Percocet Abuse and Addiction

Percocet Abuse and Addiction

Percocet came in the market in mid 1990. Since then, doctors have been routinely prescribing the drug for the management of pain ranging in intensity from moderate to severe. It is an effective drug that is commonly used for relieving the pain after surgeries, injuries or the dental procedures. The drug is composed of two active ingredients, Oxycodone, and acetaminophen. It is legally available in the United States as a prescription drug.  The addictive property of Oxycodone has brought its name on the list of widely abused prescription medications. Similar to other opiates, higher doses of the drug produce the euphoric effects, which makes the person fall in the habit of continuous misuse. The abuse can prove to be very harmful to the individual.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is a drug made from the combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. It has both the properties of an opioid and a non-opioid painkiller. ‘Percocet’ is a trade name for the mentioned chemical composition. It is available in various strengths. The drug contains some other ingredients as well, which include croscarmellose sodium, silicon dioxide, microcrystalline cellulose, crospovidone, povidone, stearic acid, and cornstarch. These are the inactive ingredients that are used only to increase the stability of main constituents. The drug comes in circular and elliptical tablet forms. It has different colors, depending upon the strength of the tablet.

  • Peach colored tablet of strength 325 mg / 7.5 mg, which has a capsule shape.
  • White colored tablet of strength 325 mg / 5 mg comes in round shape.
  • Yellow colored tablet of strength 650 mg / 10 mg in an elliptical shape.
  • Orange colored tablet of strength 500 mg / 7.5 mg in an elliptical shape.
  • Pink colored tablet of strength 325mg / 2.5 mg, oval shape.

The street names for Percocet are:

  • Percs
  • Roxi’s
  • Paulas
  • Roxicotten
  • 512s
  • Blue dynamite

How does Percocet work?

It has two chemical compounds in its formulation. Oxycodone is an opioid agonist which works on the mu-opioid receptors. The therapeutic effect of Oxycodone is analgesia. The opioid receptors are present in many parts of the brain and spinal cord so the drug can effectively alter the pain pathways. The mechanism of action of acetaminophen is not precisely established, but it is said to work on the central nervous system to block the pain sensations.

What are the uses of Percocet?

It is a prescription medicine which is used for pain management. By altering the pain perception pathways in the brain, it can reduce the pain of injuries or surgeries. It is used as a potent painkiller in the hospital settings. However, the euphoric effect of Oxycodone has contributed to its recreational use, adding to the vast number of cases of abuse.

What are the dosage amounts for Percocet?

The doses are adjusted according to the requirement and response of the patients. Sometimes it becomes necessary to slightly exceed from routine doses, in patients with severe pain symptoms. If the patient is complaining of constant pain, the dose is repeated at 6 hours interval. The maximum allowed dose is 4 grams per day.

  • 5 mg/325 mg = For adults, it is 1 tablet every 6 hours as per the requirements. The total dose shouldn’t exceed 12 tablets on a single day.
  • 5 mg/325 mg= 1 tablet daily six hourly. The maximum dose is 12 tablets.
  • 5 mg/325 mg= 1 tablet daily at six hours interval. The total number of tablets shouldn’t exceed 8.
  • 10 mg/325 mg= one tablet six hourly, total number of tablets per day must be limited to 6.

Is Percocet addictive?

Yes, the drug has an addictive potential. It comes with a clear warning label stating ‘Percocet has the risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction’. There are chances of overdose and death also. It gives the euphoric and calming effects. People who take the drug for weeks have the risk of developing the physical and psychological dependency on it. Since one of the active ingredients is opioid, regular use of the drug can produce the structural alterations in the brain. The routine use leads to the development of more opioid receptors in the regions of the brain and spinal cord. So the brain demands more of the drug to keep the receptors functional and activated. If the person doesn’t supply enough of the drug to the body after a prolonged regular use, the body acts adversely by producing certain distressing symptoms.

Percocet if taken in the prescribed doses is a safe medicine that cannot develop the addiction. However, if the drug is taken in improper or frequent amounts, it will likely cause dependence and thus, the addiction. It can badly affect the health and quality of life of an addict.

Common Percocet drug combinations:

Percocet can interact with many drugs. It is advised to discuss with the doctor about the medicines an individual is already taking for other health disorders. The drug abusers often combine it with many drugs to achieve the augmented effects. It is mostly added to Xanax, Vicodin, alcohol, and marijuana. According to the warning label, the drug should not be used in combination with alcohol, Fentanyl, tranquilizers, and sedatives. As the drug itself has a sedative effect on the CNS, mixing with other CNS depressants can produce a lethal outcome in the form of severe respiratory depression.

American statistics on Percocet abuse:

Some figures about Percocet abuse in the United States are stated as follows.

  • An increase of 164 million in the number of prescriptions has been observed from the year 1991 to 2014.
  • 81% of the globally produced Oxycodone is consumed in America.
  • There had been 16,651 deaths due to opioid overdose in 2015.

On an average, 4000 people start abusing prescription opiate medicines daily.