Recovery Blog How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

How long Percocet stays in your system depends on factors like individual health, how much Percocet someone uses and how long they’ve been using it. Understanding how long Percocet stays in your system is important in preventing a potentially deadly overdose from occurring.  Learn more below.

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How Percocet Works

Percocet is a prescription combination medication of oxycodone and acetaminophen. The combination element of Percocet helps it fight pain in multiple ways. When someone uses Percocet, the oxycodone activates the opioid receptors in the brain. This reaction alters the individual’s perception of pain. Percocet doesn’t treat the pain, but it manages the sensation of pain.

When someone uses an opioid like oxycodone, they may experience pleasant side effects such as euphoria or a sense of well-being. Opioids can then trigger the brain’s reward and reinforcement response, which may lead to compulsive use of the substance.

Researchers and doctors are unclear about how acetaminophen works. Some theories highlight the potential for acetaminophen to affect the chemical messengers that transmit messages of inflammation and pain. Others think there could be effects on how messages are transmitted through the brain and spine. Unlike oxycodone, Acetaminophen is not habit-forming.

What is the Half-Life of Percocet?

The half-life of a medication is the time it takes for the concentration level of the medication in the blood to reduce by 50 percent. A drug’s half-life can provide an estimate of how long Percocet remains in the system. It takes several half-lives for most substances to clear a person’s system.

The half-life of immediate-release oxycodone is just over 3 hours, on average. With extended-release oxycodone, the half-life is around 4.5 hours. The half-life of the acetaminophen in Percocet is anywhere from 1.25 to 3 hours on average.

Factors that can impact how long a drug stays in someone’s system are:

  • Metabolism
  • Weight
  • Kidney and liver function
  • The dose used
  • How often a person uses the substance
  • Body fat percentage

If someone takes multiple Percocet doses too closely together before full elimination, they could overdose. Symptoms of a Percocet overdose can stem from the oxycodone in the drug but also the acetaminophen.

Symptoms of a Percocet overdose include:

  • Problems breathing (e.g., slow or stopped breathing)
  • Excessive drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting
  • Weak muscles
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Skin, fingernails or lips with a bluish tint
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Urine?

Drug screenings may identify the recent use of the oxycodone in Percocet. For most people, Percocet fully leaves the system within 24 hours, but it can still be detected in certain drug screenings longer due to the metabolites the drug leaves behind.

How long does Percocet stay in your urine? Percocet may be detectable in urine anywhere from three to four days after the latest use. Percocet use may be detected in blood tests for up to 24 hours after use. In saliva, detection times range from one to four days, and in hair tests up to 90 days.

Find Help with Percocet Addiction

If you or a loved one live with Percocet addiction, contact The Recovery Village Columbus. Our representatives can help you learn more about addiction treatment for Percocet and the types of programs that could best fit for your needs. Begin your healthier future today.

  • “Opioids.” National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2021. Accessed July 28, 2021.
  • “Percocet.” November 2006. Accessed July 28, 2021.
  • “Percocet.” June 2018. Accessed July 28, 2021.
  • Thomas, Liji. “What is the Half-Life of a Drug?.”, May 18, 2021. Accessed July 28, 2021.

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.