How Long Does Percocet Last?


Percocet, a potent prescription medication, is highly effective in managing moderate to severe pain. At the same time, it has also been implicated in the opioid crisis due to its potential for misuse and addiction.

With its widespread use, questions such as “How long does Percocet last in your system?” have become equally ubiquitous.

Let’s take a closer look at what Percocet is, and its composition, as well as answer the question of how long Percocet lasts in your body.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is a pain reliever routinely prescribed in treating post-operative pain, injuries, and chronic diseases like arthritis or back pain. It is composed of two active ingredients that include:

  • Oxycodone
  • Acetaminophen

Oxycodone, an opioid analgesic, is meant to activate opioid receptors in the brain, altering the individual’s perception of pain, while acetaminophen, a non-opioid pain reliever, enhances the pain-relieving effects and serves as a deterrent against misuse due to potential liver damage at high doses.

Factors Affecting Percocet’s Clearance Rate

Several factors influence the rate at which the body clears Percocet from its system. They include:

  • The individual’s age
  • Weight
  • Liver function
  • Metabolic rate
  • Concurrent use of other drugs or substances, particularly those that impact liver enzymes
  • Medical conditions such as liver or renal illness 

Percocet Detection in Drug Tests

Percocet may leave the system within 17.5 hours; however, it can be detected in specific drug screenings for a longer period due to the metabolites left behind by the drug.

  • Urine test – Percocet can be detected in urine tests for up to three days following the last use. 
  • Blood test – Percocet can be detected in your blood 18 hours post-ingestion.
  • Saliva test – Oxycodone can be detected in oral fluid for up to two days. However, saliva tests are less commonly performed due to their relative complexity and lower accuracy compared to urine testing.
  • Hair test – Like other drugs, percocet can be detected in hair tests for up to 90 days. This detection window is based on the rate of hair growth.
  • Breastmilk – The opioid component of Percocet, oxycodone, can be present in breast milk for up to 2-3 days. It is estimated that approximately 8% of the ingested oxycodone transfers from the mother’s system into the milk, potentially causing adverse reactions in infants.

How Long Does Percocet Last in Your System?

Percocet has a half-life of about 3.5 hours, which is when half of the drug is removed from the body. Based on this, Percocet will be removed entirely from the system in roughly 19 hours. However, it is crucial to remember that individual characteristics and dosage changes can influence this duration, among the many other factors listed above.

Side Effects and Risks of Percocet

When used as intended, Percocet can provide effective pain management. However, it is not without its hazards, namely:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Percocet dependence, addiction, and respiratory depression can result from prolonged use or misuse.

That said, you must adhere to the recommended dosage and timing and speak with healthcare specialists if there are any concerns or unwanted effects.

In Conclusion

Understanding how long Percocet stays in your system is vital for managing its effects, preventing potential interactions, and ensuring safe usage. The clearance of Percocet varies depending on individual factors and dosage variations.

Adhering to prescribed guidelines, communicating with healthcare professionals, and practicing responsible use can minimize the risks associated with Percocet, leading to effective pain management and improved overall well-being.