Percocet is a prescription narcotic pain medication that combines acetaminophen with the potent opioid oxycodone. Even when taken as prescribed, regular Percocet use can rapidly lead to tolerance and dependence, which promotes misuse and abuse. Consequently, Percocet is classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a schedule II drug, meaning that although it has a valid medical use, it is associated with a high risk for abuse.
People with Percocet use disorders can find quitting to be very challenging. Professional rehab facilities like The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health provide comprehensive rehab and detox programs that are designed to provide a path to recovery.
Factors Affecting Percocet Withdrawal Timeline
Percocet withdrawal can affect people differently. There are several factors that contribute to the overall Percocet withdrawal timeline, including:
- Withdrawal Factors
Amount of Percocet used
Duration of use
Severity of dependence/addiction
Percocet should not be quit “cold turkey.” The most effective way to minimize withdrawal symptoms and manage early recovery is to work with a medical professional who can develop a tapering regimen that allows you to gradually reduce your dose over time. By tapering the dose, withdrawal symptoms can be significantly reduced, even eliminated.
Stages of Percocet Withdrawal Timeline & Symptoms
Percocet withdrawal often includes two overall phases, the acute phase, and the post-acute phase. Acute withdrawal includes detox and the initial days and possibly weeks of recovery. It is often the most challenging to overcome. Post-acute withdrawal is characterized by symptoms that are more manageable but still uncomfortable. Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may be present for weeks or months after someone stops taking Percocet.
Withdrawal symptom onset is dictated in large part by the half-life of the drug. One half-life indicates the amount of time required for half of the drug to be metabolized. Thus, after five half-lives, more than 95% of the drug will have been metabolized. Oxycodone is the active compound in Percocet, and it has a half-life of approximately 4 hours, meaning that after approximately 20 hours, the majority of active oxycodone will no longer be present.
Someone who has developed a Percocet dependence will begin to feel withdrawal symptoms as oxycodone is metabolized. Taking more Percocet will stave off withdrawal symptoms. If another dose is not taken, withdrawal symptoms will progress consistently as oxycodone is further metabolized.
The first day of Percocet withdrawal is usually uncomfortable and includes a number of potentially debilitating physical and psychological symptoms, including:
- Withdrawal Symptoms
Nausea and vomiting
Hot or cold spells
Muscle cramps or spasms
Inability to concentrate
Growth of Symptoms
Initial symptoms will continue to develop over the course of the first 1–3 days after quitting. Making it through these early days can be incredibly difficult if done without help, and relapse is common. For many people, rehab facilities that offer medical detox may be the most effective way to work through early withdrawal.
Peak of Symptoms
Because of the relatively short half-life of Percocet (specifically, oxycodone), symptom severity and intensity often peak during the first day of withdrawal. However, the symptoms of acute withdrawal can remain difficult to manage for several days after quitting.
For people with mild or moderate Percocet use disorders, early symptoms may begin to resolve within the first week. However, more extreme cases of dependence may be characterized by severe withdrawal symptoms that persist over the course of two or more weeks.
Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) is a common component of recovery and includes persistent withdrawal symptoms that fluctuate in severity well after the acute withdrawal period is over. For some people, PAWS may endure for months after the last dose of Percocet was taken. Some people experiencing PAWS may feel like their recovery has failed, but it is important to understand that, while it may be frustrating, PAWS is normal. Over time, PAWS symptoms will subside in severity.
How to Find Help for Percocet Detox in Florida
Percocet, like other opioids, is a powerfully addictive drug that can be difficult to quit without help. For many people, participating in a medically supervised detox program can be the most effective way to overcome the challenges of the first several days of recovery. Medical detox provides around-the-clock access to medical professionals who will create an appropriate tapering strategy to minimize withdrawal symptoms. In addition, when appropriate, pharmacological interventions that can mitigate the severity of early symptoms can be provided to rehab clients.
When evaluating rehab programs for Percocet use disorders, look for comprehensive rehab programs that are staffed by multidisciplinary teams in order to ensure that you will have access to the widest range of treatment options. In addition, the staff should have a proven record in helping people overcome Percocet or other opioid use disorders.
Percocet dependence and addiction can be challenging to overcome, but help is available. The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health offers comprehensive rehab programs that are tailored to suit the needs of each client. Contact us today to learn how our experts can help you begin your journey to recovery.
Mager, Dan. “Detoxing After Detox: The Perils of Post-Acute Withdrawal.” Psychology Today, May 2015. Accessed September 15, 2019.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.