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Percocet Addiction, Withdrawal | Oxycodone Side Effects, Alternatives, Tapering

Last Updated on August 22, 2022 by Carol Gillette

Alternative to Meds Editorial Team
Medically Reviewed by Dr Michael Loes MD

Percocet withdrawal (generic equivalent oxycodone and acetaminophen) done well can radically change your life for the better. Percocet was a synthetic compound of acetaminophen and oxycodone. It was FDA approved in 1999 for the relief of moderate to moderately severe pain.

Percocet and similar drugs carry a high risk for addiction and have been the focus of efforts by the DEA and other regulators to reduce the soaring number of deaths by overdose and Percocet-related emergency visits ever since 1999. Though the brand name Percocet has been discontinued, generic versions are still widely sold around the world.

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Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

It is recommended that one stop using oxycodone products similar to Percocet gradually to avoid what could be intense withdrawals, depending on the length of time it was taken, and the dosage.

Percocet withdrawal symptoms can include:
  • Anxiety
  • Profuse sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Shaking, tremors
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • General malaise
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Goosebumps

What was Percocet Used for?

Oxycodone compound drugs like Percocet are pain relief medications for moderate to moderately severe pain. Typically, the common prescription dosage is to give one tablet every 6 hours for the relief of continuous pain.

OxyContin was a continuous release form of single ingredient oxycodone to be given once every 12 hours and was discontinued in 2012. Generic OxyContin was later replaced by another oxycodone drug, OxyNeo.11,12

Recreationally, oxycodone products have been used for their euphoric effects, similar to or stronger than other opiates such as morphine or heroin.

Percocet© is the brand name for the combination of the synthetic opioid called oxycodone and acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain reliever that is also found in over-the-counter pain relief products such as Tylenol©. Oxycodone has a similar structure and also similar addictive characteristics to morphine. Like all opiates and other combined opioid analgesic medications, Percocet, now sold only as a generic product, is a CNS depressant that slows down the respiratory system and also heart rate and causes euphoric, relaxed sensations.

Both Percocet and OxyContin have been the subjects of much concern with a soaring number of persons struggling with addiction to these drugs, and also the rising number of overdoses and deaths. In 2013, the drugmaker of a drug similar to Percocet reformulated Vicodin to contain a maximum of 300mg acetaminophen per pill, to prevent liver damage associated with higher doses. According to the most recent FDA label information for Percocet, the company still makes a version of Percocet with higher levels of acetaminophen than advised by the FDA, but also makes a 325mg acetaminophen product as well.5,6

According to government statistics, prescription opiates including drugs like Percocet, Vicodin, OxyNeo, and their genetic equivalents, are the leading cause of recent drug overdose deaths, and the death rate continues to climb.1

Risks of Combining Percocet with Other CNS Depressants

When two or more CNS depressants such as Percocet and alcohol are taken together, the additive depressant effects can lead to respiratory collapse or coma, requiring immediate medical intervention. The Good Samaritan Law allows people to assist others amidst a medical emergency; in effect, creating a liability-free option in preventing overdose and death. The law applies to each state in the US and in many countries around the world. There are no longer any legal ramifications in calling 9-1-1 to request emergency medical help for a person in an overdose situation.

In addition to the risks of addiction, overdose, and death from generic Percocet use, there is also an associated health concern regarding the effects of long-term use of acetaminophen leading to renal impairment and ALF (acute liver failure) as well as significant liver damage. The leading cause of ALF is linked to synthetic analgesic opioid medications such as Percocet, Lortab©, Vicodin©, etc.2

Before starting or stopping a drug containing acetaminophen, such as generic Percocet, becoming as knowledgeable as possible about side effects, health risks, and withdrawal symptoms can help to make the most informed decision possible for you or a loved one’s health and safety.

Percocet (oxycodone) Alternative Names and Slang

Percocet, oxycodone, and OxyContin all developed a significant street presence as these drugs share a high risk for addiction. On the street, these may be referred to by nicknames, such as Percs, C, Oxy’s, OX, OC, Blues, Kickers, Hillbilly heroin, 40s, and 80s (OxyContin 40mg/80 mg pills).

Purdue, the makers of OxyContin started plans to reformulate the drug as early as 2011, to make it harder to crush and dissolve. The new formulation was renamed OxyNeo. OxyContin was banned in several countries, but until as recently as February of 2018 OxyContin was still being sold abroad. Purdue has now stated it will stop making the drug. But other drug companies may not be as willing to stop the lucrative production and sale of such medications around the world.3,4,11

The greatest key to health is education, which will give a person the understanding of how to avoid personal medical tragedies despite disingenuous or even illegal marketing practices by over-reaching drug companies.

Percocet (oxycodone) Side Effects

A person taking oxycodone products like generic Percocet experiences pleasurable euphoric side effects, a false sense of well-being, no pain, and profound relaxation.

Other possible side effects include:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Unusual dreams or nightmares
  • Rash, reddened skin, hives, itching, flushing
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Mental fog or confusion
  • Dizziness especially when rising from a seated or lying position
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of appetite
  • Agitation, nervousness, restlessness
  • Difficulty urinating, painful urination
  • Back pain or pain in the side
  • Yellowed eyes or skin
  • Pale, clay-like stools
  • Dark urine
  • Dry mouth
  • Twitches, muscle stiffness
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Fatigue, tiredness, drowsiness
  • Loss of motor or muscle control
  • Weakness

Discontinuing/Quitting Percocet (oxycodone products)

If you have been taking generic Percocet or a similar drug containing hydrocodone for an extended period of time, gradual tapering eases the intense withdrawals. Seek medical advice before suddenly stopping opiate drugs including generic Percocet.

Some persons may prefer to opt for inpatient help as the withdrawals can be near impossible to endure without assistance. There are many ways to ease the process, such as a short course of bridge medications to ease these profoundly uncomfortable withdrawals. More information on withdrawal management is given below in the section called “Treatment.”

Percocet Withdrawal FAQs

Below are some of the questions most frequently asked about generic Percocet addiction and treatment options. If you would like more information, please reach out to us and we will help.

Has Percocet been Discontinued?

The brand name Percocet has been discontinued but generic oxycodone and acetaminophen equivalent versions, as well as hydrocodone and acetaminophen compounds, are still available. Molecular structures for oxycodone and hydrocodone are very close to identical.14,15 Their generic equivalents have been capped at a maximum dose of 325mg acetaminophen per pill.8

Can Drugs that Contain Acetaminophen Damage the Liver?

Yes, acetaminophen can damage the liver, especially when taken regularly over a long period of time. Liver damage increases the risk for toxicity because the drug cannot be easily cleared from the body when there is renal damage.9

Is Generic Percocet (oxycodone) an Opioid?

Yes. Generic versions of Percocet contain a synthetic opioid and are classed as a Schedule II analgesic opioid medication.

How Long Does it Take for Generic Percocet Withdrawal?

Opiate withdrawal should not be abrupt. How long the process takes for full recovery varies for individuals due to factors that include general health, liver damage, how long the drug was used, medical issues, deficiencies, and age can also play a factor in the process.10

What are the Signs of Opioid Overdose?

Difficult or stopped breathing is a key sign of opioid overdose. Too much of an opioid drug in the body shuts down the breathing center in the brain. Stopped breathing will then begin to shut down the heart, induce a state of coma, or lead to death.

Treatment for Generic Versions of Percocet Withdrawal, Abuse, and Addiction

Alternative to Meds Center offers help for oxycodone / Percocet withdrawal and recovery after addiction to analgesic opioid medications using methods that are humane, and as comfortable as possible.

ATMC foundational principles may make the difference between success and the potential for relapse. Here are some key differentiators in our program.

holistic treatment for percocet addictionFirst, we test to discover any residual neurotoxic substances that have accumulated in the body, commonly well before drug use began. These stored heavy metals, pesticides, industrial cleaners, and other harsh chemicals become embedded in the body and wreak havoc on the neurochemistry of the brain and the entire central nervous system. These accumulations may cause a number of unwanted symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, pain, and others. When these toxins are cleared through gentle use of infrared sauna, nebulized glutathione, selected diet containing detoxifying foods, and many other non-invasive methods, these unwanted toxin-linked symptoms fade. Clients often report sleeping better than they ever remember, feeling calmer, brighter, more energetic, and many other benefits.

The second fundamental of successful oxycodone compounds / Percocet withdrawal and recovery is to understand how these drugs affected the neurochemistry of the body, and then understand how to reverse the damage. In the presence of opiates or opiate analogs, the body stops producing natural endorphins. Natural endorphins are what the body produces as a defense against pain. The body also begins building more pain receptors. This is because opiates have done such a good job of blocking pain, that the body essentially forgets and must rebuild its pain-alert system by building more pain receptors. Now that the opiates (or analogs or synthetics etc.) have been withdrawn, the pain is tremendously magnified, at least until these extra pain receptors die off. This is the usual spot where relapse can occur because the pain is just too great to bear.

There are many ways the Alternative to Meds Center programs can prevent this barrier from stopping a successful withdrawal experience and ultimate success in recovery. Our approach to withdrawal from opiates is gentle, gradual, and supported by neurotransmitter repair protocols. In some cases, a short course of bridge medications, mild in nature but effective, may be desired to ease the person over the most intense part of the process. A wide range of comfort therapeutics is used to ease the opiate withdrawal process, which can be viewed in detail on our services overview pages.

Please reach out to us for more information about our programs for generic Percocet withdrawal and similar drug recovery, which have helped thousands of clients reach their goals and achieve natural, sustainable mental health and enjoy a drug-free life.

1. “Overdose Death Rates” NID National Institute on Drug, Abuse 2018 Aug [cited 2022 Aug 22]

2. Montana RJ MD “Acute Liver Failure including Acetaminophen Overdose” National Health Institute Study on ALF, 2008 Jul [cited 2022 Aug 22]

3. PDF, Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health “The Use of OxyNeo and OxyContin in Adults: A Review of the Evidence on Safety” published 2011 Sep 20 [cited 2022 Aug 22]

4. “OxyContin Maker Will Stop Marketing Opioids to Doctors, Company Says” The Guardian International Edition, 2013 Feb 10 [cited 2022 Aug 22]

5. FDA label Percocet  [cited 2022 Aug 22]

6. AbbVie information downloadable letter, Vicodin Changes 07/01/2013 [cited 2022 Aug 22]

7. Cushman P Jr. Alcohol and opioids: possible interactions of clinical importance. Adv Alcohol Subst Abuse. 1987 Spring;6(3):33-46. doi: 10.1300/j251v06n03_04. PMID: 2821747. [cited 2022 Aug 22]

8. Drug Discontinuation Report Percocet published 2017 [cited 2022 Aug 22]

9. Habibi M, Kim PY. Hydrocodone and Acetaminophen. [Updated 2022 May 2]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2022 Jan-. Available from: [cited 2022 Aug 22]

10. Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2009. 4, Withdrawal Management. Available from: [cited 2022 Aug 22]

11. MD Scope Info Letter OxyNeo Replaces Generic OxyContin [published 2013] [cited 2022 Aug 22]

12. Van Zee A. The promotion and marketing of oxycontin: commercial triumph, public health tragedy. Am J Public Health. 2009 Feb;99(2):221-7. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2007.131714. Epub 2008 Sep 17. PMID: 18799767; PMCID: PMC2622774. [cited 2022 Aug 22]

13. Slawson D. No Difference Between Oxycodone/Acetaminophen and Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen for Acute Extremity Pain. Am Fam Physician. 2016 Mar 1;93(5):411. PMID: 26926980. [cited 2022 Aug 22]

14. Hydrocodone. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=5284569 [cited 2022 Aug 22]

15. Oxycodone. National Center for Biotechnology Information. PubChem Compound Database; CID=5284603, [cited 2022 Aug 22]

Originally Published Sep 13, 2018 by Diane Ridaeus

This content has been reviewed and approved by a licensed physician.

Dr. Michael Loes, M.D.


Dr. Michael Loes is board-certified in Internal Medicine, Pain Management and Addiction Medicine. He holds a dual license in Homeopathic and Integrative Medicine. He obtained his medical doctorate at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1978. Dr. Loes performed an externship at the National Institute of Health for Psychopharmacology. Additionally, he is a well-published author including Arthritis: The Doctor’s Cure, The Aspirin Alternative, The Healing Response, and Spirit Driven Health: The Psalmist’s Guide for Recovery. He has been awarded the Minnesota Medical Foundation’s “Excellence in Research” Award.

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Percocet Addiction, Withdrawal | Oxycodone Side Effects, Alternatives, Tapering
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