How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System? Time and Side Effects

percocet withdrawal
How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System

When people experience moderate to severe pain, one of the pain relievers typically prescribed is Percocet. The pain relief it offers is usually activated around 20-30 minutes after the drug is taken. There’s a narcotic in it, specifically oxycodone, which is an analgesic medication that’s an opiate. It also has a non-narcotic fever reducer and pain reliever, acetaminophen (Tylenol). While pain relief is the key thing it’s known for, some people have reported feeling relaxed. In some cases, they also feel sleepy.

Percocet is a Schedule II drug, which basically means there’s a high abuse potential. This could lead to severe dependence in both the physical or psychological sense. Many people all over the world have ended up in drug rehab due to Percocet addiction.

A great way to prevent overdosing by accident is to be aware of just how long Percocet stays in one’s system. That way, it won’t be triggered by interactions with other medications being taken or by taking the next dose too soon.

How long does Percocet stay in the system?

Before going into this, it’s important to define the term “half-life” first. When referring to a drug, half-life essentially refers to the average time it takes for half the initial dose to metabolize and exit a person’s system. When there is a full understanding of Percocet’s half-life, a person will find it much easier to prevent an overdose. The average time it will take for Percocet to be fully eliminated from one’s system is around 19 hours.

  • Blood: In the bloodstream of a person, Percocet will end up having a half-life of around 3.5 hours. However, this ultimately depends on the function of the person’s liver. Immediate-release oxycodone has an average half-life of around 3.2 hours. 
  • Saliva: Most people are rid of Percocet in their bloodstream within a day (24 hours) after the last dose. However, it’s still traceable for up to 2 days in saliva after the last dose.
  • Urine: When it comes to urine tests, there are still traces of Percocet which could be detected anywhere from 24-48 hours. That typically begins at the 2-hour mark after an initial dose. After the last dose, detection can go up to 4 days. One of oxycodone’s metabolites, oxymorphone, metabolizes further in the liver as noroxymorphone before finally passing out of one’s body by way of urine. 
  • Hair: Traces of Percocet typically last the longest when it comes to one’s hair, all the way up to 90 days (three months). 

What are the side effects of Percocet?

Typical Percocet side effects include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Muddled thinking or confusion
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness or drowsiness
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

Typical Percocet side effects when misused or taken in doses that are quite big include:

  • Concentration problems
  • Confusion
  • Coordination problems
  • Depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mood swings
  • Slowed breathing
  • Sweating or flushing

Is there such a thing as Percocet withdrawal?

In any rehab center or medical context, the general definition of withdrawal in reference to drugs means this: a set of symptoms that a person experiences after he or she stops taking a drug. This action ends up forcing their body to abruptly adapt to being able to function without the substance it had gotten dependent on.

Depending on the class of drugs in question, withdrawal symptoms may vary. This is dependent on just how that particular drug ended up affecting the user’s body.

When it comes to Percocet, oxycodone typically targets some brain receptors, thus interfering with signals of pain. It could also interfere with the receptors that have to do with the body’s breathing regulation and reward system. 

A person suddenly ceasing to take in Percocet will definitely end up experiencing withdrawal symptoms. This is because the aforementioned brain receptors will start scrambling to work without the drug’s effects that it had gotten used to prior. It should be noted that withdrawal symptoms will only manifest when it comes to someone whose dependence on Percocet is physical. 

percocet side effects
What is Percocet

Percocet dependency on a physical scale is possible without an addiction or being dependent in the mental sense. One of the more classic signs of being dependent physically is tolerance to the drug growing considerably. That occurs when a user needs more of the drug in order for them to get the same effects.

It’s important to take note of how a person who’s physically dependent stops taking Percocet. When it’s discontinued in an abrupt manner, it’s a surefire way for withdrawal symptoms to be induced.

What are Percocet withdrawal symptoms that need to be watched out for?

When a person is experiencing withdrawal from an opioid such as Percocet, in the beginning, the symptoms are generally mild. As time passes, there’s a possibility that the symptoms will increase in severity.

One of the key characteristics of early withdrawal from Percocet is symptoms that are flu-like. This may include, but are not limited to:

  • Aching
  • Chills
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes

The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has found that the symptoms may start to show within 24 hours (a day) of quitting the drug. Symptoms that are more severe will likely manifest as the days pass. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Shallow breathing
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting

The symptoms that are experienced when someone is withdrawing from Percocet will vary. It will also depend largely on the dosage and length of the overall Percocet use. There are various symptoms that will manifest as the process of detox goes along.

On the first day, the previously mentioned withdrawal symptoms that resemble the flu will manifest. This can include, but are not limited to:

  • Goosebumps
  • Hot flashes and chills 
  • Pains and aches
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes and nose

On the second and third day after the last dose, Percocet withdrawal symptoms will typically peak in intensity and severity. Additional symptoms will include fatigue, severe aches and pains, as well as anxiety.

After that, up to a week later, there will be intense cravings for Percocet that will kick in to those who were addicted. While the physical symptoms of withdrawal essentially find a resolution within a week, the issues on the psychological end will be persistent if they’re untreated. After the first week, it’s important to watch out for the likes of anxiety and depression. It’s also possible for suicidal ideations or tendencies to manifest at this time, and this period is the highest risk of relapse.


Percocet is essentially a pain reliever, though for some people, it makes them downright sleepy. After the last dose, it can be detected in the blood for 24 hours, in saliva for up to two days, and in urine for up to four days. Traces of Percocet end up staying for the longest time after the last dose is taken in a person’s hair. It should be noted that Percocet dependency in the physical sense can happen without any addiction or dependency in the mental sense. Withdrawal symptoms from Percocet are typically flu-like in the early stages, but can get more severe with time.