Percocet is a powerful pain reliever. However, when taken, this medication may precipitate secondary effects in other parts of the body. Most of these undesirable effects can be attributed to the drug’s main constituents, i.e., oxycodone and acetaminophen. Short-term adverse effects are experienced moments after consuming the medicine while long-term occur much later after prolonged use.
Of note is that chronic abuse of Percocet could produce long-term and even permanent adverse health effects on the body and brain. Understanding how long for Percocet to kick in will help a patient to predict when the adverse effects might begin to show. Let’s review Percocet side effects that commonly occur in users.
Short-Term Side Effects of Percocet
Pruritus (Itching), Allergy, Hypersensitivity, and Anaphylaxis
Why does Percocet make you itch? Oxycodone component in Percocet causes the blood vessels in the skin to dilate. It also stimulates the release of histamine within the skin. It results in pruritus (itching) or urticaria (hives) in some people. The itching may also be a manifestation of Percocet allergy. If a patient is worried about how to stop Percocet itching, a doctor should be asked to prescribe antihistamine medication.
Allergic reactions to 10 mg Percocet dosage may occur in folks who are allergic to paracetamol. Most allergic reactions occur as Percocet itching and a minor skin rash. Severe skin lesions are infrequent, but they may happen. If Percocet makes itching, how to understand whether it’s a serious allergic reaction?
A severe allergic reaction to Percocet may be characterized by respiratory distress (breathing difficulties), skin hives, itching, vomiting and swelling of the face, throat, and mouth. Drug fever may also be present. Severe skin reactions may result in AGEP (Acute generalized exanthematous pustulosis) and other potentially fatal conditions such a TEN (Toxic epidermal necrolysis) and SJS (Stevens-Johnson syndrome).
Respiratory Depression, Slowed Breathing and Respiratory Arrest
Like most other opioid-based medications, oxycodone has a direct effect on the brainstem where it may depress the body’s respiratory centers. Drug-induced respiratory depression is, therefore, one of the side effects of Percocet. It results in slowed breathing which may be irregular. Respiratory depression in a clinical setting commonly occurs during the initial stages of treatment or when the dosage is increased.
Respiratory arrest is a major cause of death due to opioid toxicity. For this reason, it’s worth knowing how much Percocet to overdose. Painkillers may cause respiratory arrest when taken in overdose or when accidentally ingested in high doses (such as by children).
Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia and Somnolence
Does Percocet make its users sleepy? Yes, oxycodone may alter various neural mechanism in the brain. Its action on the opioid receptors in the brain may cause sedation and excessive sleepiness (somnolence). By acting on the brain’s dopaminergic pathways, Percocet side effects may also produce hyperactivity and insomnia (inability to fall asleep).
Mood Changes: Tranquility and Depression
Oxycodone exerts its activity on certain groups of neurons, receptors and neural pathway in the brain. It gives the pain the ability to modulate mood in various ways. Taking the drug may, therefore, result in Percocet side effects of tranquility and later depression. These mood-altering properties are implicated in the development of addiction.
The oxycodone component causes the pupils to constrict giving the person pinpoint pupils even in complete darkness. The duration of pupil dilation depends on Percocet half-life.
Impaired Cognitive Function: Excitement, Disorientation, Mental Confusion, and Dizziness
High doses of acetaminophen may cause dizziness, disorientation, and confusions. These symptoms may also occur to a person who has taken a hefty dose of medication.
Gastrointestinal Disturbance: Constipation
Does Percocet cause constipation? Like other pain relievers, for example, Vicodin or Oxycodone, they reduce the rate at which food moves along the digestive tract. It also delays food digestion and decreases peristalsis in the intestines. It results in several side effects within the digestive system including Percocet nausea and indigestion due to Percocet and constipation.
Long-Term Effects of Percocet
Cognitive Effects: Anxiety, Depression, Hallucinations Confusion Agitation and Impaired Memory
Long-term use of opioid medications can cause damage to the brain. Some of the damage caused is life-treating. The risk of serious harm is particularly high among those who abuse the drug. The side effects of long-term use on the brain are evidenced by impaired cognitive function, impaired memory function, disturbances in the mood which may cause anxiety, agitation, and depression as well as altered perceptions which may cause hallucinations.
Cardiovascular Effects: Hypertension, Arrhythmia, Heart Failure, and Coagulopathy
Oxycodone has a significant effect on blood pressure and heart function. Prolonged use of the drug leads to high blood pressure (hypertension), deranged heartbeat (chronic arrhythmia) and heart failure. Is Percocet a blood thinner? Yes. Due to its effects on the liver, this medication may also lead to coagulopathy (impaired blood clotting).
Effects of Long-Term Use During Pregnancy
The use of Percocet while being pregnant should be highly guarded and only limited to situations where the benefit of oxycodone and acetaminophen therapy outweighs the possible risks. The risk of treatment using this medicine during pregnancy includes embryo-fetal toxicity and Neonatal Abstinence syndrome.
Other Long-Term Side Effects
Prolonged use of this opioid medication may cause other long-term Percocet side effects such as liver toxicity, impaired kidney function, adrenal insufficiency as well as exacerbation of asthma and Cor Pulmonale.
Consequently, one might start taking the drug more frequently even when there isn’t any clinical need to do so. Frequent drug use modifies the opioid receptors in the brain making them more tolerant to the drug. Once tolerance becomes a side effect of Percocet, the drug user will need a higher dose or more of the drug to experience Percocet high effects. With time, addiction to the drug gets so reinforced such that the individual is dependent on the medication and can’t function without it.
How to Reduce Side Effects
- Painkiller therapy must always be under the strict guidance of a health professional. Do not abuse or misuse the drug. Buy Percocet only in legal pharmacies. Take it as per the dosing requirements.
- Therapy with the drug should not be instituted in individuals with any of the established Percocet contraindications: asthma, respiratory depression, gastrointestinal obstruction, hypersensitivity to paracetamol, oxycodone or any of the other drug components, e.g., the FD&C Blue No. 1 Aluminum Lake found in Percocet 5/325.
- Patients who are just started taking painkillers should be monitored closely for the first 72 hours. The same is advised when the dose is increased. In case severe allergy, side effects or discomfort, e.g., Percocet constipation occur within this 72-hour window, treatment should be discontinued, and a doctor should examine a patient.
- Mixing other drugs with oxycodone and acetaminophen is ill-advised and should only be done following a doctor’s recommendations. Combining alcohol and Percocet could, for instance, elevate one’s chances of overdosing, getting respiratory depression and even dying.
- Does Percocet make you so tired, that you can’t complete your everyday duties? If so, request a change of treatment. In such a scenario, the healthcare provider may cross-examine the benefits.
- Treatment shouldn’t be stopped abruptly in a person who’s been on painkillers for a long time. The drug should be tapered off over a specified schedule to prevent Percocet withdrawal symptoms.
If you or your loved one is struggling with Percocet addiction and dependence, call (888)-459-5511 now and get a new, clean and fresh lease of life free of addiction.