How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

percocet abusePercocet is a combination of the semisynthetic opioid oxycodone and the mild analgesic acetaminophen, the active component of Tylenol.

It’s used to treat moderate to severe pain on a short-term basis, and it is dispensed in tablet form.

The opioid aspect of the drug rapidly produces tolerance. Individuals regularly taking Percocet will need higher and higher doses to produce the same effect. This can lead to addiction and adverse health effects.

The abuse of prescription medications has been on the rise due to increased availability and the belief that these drugs are safer to abuse than illicit intoxicants. However, prescription opioids like Percocet can be just as addictive as illegal drugs and have the potential for overdose. In fact, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported in 2009 that deaths related to oxycodone in Ontario increased fivefold between 1991 and 2004.

This rise in abuse and deaths led governments to restrict prescriptions of Percocet. Tests were developed to detect the presence of the drug in urine, saliva, and hair follicles. These may be used in addiction treatment center to detect relapse or by certain employers in various occupations.

Withdrawal from Percocet

Anyone addicted to Percocet or any other opioid should consult a medical professional before attempting to quit, as withdrawal symptoms can be extremely unpleasant, and cravings can be intense. Addiction treatment centers may gradually wean a client off the medication or substitute an opioid dependence treatment medication to minimize these effects.

Percocet withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypertension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle aches

Percocet has an average elimination half-life of 3.5 hours, meaning this is the amount of time it takes for half a dose of Percocet to leave one’s system. This means that it will take an average of 19 hours to eliminate all of the Percocet from the system. However, this can take longer for those who are chronic, heavy users of the drug, as opioids will be absorbed by the body’s fatty tissues if there’s more Percocet in the body than the liver can handle at once. It takes longer for the traces of Percocet in these tissues to leave the body than that which primarily stays in the bodily fluids.


In addition to this, many drug tests can also detect the agents that are created when the liver metabolizes opioids. These metabolites stay in a person’s system longer than the drug itself.


In urine tests, traces of Percocet can generally be detected for 48 hours, starting 2 hours after the first dose. It can be found in the blood for just a day. The only long-term test is the hair test, which can detect oxycodone built up in the follicles for up to 30 days. However, this test is not as reliable as urine or blood tests.

Addiction to Percocet and other opioids is a serious matter. Opioids can cause long-term damage to the body, and building a high tolerance to the drug puts one at risk for overdose and illness. When taken in excessive amounts, the acetaminophen in Percocet is also damaging to the liver, leading to inflammation, hepatitis, scarring, and permanent damage. To minimize these health risks, addiction treatment services should be sought out as soon as an addiction is suspected.

Last updated on November 29, 20182018-11-29T22:00:30
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About the reviewer
Dr. Scot Thomas is Senior Medical Editor for American Addiction Centers.
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