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Withdrawel symptoms from Percocet
January 9, 2017

Percocet Withdrawal Timeline: Common Symptoms to Expect

Withdrawel symptoms from Percocet

Percocet is the brand name of oxycodone, and as an opiate, belongs to a class of drugs commonly prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. This commonly prescribed painkiller is the combination of a narcotic (oxycodone) that works in the brain to change how the user’s body feels and responds to pain and a non-narcotic pain reliever (acetaminophen).

Misuse of Percocet occurs when taken in a dose or manner not prescribed, taking someone else’s prescription, or taking the drug to feel the effects of euphoria. Opiate painkillers like Percocet are classified as Schedule II controlled substances by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). These are narcotic substances that have a high potential for abuse and may lead to severe psychological or physical dependence.

Once a physical dependency develops with opiates, it is difficult to get free without professional help. Four in five new heroin users started out misusing prescription painkillers before moving on to the less expensive and more readily available illicit street drug.

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms

Anyone undergoing Percocet withdrawal is likely to experience uncomfortable physical symptoms, but most are not life-threatening. Nevertheless, detoxification should take place with medical supervision. Never attempt to kick opiate dependence on a powerful drug such as Percocet at home. Not only could the effort prove fruitless, but it could also be dangerous, especially if Percocet has been combined with alcohol and other substance abuse.

Percocet withdrawal symptoms include physical and psychological signs, among the most common of which are:


  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Flu-like symptoms: fever, runny nose, sneezing
  • Goose bumps
  • Hallucinations
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Low energy


  • Muscle aches
  • Nausea
  • Pain
  • Poor concentration
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Restlessness
  • Rigid muscles
  • Seizures
  • Shivering
  • Tremors
  • Social isolation
  • Teary eyes
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Yawning

Some Percocet users find withdrawal symptoms so intense that they relapse just to avoid them. Short-term Percocet users may experience withdrawal symptoms of lighter and shorter duration, while long-term, heavy Percocet users are likely to undergo withdrawal symptoms like those of heroin withdrawal.

Percocet Withdrawal Timeline

Symptoms typically peak by the second or third day after cessation of use. As a general timeline, safe detoxing from Percocet takes between 7-10 days. Some withdrawal symptoms, however, including anxiety, sleeplessness and lack of energy, may persist for a few weeks or longer.

When undergoing detox in a facility with 24/7 medical supervision, doctors may administer medications, such as Suboxone, to help ease some withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone, which contains buprenorphine and naloxone, is tapered off over a period of days during detox. Buprenorphine helps a user stay off drugs and reduces psychological symptoms such as anxiety and depression experienced during withdrawal.

Complications from long-term Percocet abuse, such as dependence, addiction (to Percocet and alcohol or other drugs of abuse), liver damage and kidney failure, may require additional coordinated, comprehensive detox protocol, including medication-assisted therapy (MAT).

Successful detox from Percocet misuse, dependence or addiction, however, is not enough to deter subsequent use. Without appropriate treatment after detox, returning to Percocet use may result in a fatal overdose. Counseling helps those in recovery learn better ways to cope with life’s challenges than self-medicating with opiate painkillers like Percocet.

Percocet Recovery Timeline

Misuse, dependence, and addiction to Percocet does not occur overnight, although it can happen quickly for some users. The most effective approach to opiate painkiller recovery is detox followed by professional counseling. Indeed, detox is a necessary and preliminary first step on the path to recovery. The next critical component is treatment.

Inpatient Rehab – Each person’s treatment plan is personalized, tailored to his or her specific needs. Typical treatment plans include individual and group therapy, along with education to learn coping skills, relapse prevention training, how to recognize and deal with triggers to use, an introduction to self-help groups and other educational, social and healthy living approaches.

For those with dual diagnosis, (meaning they have been diagnosed with Percocet addiction as well as a mental health disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar disorder), treatment for both the substance use disorder and mental health disorder should be addressed simultaneously.

Percocet and Painkiller Addiction

Percocet and painkiller addiction are a major public health problem in this country. In 2015, data from the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health showed that, of the 20.5 million Americans over the age of 12 with a substance use disorder (SUD), 2 million had a SUD due to prescription painkillers. The crisis in opiate painkiller abuse, overdose, and death reached epidemic levels in the U.S. in 2016. Providers wrote 259 million prescriptions for opiate painkillers in 2012, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That’s equivalent to every American having a bottle of opiate prescription drug. Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death in the U.S., accounting for 55,403 lethal drug overdoses in 2015. In that same year, opiate addiction was the underlying driver, with 20,101 overdose deaths from prescription painkillers (compared to 12,990 for heroin).

Women are both more likely to be prescribed prescription painkillers for chronic pain, receive prescriptions for higher painkiller doses, use them longer than men, and may become more dependent on these painkiller opiates than men. For women, overdose deaths from prescription painkillers increased more than 400 percent in the period from 1999-2010, compared to 237 percent prescription painkiller overdose deaths among men.