Percocet is a brand-name prescription medication that contains a combination of oxycodone, a narcotic opioid drug, and acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain and fever reducer which is the active ingredient in Tylenol. The medication is used to treat moderate to severe pain, but on a short-term basis only because it can be habit-forming.
Like other prescription opioids, Percocet is a common drug of abuse. It is a Schedule II controlled substance indicating a high potential for abuse and addiction. Regular non-medical use of the drug can result in physical and psychological dependence or opioid use disorder. When taken in high doses, a person can experience an oxycodone (opioid) overdose that is potentially life-threatening.
Knowing how long Percocet stays in your system can help you prevent an accidental overdose or understand whether or not you can pass a drug test. A single dose of Percocet can be detected in your urine for up to four days, but the drug technically leaves your system a bit faster than that. For most people, a single dose of Percocet will stay in the blood for up to 24 hours.
How Long Do The Effects of Percocet Last?
The pain-relieving side effects of Percocet can be felt as soon as 20 to 30 minutes after taking the drug and the effects will peak after about one hour.
Common side effects of Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) include:
- Blurry vision
- Upset stomach
Oxycodone, the ingredient that produces narcotic effects, is a fast-acting medication that only lasts a few hours. After 4-6 hours, the effects of Percocet typically subside.
The Half-Life of Percocet
The elimination half-life of a substance refers to how long it takes, on average, for half of a dose of a substance to be fully metabolized and leave your system. It usually takes 4-5 half-lives for a substance to leave your body completely, so this is important information to know.
Percocet has an average half-life of 3.5 hours. This means it can take about 19 hours for the drug to leave your system completely.
While Percocet leaves your system fairly quickly, oxycodone is metabolized into oxymorphone, a metabolite that later metabolizes in the liver into noroxymorphone. Noroxymorphine is eliminated from the body through urine and can be detected by various drug tests for several days after using a single dose of Percocet.
Factors That Influence How Long Percocet Stays in Your System
Narcotics may stay in your system shorter or longer than other people. This is because the total elimination time depends on a variety of factors, including:
- Frequency and duration of use – Using Percocet longer and more frequently causes it to build up in your system, meaning it will take longer for your body to metabolize and eliminate all of it. Similarly, taking higher doses of the drug will also make it stay in your system longer.
- Age – Adults over the age of 40 typically eliminate Percocet from their systems at a slower rate than adults who are under the age of 40.
- Metabolism – The faster your metabolism, the quicker you will metabolize and eliminate drugs from your system. Your metabolism can be affected by your age, weight, hydration, physical activity, the types of foods you eat, and more.
- Kidney and liver function – Opioids like oxycodone are metabolized in the kidney and liver, so if these organs aren’t functioning properly, it can take you longer to eliminate the drugs from your body.
How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your Urine, Blood, Saliva, and Hair?
There are several different types of drug tests that screen for oxycodone and its metabolites. Each drug test type has a different detection window and can detect Percocet in the system for varying lengths of time.
- Urine tests – Urine tests are the most frequently used drug tests by employers and other entities. Percocet can stay in your urine for up to four days after your last dose.
- Blood tests – Percocet can be detected in blood for about 24 hours after your last dose.
- Saliva tests – Percocet can be detected in saliva for up to two days after your last dose.
- Hair tests – Hair tests have the longest detection window of all and can carry traces of Percocet and other drugs for up to 90 days after the last dose.
Of course, these are simply estimates, and the actual detection times can vary greatly from one person to the next.
Getting Percocet Out of Your System Safely
Whether you have an upcoming drug test or are ready to get sober and need to detox your body, you may be wondering what steps you can take to get Percocet out of your body quickly and safely. Although drinking lots of fluids can help dilute your urine, it’s unlikely to help you pass a drug test or speed up the Percocet detox process.
Instead, the best way to detox from Percocet is to enlist the help of a medical detox facility. Medical detox centers can prescribe medications to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal and reduce drug cravings, thereby preventing you from relapsing or continuing to use opioids.
Common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Muscle pain
- Body discomfort
- Cold sweats
- Abdominal pain and cramping
These symptoms can begin in the first few hours after your last dose wears off and may last for up to a week. Some symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, and cravings, may persist for several weeks or months but can be managed with the help of a substance abuse treatment program.
Find an Opioid Detox and Treatment Center in New Jersey Today
If you or a loved one are addicted to Percocet, you are not alone, and help is available. Our team at New Jersey Addiction Interventions can help you verify your insurance coverage, find detox, and locate the right opioid addiction treatment program based on your needs. Don’t wait any longer. Call now to speak with a qualified admissions coordinator.
Medically Reviewed: June 7, 2022
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.