Key Points:

Some important points regarding Percocet withdrawal and detox are:

  • Due to the presence of oxycodone in Percocet, even short-term consumption can create a sense of dependency.
  • Percocet withdrawal symptoms occur since the body is not used to functioning properly in their absence, which can range from mild nausea to severe migraine attacks.
  • The withdrawal timeline mainly depends on the dosage and duration of consumption.
  • Detox strategies involve tapering the drug to minimize withdrawal effects.
  • Treatment can take place in both inpatient as well as outpatient facilities.

What Causes Percocet Withdrawal?

Percocet consumption rewires the nervous system by providing an excess of “feel-good hormones” which help in suppressing pain signals. With a constant flow of these hormones, the brain gets used to functioning in their presence. Therefore, when a person stops consuming Percocet, the brain takes some time to reattain the original non-opioid state. This period is when the Percocet withdrawal symptoms occur.

Factors Affecting Percocet Withdrawal Timeline

Percocet withdrawal can affect people differently. There are several factors that contribute to the overall Percocet withdrawal timeline, including:

  • Amount of Percocet used
  • Duration of use
  • The severity of dependence/addiction
  • Physical and mental health

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

After prolonged usage, when the body is deprived of an addictive drug, it goes into withdrawal mode. The withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable and even painful. There are both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms associated with the discontinuation of Percocet.

  • Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

    The physical withdrawal symptoms related to Percocet abuse manifest in the form of headaches, vomiting, tremors, sweating, insomnia, muscle weakness, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and hot/cold flashes.

  • Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

    The psychological withdrawal symptoms related to Percocet abuse are aggression, mood swings, loss of focus, suicidal tendency, anxiety, and depression.

  • Symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) or Protracted Withdrawal

    Opioid abuse affects brain chemistry. After the initial phase of detox, when the physical symptoms subside, post-acute/protracted withdrawal symptoms come into action. It is a long process that implies that the brain is slowly becoming accustomed to functioning without the drug.

    The PAWS symptoms are generally emotion-related. Some symptoms are anxiety, cognitive impairment, cravings, social withdrawal, loss of focus, disturbed sleep, and stress-related disorders.

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.

  • Initial Reaction

    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 nausea and vomiting, tremors, hot or cold spells, sweating, muscle cramps or spasms, fatigue, irritability, anxiety, inability to concentrate, and depression.

  • 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.

  • Lingering Symptoms

    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.

Can Percocet Withdrawal Kill You?

No, Percocet withdrawal will not kill you. Withdrawal symptoms may be uncomfortable, but if withdrawal and detox are done with proper medical guidance and social support, withdrawal symptoms are bearable. For people that quit drug consumption suddenly (cold turkey), they will likely experience more severe withdrawal symptoms.

Percocet Detox for Treatment of Withdrawal

Percocet detox is a process that requires medical help, strong determination, and a support system. These steps are necessary since drug abuse reduced the ability of the body to function properly in their absence.

  • Medical Detox

    Medical detoxing takes place in a facility where medical assistance is readily available. Not all addictions need medical detox. Generally, medical detox is recommended if a person’s health is at risk during the process of detoxification. Medical detoxification is an initial step in the recovery process.

  • Controlled Taper

    Controlled tapering of the drug is another form of addiction therapy. Since the brain has become accustomed to the drugs, to avoid sudden shock, it is better if an individual weans off Percocet slowly. This process aims to minimize withdrawal symptoms. The three tapering methods used are:

    Direct Tapering. This method involves slowly decreasing the strength of Percocet, based on the individual response. The CDC recommends that decreasing the dose by 10% on a weekly basis might be a safe start. However, the exact percentage may vary from person to person. Always consult with a medical professional first.

    Substitution Tapering. This method involves a substitution of the original drug with another, easily tapered drug. This process makes the treatment manageable. This method is used when the original drug of abuse is a low-dose or a short-acting substance.

    Titration Tapering. This tapering method dissolves low doses of drugs in water to decrease the amount of drug being consumed. It is the least preferred method.

  • Remedies

    Apart from medication-based treatment, other remedies to treat addiction are also available. Since Percocet usage can result in nutritional deficits, maintaining a wholesome diet can help. Also, taking multivitamins regularly can help ease withdrawal symptoms. Dehydration is another side effect associated with opioid intake. Thus, drinking enough water can help with the associated symptoms. Trying and developing new hobbies that keep the mind occupied can be helpful as well.

Alternative Treatments for Percocet Withdrawal

In addition to the conventional forms of treatment for Percocet withdrawal, exercise, acupuncture and over-the-counter medications can help in relieving some of the symptoms associated with Percocet withdrawal.

  • Outpatient Detox

    An outpatient detox program is suitable for those individuals who are mentally stable and can travel to the clinic regularly for receiving treatment. However, it mostly depends on the type of drug abuse that is being treated. It has been found that setback rates in people receiving inpatient treatment are much lower than in the outpatient population.

  • Detoxing at Home

    Detoxing at home is a difficult process. It is easy to spiral back into a pattern of drug abuse when detoxing at home since an individual may not have any support to help them through this difficult process.

  • Risks of Abrupt Discontinuation or Quitting Cold Turkey

    Sometimes, people try to abruptly quit drug consumption, what is commonly known as “going cold turkey.” This process usually results in the sudden onset of severe withdrawal symptoms that can raise serious health concerns. Some of the risks associated with abrupt discontinuation are:

    – Increased chance of relapse due to the absence of medical help
    – Mismanagement of the extreme withdrawal symptoms can have fatal consequences
    – Consuming the usual dosage after relapsing carries a high risk of overdose complications since the body can no longer tolerate it
    – The absence of counseling or therapy will pose a problem in long-term recovery.

Finding a Detox Center

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 (or medication-assisted treatment) 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.

Our Drug Detox Center

If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, help is available. Contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach at Baptist Health to speak with a representative about how addiction treatment can address substance use and any co-occurring disorders.

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.