How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

In this article, you will learn about the signs of Percocet addiction, the side effects of opioid misuse, how long Percocet stays in the body, drug testing, and treatment for substance use. 

Table of Contents

What Is Percocet?

You may be asking yourself, what is Percocet and what does it do? Percocet is the brand name for oxycodone and acetaminophen tablets. This medication is classified as an opiate and is commonly prescribed for pain relief. Percocet is a controlled narcotic that alters how your brain and nervous system react to pain. Opioids like Percocet are highly addictive, and misuse of the substance can result in an overdose.

Percocet vs. Norco

Norco is another combination drug made up of two different medications. Unlike Percocet, Norco is formulated with a different opioid. Norco is made with hydrocodone and contains acetaminophen. Both hydrocodone and acetaminophen work together to relieve pain.

Generic Names

The generic name for Percocet is oxycodone and acetaminophen. Although this sounds like a mouthful, it is common practice for drugs to be created as a combination of two medications. In this case, it is acetaminophen or Tylenol and oxycodone formulated into one pain-relieving pill.

Common Street Names

Among drug dealers and those who struggle with substance abuse, Percocet pills are commonly known as “Percs.” Street names for various drugs that contain oxycodone include cotton, oxy, oxycontin, and hillbilly heroin. Likely, this is not an all-inclusive list, as new terms are created and adopted frequently.3 A search on the internet can help identify a substance based on a term you may have heard someone use. 

Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Addiction

Every individual that takes Percocet, whether prescribed or non-prescribed, is at risk of developing an opiate addiction. Since 1999, over 232,000 individuals have died in the United States due to a prescription opioid overdose. There are serious, life-threatening risks associated with prescription opioids.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has informed the public there is insufficient evidence to show long-term effectiveness for prescriptions opioids.4 Understanding and familiarizing yourself with the signs and symptoms of Percocet addiction is critical in this day and age. 

Physical Signs

Physical signs of Percocet addiction can include:

  • Sweating
  • Itching
  • low energy
  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation

Tolerance is also something to look for when assessing someone for addiction. If a person starts to need more and more medication to feel the same relief, they are becoming tolerant and need to be evaluated by their prescriber. Another sign of addiction is physical dependence, which means your body needs the medication regularly to avoid withdrawal symptoms.4   

Behavioral Signs

Behavioral signs of Percocet addiction may include:5

  • Depression
  • Changed or lost relationships
  • Frequent isolation
  • Less interest in hobbies
  • Constant sadness
  • Sudden mood changes
  • Missed appointments
  • Legal consequences
  • Poor performance at work
  • Unexpected financial struggles 

Percocet Side Effects

The Dangers of Percocet Abuse


Side effects of a Percocet overdose can include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Inability to speak
  • Blue skin
  • Dark-colored lips
  • Snoring or gurgling noises

If someone you know has overdosed, call 911 and seek emergency medical care. Naloxone is a beneficial drug to have on hand in case of an opioid overdose. Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose immediately.5


If an individual has become dependent or addicted to Percocet, withdrawal symptoms to look for include:

  • Cravings to use
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea
  • Shaking

In most cases, withdrawal symptoms last anywhere from three to five days. For some individuals, the withdrawal symptoms can last up to ten days. How a person’s body detoxes is highly individualized. It is essential to understand that detoxing from opiates can be life-threatening. For this reason, the safest and best choice for Percocet detox is to check into a medical detox program.

Types of Percocet Effects

With a prescription for Percocet, patients must be made aware of the severe side effects that may occur. Along with the side effects, physicians will warn patients not to consume alcohol or take additional medications without discussing it with their prescriber first.6


Common short-term side effects of Percocet use include:

  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Headaches

If you are taking Percocet and experiencing unusual side effects, it is critical to contact your doctor immediately for professional medical advice.


In the long run, patients and individuals using Percocet can experience problems urinating, liver issues, disrupted breathing, low cortisol levels, and fertility issues. If you are concerned about long-term side effects or trying to conceive, it is essential to discuss these effects with your doctor.

Factors That Determine How Long Percocet Stay In Your System

Type of Drug

Different substances and drugs stay in the body for various lengths of time. For example, alcohol stays in your system much longer than LSD. These numbers are based mainly on the frequency of use, the amount used, and the efficiency of an individual’s bodily functions.

Method of Use

When trying to calculate how long it will take for Percocet to leave your system, it is essential to consider the method of administration. For example, individuals can take opiates orally, through the nasal passages, or inject the drug intravenously. Route of administration can potentially affect how long the substance stays in your body. 

Amount of Drug

How much Percocet an individual consumes daily can broadly impact how long the drug stays in your system. If a person takes a low dosage, it would most likely move out of their system more quickly. If that same person were to develop tolerance and begin overusing the medication, high levels of Percocet could stay in the body for more extended periods. 

Drug’s Half-Life

The term half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for Percocet’s active substances (oxycodone and acetaminophen) to reduce by half in your body. The half-life of Percocet is about three to five hours, depending on the person.

Body Mass

Sometimes medications have to be adjusted based on factors including weight to treat an individual accurately. Percocet dosage can depend on a person’s weight and body mass. Body mass has been shown to affect how long Percocet stays in the human body.

Metabolic Rate

A person’s metabolic rate depends on age, gender, physical activity, hormone health, and muscle-to-fat ratio. Depending on your metabolic rate, you may process opiates slower or faster than others with a different metabolic rate.

How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

Using the half-life, you may have already calculated how long Percocet will stay in your system. Generally, Percocet will remain in the human body for anywhere from six to ten hours. However, drugs can be stored in various parts of the body differently. Let’s discuss how the length of time differs between hair follicles, blood, and saliva. 

Hair Follicle

Hair testing for substance use is often preferred because it provides a long detection window to identify potential positive results. Hair follicles are ideal when treating individuals with intermittent or unexpected use patterns. However, a few possible barriers include hair availability and high cost.10 


Prescribers and doctors commonly use blood or urine tests to monitor prescription opioid use. Providers can use the results to ensure patients are taking the correct dosage of Percocet. A blood sample can generally be collected in less than five minutes.11 


Saliva testing is usually conducted in two ways, either by mouth swab or spitting into a tube. If the healthcare professional asks for a mouth swab, they will ask you to hold the swab or pad on the inside of your cheek to allow enough saliva to build up.11 

Percocet Detection Test

Detection windows provide time frames for when prescription medication or illicit substance use can be identified using various drug tests. The following sections will provide information about the Percocet detection windows when testing urine, hair, blood, and saliva.

  • Urine: The urine detection window after opiate use, specifically Percocet, is up to three days.
  • Hair: Hair follicle testing usually offers about a ninety-day detection window for Percocet.
  • Blood: In general, blood drug testing offers a very small detection window. Percocet is detectable in blood for approximately one day.12
  • Saliva: Saliva testing provides a detection window of approximately 12-36 hours when testing for Percocet.12  

Treatment for Percocet Addiction

In 2014, research showed us that about 2.5 million people in the United States struggle with an opioid use disorder. Opiate addiction can be treated and addressed in multiple ways.

There is not a one size fits all approach to recovery. Every person requires an individualized treatment plan and recovery strategy. Most opiate addicts participate in detox, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and therapy at some point during their healing process.13 


Percocet detox is a critical component when treating opioid use disorder. Detox provides a safe and controlled environment for an individual to work through medically supervised withdrawals. Without medical detox or another form of treatment, withdrawal from opiates can be fatal.14 

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Another tool for treating Percocet addiction is MAT. The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified methadone and buprenorphine (suboxone) as essential medications. In the United States, MAT has become more accessible with daily dosing clinics.

Generally, MAT providers will see patients every day and randomly administer Percocet drug tests. MAT is a lifesaving tool that can help an individual stop using non-prescribed substances.14 


When treating substance use disorders, therapists utilize various levels of care and treatment modalities. Therapy can be provided in long-term inpatient, short-term residential, and outpatient settings. Substance use disorder professionals often use evidence-based practices such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), acceptance commitment therapy (ACT), and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) to treat Percocet addiction. 


If you or a loved one needs help, please call us at
623-523-4748 and our team at Blueprints For Recovery in Arizona will help.

Related Content

Learn More

In-Network with Most Major Insurance Providers

Fill out our free and confidential form to see how your insurance could cover the cost of treatment. No commitment required.