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  • How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

    Percocet drug testing

    Percocet is a brand name prescription drug used to treat moderate to severe pain. The main ingredients in Percocet are oxycodone and acetaminophen (sold over-the-counter as Tylenol). The oxycodone in Percocet is immediate-release but it is also available as an extended-release tablet (Oxycontin). 

    If you or a loved one is addicted to Percocet, you may want to know how long it stays in a person’s system. On average, Percocet can take at least 17 hours to leave your body but there will still be trace amounts in your system that can be detected on drug tests.

    Effects Of Oxycodone

    When you take Percocet as a pain reliever, it reaches its peak concentration in your system within one hour. It should continue to relieve pain for up to six hours. 

    Once Percocet kicks in, you will start to feel pain relief and possibly other side effects. Side effects of oxycodone are common, even if you are taking your prescription appropriately.

    Side effects of oxycodone may include:

    • constipation
    • nausea and vomiting
    • drowsiness
    • headache
    • mood changes
    • stomach pain

    Percocet should not be combined with other sedative drugs such as benzodiazepines and alcohol. Combining Percocet with these drugs or other opioids may intensify these side effects or cause a fatal overdose. 

    Elimination Of Oxycodone

    Percocet is taken orally and passes through your digestive system before it reaches your bloodstream. Once in your bloodstream, it attaches to opiate receptors in your central nervous system and you will start to feel pain relief. 

    The oxycodone in Percocet reaches peak concentration levels in about an hour. Peak concentration level is the highest amount of a drug in your bloodstream for that dose. After peak concentration, the pain-relieving effects will slowly wear off over the next several hours.

    Half-Life Of Oxycodone

    Knowing the half-life of a drug is helpful in determining how long it takes to leave your system. Half-life is the time it takes a drug, such as oxycodone, to reduce to half the starting amount in your body. 

    The half-life of oxycodone is about 3.5 hours, depending on the dose and strength. A drug usually has up to five half-lives before it is eliminated, which means it would take about 17 hours for it to be eliminated. 

    However, many laboratory tests can detect the metabolites that are created when your liver processes oxycodone. These metabolites are known as noroxycodone and oxymorphone. These can linger in your system for months after you stop taking Percocet. 

    Many factors can affect how long it takes your body to completely eliminate Percocet:

    • metabolism: how quickly your body can process the drug
    • dose: higher doses are more difficult for your liver to process
    • frequency of use: taking the drug more often can cause you to store oxycodone in fatty tissues, which take longer to be eliminated
    • health: people with liver problems will take longer to process Percocet 

    Drug Testing For Percocet

    Percocet is a Schedule II narcotic in the United States because it has a high risk of abuse and addiction. If you or a loved one has been prescribed Percocet, you may want information about drug testing. 

    Drug tests can detect oxycodone as well as the metabolites created by the liver. This is why you can still have a positive drug test months after your last dose. The more frequently you take Percocet or if you take high doses will determine the amount of time it takes to leave your system. 

    Window of detection for opioid drug testing includes:

    Urine Tests

    For urine tests, the oxycodone in Percocet may be detected for one to three days after last use.

    Blood Tests

    For blood tests, the oxycodone in Percocet may be detected for around 24 hours after last use.

    Salvia Tests

    Salvia tests can detect the oxycodone in Percocet within 48 hours of last use.

    Hair Follicle Tests

    Hair follicle tests can detect the oxycodone in Percocet within 90 days of last use.

    Percocet Addiction Treatment

    Even if you are prescribed Percocet, you may become addicted if you abuse it or take it for a long period of time. 

    The first step in addiction treatment may be a medical detox program to help you through withdrawal symptoms. Medical detoxes provide you with around-the-clock care and medications to ease the discomfort of withdrawal. 

    Many people who are addicted exhibit negative behavior patterns and can benefit from behavioral therapy. After you are released from detox, you may choose to enter a residential or outpatient program to address these issues.

    If you think you or a loved one may be addicted, please contact an Ark Behavioral Specialist for treatment options.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2024 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.
    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 13, 2022
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