How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System
Amanda Stevens

Written By

Amanda Stevens
Dr. Po-Chang Hsu -

Medically Reviewed By:

Dr. Po-Chang Hsu

Last Medically Reviewed on October 9, 2023

Key Points

  • The two active ingredients in Percocet are Oxycodone and Acetaminophen.
  • Oxycodone is dangerously addictive and Acetaminophen can be toxic. Together, they are easy to overdose on.
  • Oxycodone can be detected by a blood test for up to 24 hours.
  • Treatment for opioid use disorder includes detox, inpatient, outpatient, and aftercare with music, spiritual, and holistic therapy interventions.

The two active ingredients in Percocet are oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone has a blood test detection window of up to 24 hours.

Oxycodone has a high potential for addiction, so Percocet must be used with extreme caution. Consult your professional treatment team to determine if Percocet is the right opioid to help manage your pain.

Percocet: The Prescription Painkiller

Percocet is a schedule II painkiller drug developed by Endo Pharmaceuticals in Malvern, Pennsylvania. It depresses your central nervous system and dulls your subjective sensation of pain by binding to hormone receptors. The active ingredients are oxycodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen (a non-opioid):


Oxycodone helps manage moderate to severe pain by binding to the opioid receptors, with the strongest affinity being for mu-type receptors.”[1]

Oxycodone’s potency is due to its specific affinity for opioid receptors rather than a comparison to natural dopamine.

Oxycodone, and by extension, Percocet, carries a high risk of addiction. The Schedule II classification means you cannot legally have Percocet without a prescription. Use with caution and only with the direction of your attending physician.

In 2021, prescription opioid overdoses, which included many comprised of Oxycodone, accounted for 16,706 deaths in the United States.[2]


While acetaminophen’s mechanism of action is not well understood, it appears to help treat fever and pain by inhibiting the cyclooxygenase (COX) pathways in the brain selectively, which is believed to inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins.[3]

Prostaglandins cause inflammation, pain, and fever at your infection sites in order to stimulate healing.[4] Blocking these means you will have milder symptoms. Acetaminophen is in a class of medications called analgesics (pain relievers) and antipyretics (fever reducers).

Acetaminophen is less addictive than Oxycodone, but it’s toxic in large amounts and possible to overdose fatally while taking it:[5]

Toxic levels of acetaminophen are the first leading cause of liver transplants in the United States and the second leading cause of liver transplants worldwide.

Acetaminophen overdoses were responsible for 56,000 ER visits and 2,600 hospitalizations. Tragically, 500 deaths per year in the U.S. are attributed to acetaminophen toxicity.

Fifty percent of these deaths are unintentional overdoses.

Around 60 million Americans use Acetaminophen on a weekly basis.[6] The danger is that sometimes you use products in combination with each other without realizing acetaminophen is contained in both.

Taking two or more Acetaminophen combination products could yield a toxic and fatal dose. Here are some common medications that contain acetaminophen:

  • Tylenol
  • Robitussin
  • Excedrin
  • NyQuil

How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

Percocet contains acetaminophen and oxycodone. Of the two active ingredients, Acetaminophen is available in over-the-counter medications, while Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance. The only one you would be screened for is Oxycodone. Oxycodone can be detected in blood for up to one day and in hair for up to 90 days.

How Long Does Percocet Take to Kick In?

It takes about 30 minutes to begin feeling the effects of Percocet. Once you begin feeling the effects, it should last for 4 to 6 hours.

What Is The Half-Life of Percocet?
Oxycodone generally has a half-life of approximately 3 to 5 hours, while the half-life of acetaminophen is around 2 hours.[7][8]

A half-life is defined as the amount of time it takes for 50% of a given substance to be eliminated from your body. It takes 4 to 5 successive half-life eliminations to achieve 95% elimination of a given substance from your body.

Other Forms of Percocet Drug Testing


Blood Hair


Oxycodone is detectable in urine 3 to 4 days after dosing. Oxycodone is detectable in blood up to 1 day after dosing. Oxycodone is detectable in hair 90 days after dosing. Oxycodone is detectable in saliva 1 to 4 days after dosing.

Effects of Long-Term Percocet Use

Effects of Long-Term Percocet Use

The main effects of long-term Percocet use are possible dependency and addiction.[9] If your body builds up a tolerance to oxycodone, it would require a more and more potent dose to achieve the same pain reduction, which can increase the risks of side effects and dependency.

Besides dependency, oxycodone affects your gastrointestinal, digestive, and nervous systems differently:

  • Respiratory: You could have breathing problems like respiratory depression.
  • Digestive: You could have gut problems like vomiting, constipation, and a bloated stomach.
  • Nervous: You could be fatigued.

Treatment For Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller addiction has the potential to derail your life. Do not let substance use disorder determine what is possible for you or your future.

There are a wide variety of treatments that can help you get on the road to recovery. You will meet with a clinical treatment team to create a comprehensive assessment that takes into consideration your background, lifestyle, and goals.

Some combination of detox, inpatient, residential treatment, IOP (Intensive Outpatient Programs), Outpatient, and PHP (Partial Hospitalization Programs) could be included.

Restore The Balance In Your Body and Your Life

If you are addicted to Percocet, seek treatment immediately. There are life-threatening consequences to addiction. There is no shortage of treatment options and experienced providers to help get you on the road to recovery. Reach out today; we can help.

Frequently Asked Questions About Percocet

What are the bad reactions to Percocet?

Some side effects of oxycodone are[10]:

  • Changes in heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Fever and sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Reduced appetite
  • General weakness or extreme drowsiness
  • Dizziness and confusion
  • Inability to maintain an erection
  • Irregular menstruation cycle for women
  • Reduced sexual desire
  • Chest pain
  • Seizures
  • Lightheadedness when changing positions

The most serious side effects of acetaminophen are[11]:

  • Red, peeled, or blistered skin
  • Hives, itching, and rash
  • Swelling of the face, throat, and limbs
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing

Can Percocet weaken your immune system?

Yes, there is overwhelming evidence which suggests that synthetic opioids can negatively impact your immune system. Chronic administration of synthetic opioids like Percocet decreases the proliferative capacity of macrophage progenitor cells.[12] Macrophage progenitor cells are essential to protecting against infection and injury.[13]

Percocet Vs. Hydrocodone: What’s the difference?

Oxycodone (an active ingredient in Percocet) and Hydrocodone are both Schedule II opioids prescribed for moderate to severe pain management. While they are both opioid drugs used for pain relief, oxycodone and hydrocodone are not chemically identical.

Nevertheless, in one research study, patients who were given doses of hydrocodone to manage pain were 5x to 6x more likely to transition to long-term use than patients given an identical dose of oxycodone.[14]

  • Accounting for the entire dataset of patients in the study, just 2% of oxycodone-prescribed patients transitioned to long-term use vs 12% of hydrocodone-prescribed patients.
  • In the data subset of study patients with more than one prescription, the split was even more pronounced: Just 5% of oxycodone-prescribed patients transitioned to long-term use vs. 23% of hydrocodone-prescribed patients.

We take our music-focused treatment for addiction very seriously, so we are going to hold our content to the same precision standards. Recovery Unplugged’s editorial process involves our editing safeguard and our ideals. Read our Editorial Process.


[1][7][9] T;, S. N. T. (n.d.). Oxycodone. National Center for Biotechnology Information.

[2] U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2023, July 10). Drug overdose death rates. National Institutes of Health.

[3] Acetaminophen – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.).

[4] Ricciotti, E., & FitzGerald, G. A. (2011, May). Prostaglandins and inflammation. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology.

[5][6][8]Acetaminophen toxicity – statpearls – NCBI bookshelf. (n.d.-b).

[10] U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Oxycodone: Medlineplus drug information. MedlinePlus.

[11] U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.-a). Acetaminophen: Medlineplus Drug Information. MedlinePlus.

[12] HH;, R. S. (n.d.). Effects of opioids on the immune system. Neurochemical research.

[13] Pittet, M. J., Nahrendorf, M., & Swirski, F. K. (2014, June). The journey from stem cell to macrophage. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

[14] Harris, R. A., Kranzler, H. R., Chang, K.-M., Doubeni, C. A., & Gross, R. (2019, December 1). Long-term use of hydrocodone vs. Oxycodone in primary care. Drug and alcohol dependence.

Amanda Stevens

Amanda is a prolific medical content writer specializing in eating disorders and addiction treatment. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Purdue University with a B.S. in Social Work.

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