Percocet (acetaminophen and oxycodone) is a prescription medication containing oxycodone and acetaminophen (paracetamol). It is used to treat moderate to severe pain. Paracetamol is also known by the name acetaminophen and is the active ingredient in the over the counter medication Tylenol. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opiate derived from naturally occurring opiates found within the poppy. Due to its ability to treat pain it is often given to cancer patients and those recovery from severe injuries or surgery. Since it has the capability to produce euphoria for certain individuals Percocet is also frequently abused and has a high risk of addiction. Those prescribed Percocet should be aware of the dangers of mixing Percocet with alcohol and the possible side effects which may occur as a result of this combination. Those who abuse Percocet often combine the medication with alcohol causing a greater risk of many bad side effects.
Oxycodone and alcohol side effects
One of the main ingredients in Percocet is oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opiate and is therefore classified as a downer drug or central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Alcohol is also a downer and CSN depressant. The combination of two CNS depressants increases the risk of respiratory depression. Severe enough respiratory depression will result in the inability to breath and death as a result. The levels of alcohol and Percocet needed to result in respiratory depression are very high, but this side effect is still a possibility when Percocet and alcohol are combined. Other possible side effects of combining Percocet with alcohol are an increase in fatigue and sedation. This can lead to a greater likelihood of losing consciousness which can be harmful if it happens in a public place. Combining alcohol and Percocet also increases the loss of coordination. For this reason you should never drive if any amount of Percocet or alcohol has been consumed.
Acetaminophen (paracetamol) and alcohol side effects
The other active ingredient in Percocet is paracetamol. Paracetamol is also dangerous when combined with alcohol but for different reasons than oxycodone. Paracetamol on its own buts excess stress upon the liver and can result in liver damage. Alcohol as well is known to be hard on the liver. Combining these two substances results in a much greater risk for liver damage. If amounts of both are high enough it can result in permanent liver damage. It can also cause acute liver failure which can be fatal. Combining alcohol with Percocet also can result in the side effect of stomach ulceration. This is detectable by the presence of blood in vomit or in stools. Long term combination of paracetamol and alcohol significantly increases the risk of liver disease developing.
Percocet and alcohol treatment
If one ingests too much alcohol and Percocet they should seek medical attention immediately. It is easy to overdose on Percocet and alcohol due to the potentiating each has of the others side effects. Treatment of an overdose of alcohol and Percocet consists of monitoring the patients vital signs and administering intravenous fluids to maintain hydration. The patient may also be given activated charcoal to clear the stomach of any still unprocessed Percocet or alcohol. If caught soon enough a alcohol and Percocet overdose can be treated.