Percocet is a prescription drug which is a combination of oxycodone and Acetaminophen (or Tylenol). Oxycodone is part of the drug class called narcotic analgesics. Oxycodone is commercially made, from thebaine, which is an opiate alkaloid. It also includes minor component of opium. In comparison to other opiates, Oxycodone has stimulating properties in comparison to other opiates which makes Oxycodone responsible for the speedy quality some users report.
Acetaminophen is a more commonly utilized drug, which is a less potent pain reliever. Using the combination of the two drugs increases the effectiveness of oxycodone. When the two drugs are mixed together, the result, Percocet is used to relieve moderate to severe pain and is considered to be an opiate. Percocet is very addictive which is why it is classified as a Schedule II drug. For this reason, a prescription from a physician is needed.
How is Percocet Administered?
Oxycodone can be administered by mouth, intravenously, intramuscularly, rectally or via subcutaneous injection. Out of all the different routes of administration injecting oxycodone results in a stronger effect and a quicker onset.
How does Percocet work?
Percocet acts very similarly to morphine, meaning it is a very strong narcotic pain reliever. Percocet should never be altered, meaning it should not be broken, chewed or crushed. The reason for this being, Percocet is made in a time release tablet which is designed so that the oxycodone is released slowly over time. If too much of the drug is released at one time it can result in a very dangerous and possibly life threatening overdose.
Is Percocet Effective?
When Percocet is used as prescribed, it can be a very useful and efficient pain-relieving narcotic. Millions of Americans utilize the drug for debilitating diseases which results in an improved quality of life. Percocet is often prescribed for cancer patients who experience continual and long lasting pain. When Percocet is abused however, it poses a very serious addictive threat. For this reason it is safer to protect ones prescription. Unneeded Percocet tablets should be destroyed to decrease the possibility of theft of the medication.
What Occurs When Percocet is used for an Extended Period?
Prolonged usage of Percocet can lead to a major risk of addiction. Prolonged use is defined as continue usage after two or three weeks. This continued usage of Percocet can activate the reward system of the brain causing an individual to constantly crave the drug. This in turn alters the individuals thinking and their main focus converts to their abilities on how to obtain the drug. Percocet can also reduce the person’s level of consciousness and can impair their ability to think or be fully aware of their current surroundings.
Daily use of Percocet can cause physical dependence. This is different than addiction to Percocet, but can and does occur in individuals who are addicted to Percocet. Physical dependence is when the individual’s body shows signs of narcotic withdrawal when Percocet is suddenly stopped. In regards to addiction, Percocet is used because of psychological and physical need. Addiction is characterized by a continued craving and the need to use Percocet for mood alteration. Many individuals utilizing Percocet do so because they feel it helps make them “normal”.
What are common side effects of Percocet use?
- Drowsiness, lightheadedness or dizziness
- Rash or itchiness
- Emotional mood disorders (most frequently reported side effect)
- Dry mouth
- Slightly decreased testosterone levels in men.
- Liver or renal damage if taken in large doses.
- Respiratory depression if taken in large doses and can be fatal
Who is at risk for Percocet Addiction?
Risks of Percocet addiction are greatest among women, adolescents, and seniors. Women are more likely to be prescribed Percocet than men and are two times more likely to form an addiction to Percocet. Women are more opt to seek medical assistance regarding physical or emotional problems and are more likely to be prescribed this drug. The largest increase of prescription drug use for non-medical users is among adolescents from twelve to seventeen or eighteen to twenty five. Seniors are at risk for addiction because they take more medications than any other population.
What Measures need to be taken for Percocet Addiction?
There is more than one variable involved in Percocet addiction. Addicts run the risk of withdrawal therefore, physician supervision is needed. As there are psychological components associated with addiction, a team of specialists are needed to properly help an addict detox from Percocet use. As with any addiction, early intervention is always best.
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