Percocet and Norco: What are Their Similarities and Differences?

Which Drug is Stronger_ Norco or Percocet_

Percocet and Norco are opioids used to help relieve moderate to severe pain. These are also commonly prescribed for the relief of chronic pain caused by a number of diseases, such as arthritis and pain due to cancer. Although these drugs have more similarities than differences, these drugs are made up of different active ingredients. A Percocet pill is made of two key components, oxycodone which is the opioid and acetaminophen. This combination has been regarded as one of the strongest formulations when it comes to pain relievers. Among ingredients in Percocet, Norco also contains acetaminophen but, instead of oxycodone, Norco contains hydrocodone, which is also an opioid.

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What Percocet and Norco Have in Сommon?

Except both of the drugs are opioids, which are recognized as the most powerful pain relievers, both containing acetaminophen, Norco and Percocet, share the following key characteristics:

  • Both drugs are considered powerful painkillers and are available only with a prescription.
  • Both are brand names that have generic counterparts.
  • Both are used as painkillers for the relief of short-term pain usually associated with post-surgery, as well as for managing pain due to chronic conditions.
  • Percocet and Norco are considered narcotic drugs containing the opioids: oxycodone and hydrocodone. Both painkillers are classified as Schedule II drugs, a drug category associated with high risk for drug misuse and addiction.
  • Percocet starts to act within 30 up to 60 minutes from the time of oral administration such as Norco, and stay in effect from four up to six hours thereafter.
  • Both drugs may cause similar side effects, which may include itching, sluggishness, dry mouth, dizziness,  nausea, and impairment of motor skills.
  • Percocet pregnancy category is C, and Norco has the same. It means that both drugs generally lack sufficient dearth of studies to demonstrate the safety of the intake during pregnancy.
  • Drinking alcohol on Percocet or Norco can cause extreme dizziness and vomiting. It can also cause heart rate and breathing to become severely slow which can lead to coma or even death. Combining these drugs with alcohol can lead to liver damage.

What is the Difference Between Percocet and Norco?

Other than each containing two different opioids, oxycodone and hydrocodone, the following highlight Percocet vs. Norco key differences:


Branded Percocet is available in five dosage forms, which include 2.5/325 mg, 5/325 mg, 7.5/325 mg, 10/325, and 10/650 Percocet. On the other hand, Norco is only available in three dosage forms, which are 5/325 mg, 7.5/325 mg, and 10/325 mg.


Expect Norco or Percocet to be significantly more expensive than over-the-counter pain relievers. Percocet cost is higher compared to Norco. For a 10/325 mg dosage, it can cost as low as $21 per tablet whereas the lowest price for Norco is approximately $5 per tablet. The effect of both drugs may be derived by obtaining their respective inexpensive generic counterparts. Oxycodone hydrochloride is an alternative to Percocet, while generic drugs falling under Hydrocodone bitartrate and acetaminophen are viable alternatives for Norco.

Side Effects

Both drugs are associated with the same common side effects. Among the most critical differences in Norco vs. Percocet side effect is that Norco is more likely to cause constipation and other problems related to the stomach and digestion, as well as difficulty breathing, whereas Percocet is more likely to cause lack of energy. Percocet headache is likely whereas use of Norco is not associated with a headache.

Percocet vs. Norco
Side EffectPercocetNorco
ConstipationLess LikelyMore Likely
IndigestionLess LikelyMore Likely
Difficulty BreathingLess LikelyMore Likely
Fatigue and Lack of EnergyMore LikelyLess Likely
A headacheMore LikelyLess Likely

Percocet vs. Hydrocodone: Which is More Potent?

In general, combining either hydrocodone or oxycodone with another painkiller like acetaminophen produces better results compared to using a pure form of these opioids only. Between Hydrocodone vs. Percocet, Percocet is stronger. In the same way, when Norco vs. Oxycodone results are compared, Norco will deliver a stronger effect. In comparison between oxycodone vs. Percocet, the last one provides a stronger effect. The concentration levels of both opioids also influence drug potency.
Another drug that is close to the compared painkillers is Vicodin. As the primary difference between Percocet and Vicodin, and Norco is, that Vicodin is made with a lower concentration of hydrocodone compared to Norco, and is less stronger than Percocet.

Which One is Better For Pain Relief?

Percocet is generally regarded as the stronger drug in comparison to Norco. Experts say that both painkillers have comparable potency due to their opioid components.

What is stronger Norco or Percocet?

In the study published on NCBI, that was sought to find out if either oxycodone or hydrocodone was more potent for the relief of acute pain related to fractures, the researchers observed that both oxycodone and hydrocodone, active ingredients in Percocet and Norco, respectively, showed the same level of potency in relieving pain associated with fractures.
Based on another study conducted among subjects without any known dependency or addiction to either hydrocodone and oxycodone, the researchers found that, at equal doses, the combination of oxycodone with acetaminophen produced 1.5 times more potency than hydroquinone combined with acetaminophen.

What is the Difference Between the Painkillers Mechanism for Pain Relief?

None. Both drugs act on the central nervous system to affect the usual mechanism for transmitting pain signals to the brain. As a result, the brain perceives pain differently. Relief is delivered but, as reported by users, pain relief also comes with a feeling of euphoria which is one of the main reasons that makes these drugs highly addictive.
Both drugs should be sufficient in relieving moderate to severe pain. Before using any painkiller, make sure to schedule a consultation with your physician. Make sure that your physician understands your health history well. Follow the dosage instructions that will be prescribed by your doctor very carefully. Norco or Percocet withdrawal and detox can result in multiple side effects. Successfully staying off of these drugs will require professional guidance and supervision.
In case you or a loved one need help with painkiller addiction, the best solution is to place yourself or your loved one under the care of a professional. Get professional help now. Call (888)-459-5511 today. Your call will be treated as confidential.

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Percocet and Norco: What are Their Similarities and Differences?

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