Percocet is a narcotic analgesic that doctors commonly prescribe to treat acute pain and moderate to severe chronic pain. This medication is a combination of oxycodone, which is a derivative of opium, and acetaminophen, a non-narcotic analgesic. However, it is also highly addictive.
During the pandemic, there has been a rise in substance misuse and a decline in help-seeking. At Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge, we offer numerous avenues for people concerned about their use of prescription painkillers and other opiates. We offer inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment, as well as programs specific to prescription, heroin, fentanyl, and other opiate misuses. Our approach is faith-based and anchored in the belief in compassionate care and individual dignity. If you or a loved one needs addiction treatment, reach out to an addiction specialist using the online form or calling 844.442.8673.
Percocet Side Effects
When people use Percocet as their doctor prescribed, it has a range of non-life-threatening side-effects. The least concerning include:
- Bad breath
- Rash and itching
Other common side-effects include flu-like symptoms, such as chills, fever, dizziness, and nausea. Stomach pain, vomiting blood, dark urine or stool, shallow breathing, and confusion also can result from Percocet use.
There are more serious, though less common, side-effects as well. Depression of breathing, blood pressure and circulation, apnea (periodic cessation of breathing), and shock can also result from Percocet use.
Because Percocet is a combination of two powerful pain relievers, it comes with the above risks, as well as others, such as tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction
Percocet interacts within the brain, affecting how it feels and responds to pain. Continued use of Percocet and other pain treatments that include oxycodone can lead to tolerance, dependence, and in many cases, addiction.
Tolerance means the patient’s body grows used to the dose the doctor prescribed initially and needs more to achieve the same effects. Tolerance is a slippery slope.
Dependence is the next step on the risk ladder. If a patient’s body requires the drug even when it is not in pain, they’ve developed physical dependence. Discontinuing the medication will result in withdrawal symptoms, including chills, nausea, vomiting, and insomnia. At this point, the patient is in danger of becoming addicted.
Addiction is defined as a compulsive, chronic, physical, and psychological need for a habit-forming substance. Symptoms of addiction include overwhelming cravings, including obsessive thoughts of the drug and an inability to control usage. Some people become so desperate to acquire the drug that they will move from doctor to doctor and even lie about their pain. In some cases, their addiction shifts to illegal opiates that are often cheaper and easier to find.
The Dangers of Oxycodone
Despite being a potent pain relief drug, doctors and patients should prescribe and use any medication containing oxycodone with extreme caution. There is a high risk of dependence and addiction. Furthermore, if patients take it in high doses or combine it with other substances like alcohol, this substance can interfere with breathing resulting in death. Many physicians face a moral dilemma when prescribing Percocet. They want to offer relief to patients suffering from severe pain, but they also understand the long-term dangers of opiates. More and more pain patients are being referred to pain-management specialists to help navigate the risks.
Seek Treatment at Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge
During the pandemic, anxiety, isolation, and financial and job insecurity add to the increase in addiction and opiate misuse we see nationwide. Fortunately, there is treatment available.
If you are concerned about your use of Percocet or other opiate prescription painkillers or have concerns about a friend or loved one, PAATC can help. We have four locations around Pennsylvania. Contact our opiate addiction treatment center by using the online form or by calling 844.442.8673 today. Our caring professionals want to see you succeed.