Percocet (acetaminophen and oxycodone) is a medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen (paracetamol). Both of these ingredients have analgesic effects which work together synergistically to relieve pain. The main source of the pain relief effects of Percocet however come from the oxycodone. Oxycodone is an opiate drug that is classified as semi-synthetic. Due to its ability to significantly reduce pain Percocet is often prescribed to those recovering from major surgeries, cancer patients, and those with severe back injuries. Percocet has been shown to improve the quality of life for many who fit into these categories. However, there are some side effects those prescribed Percocet should be aware of.
Common side effects of Percocet
Percocet posses a few immediate side effects those taking it should be sure to watch for. One of the main side effects experienced by those taking Percocet is constipation. This can be combated by making sure to eat a diet which is high in fiber. Some may also experience nausea and dizziness as a side effect of taking Percocet. If this is the case you may want to talk to your doctor about switching medications. Dry mouth, itchiness, and sweating are also a few other common side effects experienced by some who take Percocet. Some of the more rare side effects of Percocet are anxiety, weight loss, urine retention, and diarrhea. If any of these side effects are experienced usage of Percocet should be stopped and a doctor consulted for proper evaluation.
Long-term side effects of Percocet
One of the main long-term side effects of taking Percocet (acetaminophen and oxycodone) regularly can be damage to the liver. This is due to the paracetamol contained in Percocet. Paracetamol is known to cause liver damage or failure when taken in high doses. Taking paracetamol regularly has also been found to put strain on the liver often resulting in liver disease. The reason for this is the way in which the liver processes paracetamol puts excess strain upon the liver which leads to liver damage after a prolonged period of time. For this reason those who already have liver problems should avoid taking Percocet altogether. Those who are prescribed Percocet should avoid taking it for a prolonged period of time to help limit the possibility of liver disease developing. Mixing Percocet with alcohol on a frequent basis will further increase the risk of liver disease developing and should be avoided.
Another common side effect of those who use Percocet for long-term treatment is dependence to the medication. This can happen on both a physical as well as a psychological level. This is mainly due to the fact that one of the ingredients in Percocet, oxycodone, is an opiate. Opiates are known for being highly addictive. The body also becomes physically dependent upon oxycodone when it is used for a long period of time. This results in withdrawal symptoms when treatment is stopped. Those who feel they have become addicted to Percocet should inform a doctor immediately as there are a wide variety of treatment options available.