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Long-Term Percocet Abuse Side Effects

Long-Term Percocet Abuse Side Effects

Long-term abuse of Percocet is dangerous. Once someone becomes addicted to this medication, the effects can be devastating. In addition, Percocet detox includes very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Percocet or Oxycodone is an opioid prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Percocet is also prescribed for those suffering from chronic pain. It works on the central nervous system and brain by telling your brain you aren’t in pain. However, Percocet is highly addictive and habit-forming. It causes a euphoric high similar to heroin when taken in high doses.

Percocet also contains acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is an analgesic and fever reducer, like aspirin and ibuprofen, that enhances the effects of Percocet. Acetaminophen itself isn’t addicting, but it is dangerous in high doses, and the long-term effects of it alone make long-term Percocet abuse dangerous.

Long-Term Effects of Percocet Addiction

Percocet was initially prescribed only on a short-term basis. However, it is being prescribed a lot for chronic pain currently. Long-term use of the medication makes you develop a tolerance for the drug, and higher doses are required to achieve the same effect. High doses of the medication taken over a long period cause dependence, and users will often develop an addiction. Some of the side effects of long-term use include:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney failure
  • Severe constipation
  • Urinary retention
  • Slightly decreased testosterone levels in men
  • Tolerance
  • Physical and psychological dependence

Long-term abuse of Percocet is dangerous. Once someone becomes addicted to the medication, the effects can be devastating.

What Happens During a Percocet Overdose?

Recent laws passed in the United States make it difficult to obtain prescriptions from doctors. Consequently, those that have become addicted to Percocet often find it easier and cheaper to obtain heroin (which is an illicit substance) to achieve the same euphoric effects they were getting from the high doses of Percocet.

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), “From 1999 to 2018, almost 450,000 people died from an overdose involving any opioid, including prescription and illicit opioids. The number of opioid deaths decreased by 4% from 2017 to 2018, but the number was still higher in 2018 than in 1999. Nearly 70% of the 67,367 deaths in 2018 involved an opioid. (CDC)

Some of the signs of Percocet overdose include:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Slowed or shallow breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blue color skin, lips, fingernails, or area around the mouth
  • Coma

The acetaminophen that Percocet contains can be dangerous if taken in high doses and can also cause an overdose. Some of those symptoms are:

  • Sweating
  • Intense abdominal pain, centered near or below the right ribcage
  • Dark urine
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes)
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Death

The effects of an overdose on those who love you cannot be put into words. Friends and family suffer greatly from grief for years to come.

Physical Health and Psychological Aspects of Percocet Abuse

Taking Percocet for a long time can also cause several health issues. Swelling in your hands and feet, immune suppression, sexual dysfunction, and osteoporosis are indirect effects of abusing the medication.

Long-term Percocet abuse not only causes several health issues along with dependence and the risk of addiction, but the psychological effects can also be devastating. As stated above, with recent laws passed in the United States, it has become increasingly difficult to obtain a prescription legally. Once someone has become addicted to Percocet, they will do anything to prevent withdrawal and obtain the euphoric high it gives them. A lot of times, this means using heroin, which is an illicit substance.

Also, purchasing medication illegally or off the streets can cause financial and legal issues. Participating in either one of these can cause legal issues if the person is caught; they could get jail time, prison, fines, and possibly a record that is there forever. Addiction of any kind has a tremendous impact on families; it has a tremendous impact on the person that’s addicted. The abuser loses control and feels like they must have the medication to perform everyday activities. They can experience job loss and loss of interest in things they used to enjoy doing. Also, it is extremely difficult to get off of Percocet once a person develops an addiction. Terrible withdrawals come with long-term abuse. Some of the withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Cold sweats
  • Cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Seizures

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms depends on how long and how much Percocet they are taking. The physical symptoms usually peak about the second or third day and normally subside within a week or two, but the psychological symptoms can last for months. Treatment at a medically supervised facility is the best way to get off of any opioid successfully.

If you or someone you love needs help with an opioid addiction, our addiction specialists are available around the clock to assist you. Absolute Awakenings is committed to providing long-term recovery for those struggling with addiction and alcoholism. We offer individualized treatment as we know recovery is not a one size fits all approach. Call us today!


  1. Sadiq NM, Dice TJ, Mead T. Oxycodone. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed January 17, 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482226/
  2. Gerriets V, Anderson J, Nappe TM. Acetaminophen. In: StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing; 2022. Accessed January 17, 2023. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482369/
  3. Understanding Drug Overdoses and Deaths | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center. Published October 19, 2022. Accessed January 17, 2023. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html
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At Absolute Awakenings, we take information integrity seriously. We have dedicated our resources to ensure that all content published to our blog is medically sound. As such, all content on our blog has been thoroughly reviewed by a doctorate level clinician such as a Medical Doctor, or Psy.D, so that you can trust all of the data we publish.

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Amanda Stevens, B.S.

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