safely Withdrawal from Percocet

Health professionals recommend that people suffering from Percocet addiction seek drug treatment to safely go through the withdrawal process. At a drug rehab center, clients can wean themselves off Percocet in a controlled setting with medical help.

At a detox facility, clients can be given longer-acting opioids, such as suboxone, to ease withdrawal symptoms. The medications also can prevent cravings, but longer-acting nature of the drug does not result in a high.

Medications to Expect During Detox Treatment for Percocet Addiction

  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is an opioid analgesic, meaning it affects the same receptors as opioids, but it doesn’t create the same high. This drug is most commonly used to treat opioid dependence and comes in the form of a single tablet or dissolvable film.
  • Clonidine: Primarily a high-blood pressure medication, Clonidine can also be used to treat Percocet withdrawal. Clonidine can help ease anxiety and muscle cramps.
  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone is a once-a-day pill that blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioid drugs. The drug is also available in a once-monthly injectable form called Vivitrol.

Also, specific symptoms like nausea and depression also can be treated with medications.

Continue Treatment after Detox

Many former Percocet users experience Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) in the weeks after their last dose. Among the side-effects are depression, anxiety and drug cravings. For this reason, many health professionals recommend treatment at a drug rehab after users successfully withdrawal from Percocet. By attending either an inpatient or outpatient drug treatment program, clients can receive much-needed support during what can be a trying time. Many treatment centers offer clients Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) to help users deal with the underlying issues behind their drug abuse problem. Group therapy settings can also offer clients support from peers with similar problems.

Need Help Finding Treatment in Your Area? Drug Treatment Center Finder Can Help

Drug Treatment Center Finder has a database filled with drug rehabs in all 50 states. We can help you find a drug treatment center in your area. If you have questions on withdrawal detox and treatment, call our 24-hour hotline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our call agents will walk you through the addiction treatment process.

Percocet Withdrawal FAQs

Percocet Withdrawal Frequently Asked Questions
    • Can stopping Percocet cold turkey lead to death?

      People who abruptly stop using Percocet without medical help experience painful withdrawal symptoms, but they are typically not life-threatening. The risk of relapse is high during the withdrawal process because a return to use will temporarily alleviate the painful symptoms. At a detox or drug rehab, clients can safely withdrawal from Percocet without the risk of relapse.


    • How long do withdrawal symptoms last?

      Percocet withdrawal symptoms–including fever, chills, and body aches–typically start about 12 hours after the last dose and last about a week.



  • What’s the best way to get off Percocet?

    The best way to get off Percocet is to seek professional drug treatment and have a medical team supervise your withdrawal process. If you need help finding a drug rehab in your area, Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you begin your journey toward recovery. Call our 24-hour hotline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our call agents will be available to answer any questions you may have about Percocet addiction and the right treatment methods to pursue.