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Medically Reviewed

Percocet Detox and Withdrawal: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

- 3 sections

Medically Reviewed: April 14, 2020

Medical Reviewer

Sahil Talwar, PA-C, MBA


All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.

Percocet is a prescription opiate medication that is commonly abused in the United States. When a person who regularly takes Percocet discontinues the medication, they begin to experience withdrawal symptoms. The medication contains oxycodone, which is a highly addictive substance. As a result, people often become addicted to Percocet and take it periodically. However, withdrawal symptoms occur even if the medication is taken as prescribed. These symptoms can sometimes be serious and should be monitored by a healthcare professional in a Percocet detox facility.

Detoxing from Percocet is both physically and mentally challenging. People who are going through Percocet detox experience flu-like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, dizziness, anxiety, and depression. It is important to monitor these withdrawal symptoms to ensure the most comfortable drug detox experience possible.

Effects Of Percocet On The Body

Percocet is a prescription pain reliever. It works by blocking pain (opiate) receptors throughout the body which are located in the brain, spine, and gastrointestinal (GI) tract.[1] The drug also induces feelings of pleasure and euphoria by releasing the chemicals in the brain responsible for creating such feelings. This is one of the reasons why Percocet is so addictive.

As someone continues to take Percocet, their body develops a tolerance to the medication. This means that they need to take higher doses of Percocet to achieve the same results they did when they first started taking the medication. Tolerance occurs when the body becomes adjusted to having the medication and is one of the first signs that a person needs medical detox for Percocet addiction. The body eventually stops naturally producing the same amounts of chemicals that the Percocet is artificially replacing or causing to be released.

In addition to relieving pain and causing feelings of euphoria, Percocet also reduces heart rate and slows down breathing. This can be very dangerous, especially as people develop tolerance to the medication. As a result, abuse of the drug may cause an overdose. When a Percocet addict stops taking the drug, their bodies are left a deficit of the “feel good” chemicals that lead to feelings of pleasure and happiness. It takes the body some time to readjust to healthy levels of chemicals again. Unfortunately, this is when withdrawal sets in. People often experience both physical and mental withdrawal symptoms when detoxing from Percocet. [2]

Physical Effects Of Percocet Detox and Withdrawal

Ultimately, it may take up to a week for these symptoms to improve or resolve. During this time, it is important that an addict detoxes from Percocet in a safe manner. This typically includes being monitored by a medical professional at a certified drug and alcohol detox center. This ensures that individuals remain as stable and comfortable as possible throughout the detoxification process.

Mental Effects Of Percocet Withdrawal

As Percocet artificially increases the “feel good” chemicals in the brain, it also reduces anxiety and depression. Once someone stops taking Percocet, they may experience psychological withdrawal symptoms in addition to physical symptoms. Psychological symptoms of Percocet withdrawal range from cravings to intense mood swings and irritability. Fortunately,  these symptoms are managed effectively with medication that is administered during medically assisted opiate detox.

Percocet Detox

Detoxing from Percocet is difficult and unpleasant. As a result, people should detox in a facility where there are healthcare professionals to monitor them. In most cases, people with opioid use disorder are tapered off of Percocet with medication-assisted treatment. The most commonly prescribed medication for Percocet detox is Suboxone

Suboxone treatment helps reduce withdrawal symptoms and is very useful during Percocet detox. The FDA-approved medication contains buprenorphine and naloxone, two drugs that help treat opioid use disorder.[3] Buprenorphine is a weak opiate, so it mitigates the withdrawal symptoms people experience. It allows addicts to taper off opiates rather than stopping cold turkey. Naloxone blocks the opiate in Suboxone from providing pain relief and feelings of euphoria, which is what leads to Percocet abuse. The unique combination of these drugs is what makes the medication a safe and effective treatment for Percocet detox.

Our detox center in Charlotte, North Carolina has an excellent team of professionals to help make the detox process as comfortable as possible. They will be able to safely administer Suboxone and other medications to help ease withdrawal symptoms. Our staff at Charlotte Detox Center is dedicated to monitoring patients during their treatment to ensure a successful detox experience before patients move on to more intensive treatment.