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Generic Name: Oxycodone/acetaminophen

Brands: Percocet

Class: Opioid analgesic, anilide analgesic

Availability: Prescription required

Molecular Formula: C18H21NO4•HCl  + C8H9NO2

Substance UNII: oxycodone: CD35PMG570, acetaminophen: 362O9ITL9D

What is Percocet?

Percocet is an opioid (oxycodone hydrochloride) combined with an analgesic, or painkiller (acetaminophen).

What is Percocet Used For?

Percocet is to treat moderate to severe short-term pain. 

How Does Percocet Work?

Percocet combines two medications that work against pain, oxycodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opioid that influences the central nervous system to stop pain signals from going to the brain. Acetaminophen is an analgesic, or painkiller. It’s not well understood how acetaminophen works, but the current theory is that the drug inhibits certain activities in the brain associated with fever and pain.  

How Long Does it Take for Percocet to Work?

People will begin to feel the effect of Percocet within 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Do Not Use Percocet If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for you. According to the FDA, the following should not use Percocet:

  • Known sensitivity to acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol and Tylenol
  • Known sensitivity to oxycodone, also known as OxyContin, OxylR, and OxyFast
  • Sensitivity to opioids
  • Significant respiratory depression 
  • Acute or severe bronchial asthma
  • Gastrointestinal obstruction such as paralytic ileus
  • If advised not to use opioids because of an existing medical problem
  • Chronic alcoholism with acetaminophen as both may cause hepatotoxicity or liver failure

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where the use of this drug is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.

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