Contrary to popular belief, oxycodone and Percocet® aren’t the same, even though they share the same active ingredient. Unlike oxycodone, Percocet® is a combination drug that comes with its own unique risks and benefits.
Not sure what the difference between these two medications is? Worry not!
This comparative guide will teach you everything you need to know about oxycodone vs. Percocet®, including their similarities, differences, side effects, risk factors, drug interactions, and more.
What is Oxycodone And How Does it Work?
Derived from thebaine, an alkaloid found in poppies, oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid prescribed for managing moderate to severe pain.
While oxycodone is a generic name, it also comes in a brand-name version as OxyContin®, Roxicodone®, Oxaydo®, and more. Some people also refer to oxycodone as “blue,” “OC,” and “kicker,” which are street names for the drug.
Like other opioids, oxycodone alleviates pain and reduces discomfort by attaching to opioid receptors, obstructing the transmission of pain signals to the brain. Most commonly, oxycodone is prescribed to treat acute pain, such as that experienced after surgeries, when other medications fail to provide sufficient pain relief.
While many oxycodone products additionally contain other chemicals, oxycodone by itself is available in the form of:
- Immediate-release tablets and capsules
- Extended-release tablets and capsules
- Oral solution
Since it can be habit-forming and has a high potential for abuse, oxycodone and its products shouldn’t be used to treat chronic pain unless advised by a doctor. More than 3 million Americans over the age of 12 misused it in 2020, making oxycodone the second most abused opioid after hydrocodone.
What is Percocet® and How Does it Work?
Percocet® is an opioid medication that combines oxycodone and acetaminophen. Like oxycodone, it is prescribed to treat moderate to severe acute pain. It is also sold under various brand names besides Percocet®, including Endocet®. “Percs” is a common street name for this drug.
Since Percocet® is an opioid, it also reduces pain by binding to opioid receptors and blocking pain signals from the body. Its pain-relieving effects last for 5 hours on average.
Generic oxycodone/acetaminophen are available as tablets or liquid, usually containing 325 mg of acetaminophen alongside varying amounts of oxycodone. Meanwhile, the brand-name version of Percocet® is available only in tablets consisting of 325 mg of acetaminophen and 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg, or 10 mg of oxycodone.
Like oxycodone, Percocet® isn’t recommended for long-term pain management due to the increased risk of abuse and addiction. On top of that, prolonged use of this drug can result in liver damage due to acetaminophen.
Major Differences Between Oxycodone vs. Percocet®
The key difference between oxycodone and Percocet® is that oxycodone is synthesized from opium and contains no additional substances, whereas Percocet® is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen.
That said, there are other differences between these drugs that you should be aware of. So, let’s compare oxycodone vs. Percocet® in regard to effectiveness and cost.
Oxycodone vs. Percocet® Effectiveness
Since oxycodone and Percocet® are opioids, they work similarly and produce similar results. Like Percocet®, immediate-release oxycodone starts acting within 30 minutes and relieves pain for 3–6 hours on average, but its extended-release version may provide pain relief for up to 12 hours. However, it may take 2 hours before it starts to work.
While both effectively reduce pain, Percocet® offers even more relief and can also be used to treat fever symptoms because it contains acetaminophen (Tylenol). When combined with other chemicals, including acetaminophen, oxycodone is shown to produce fewer side effects.
Oxycodone vs. Percocet® Cost
The cost of oxycodone and Percocet® can vary depending on the form, prescription strength, etc. Most insurance plans cover generic versions of both oxycodone and Percocet®, which tend to be cheaper than brand-name versions.
To give you a broad idea, if you don’t have insurance, you can expect to pay around $0.19–$0.64 for one pill of generic oxycodone (5 mg), while a single pill of Oxaydo® may cost you around $11.
Meanwhile, 325 mg/5 mg generic Percocet® is sold for around $0.17–$0.34, whereas for the brand name Percocet® you might have to pay between $0.34–$0.71 per pill.
Oxycodone vs. Percocet® Side Effects
Besides pain relief, oxycodone and Percocet® commonly produce the following side effects:
- Relaxed and calm state
- Fatigue or lethargy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- Brain fog
In rare cases, both of these drugs can have severe side effects, including:
- Skin rashes
- Urinary problems
- Fluctuations in heart rate
- Breathing difficulties
- Low blood pressure
That said, oxycodone is more likely to induce feelings of euphoria, whereas Percocet® is more likely to damage the liver since it contains acetaminophen.
Drug Interactions of Oxycodone and Percocet®
When combined with other drugs, both oxycodone and Percocet® can lead to adverse reactions. In some cases, this may also increase the risk of overdose.
Most commonly, oxycodone and Percocet® interact with the following substances:
- CNS depressants
- Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and some other types of antidepressants
- Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
- Macrolide antibiotics
Since Percocet® has two active ingredients instead of one, it can also interact with other medications, including but not limited to:
- Birth control pills
- Activated charcoal
However, these lists are by no means exhaustive. Before taking oxycodone or Percocet®, inform your doctor about any medications, vitamins, supplements, and other substances you use.
Other Risk Factors of Oxycodone and Percocet®
Some medical conditions can increase the risks and side effects associated with oxycodone and Percocet® use. Some of these include:
- Respiratory problems
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Head injury
- Allergy to oxycodone or acetaminophen
- Alcohol use disorder (AUD)
- Underactive thyroid
- Gallbladder disease
- Urethral disorders
- Low blood pressure
Also, you shouldn’t take oxycodone or Percocet® if you’re pregnant or nursing, as it may lead your newborn to develop neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome.
If you have a history of substance abuse and addiction, discuss it with your doctor along with any other medical conditions, as this might make you more susceptible to opioid use disorder (OUD).
Physical Dependence and Addiction to Opioids
Oxycodone and Percocet® are powerful painkillers, but they lose their effectiveness the longer you use them, which is a sign of opioid tolerance. Once you build up a tolerance to these drugs, you’ll need higher or more frequent doses to achieve the same results. Even if you take the prescribed dose as directed, physical dependence can still occur.
However, although physical dependence and addiction often accompany one another, they aren’t one and the same.
If your body becomes dependent on a substance, you may experience mental and physical withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking it. Meanwhile, opioid addiction is when you’re unable to stop using an opiate despite its harmful impact on your body and your daily activities.
On that note, let’s see what symptoms you might experience if you become addicted to oxycodone or Percocet®.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
If you think you or your loved one might be struggling with oxycodone or Percocet® addiction, here are some signs and symptoms you should pay attention to:
- Continuing to use the medication even when you’re experiencing no discomfort
- Misusing the medication, i.e., using it in a way other than suggested by the physician
- Using the drug despite its negative effects on your health and life
- Lying and/or stealing money or medications
- Experiencing rapid changes in mood
- Being unusually irritable and agitated
- Struggling to fall or stay asleep
ANR Opioid Dependence Treatment
Due to the highly addictive nature of oxycodone and Percocet®, anyone can fall victim to addiction when taking these medications. Luckily, there is a safe, fast, and effective way to get off opioids for good – Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR).
ANR takes a modern approach to opioid dependence recovery. Instead of simply managing withdrawal symptoms, ANR targets the core of opioid addiction: the chemical imbalance resulting from opioid use. As such, it is significantly more effective in helping people overcome opioid addiction than traditional treatments.
By restoring the balance in the endorphin-receptor system, ANR minimizes cravings, withdrawal symptoms, and the risk of relapse. The procedure itself takes four to six hours and is carried out in an ICU setting of a fully accredited hospital by experienced medical professionals to ensure your safety.
To kickstart your opioid recovery journey, contact us for a free consultation today!
Hopefully, this oxycodone vs. Percocet® comparison guide answered your questions about these medications.
Before you go, let’s recap the main differences between the two:
- Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid produced from the natural chemicals found in poppies, whereas Percocet® combines oxycodone with acetaminophen.
- Acetaminophen intensifies the effects of oxycodone, which generally makes Percocet® more effective than pure oxycodone.
- Percocet® can cause a larger variety of adverse effects, as it may lead to both oxycodone-related and acetaminophen-related side effects.
Oxycodone vs. Percocet® FAQ
#1. Which is more effective, oxycodone or Percocet®?
Percocet® is generally more effective than oxycodone, as acetaminophen enhances its pain-relieving properties. However, since it consists of two active ingredients, it can cause side effects associated not only with oxycodone but also with acetaminophen.
#2. What is the difference between Percocet® and oxycodone-CR products?
Both Percocet® and oxycodone-CR (controlled-release) are potent opioid painkillers, but the key difference between them is the duration of pain relief. Percocet® alleviates pain for about 4–6 hours, whereas oxycodone-CR is effective for around 12 hours.
#3. Is Percocet® stronger than oxycodone?
The strength of both Percocet® and oxycodone depends on the formula. For example, 15 mg oxycodone will be stronger than 325 mg/5mg Percocet®. However, if they contain the same amount of oxycodone, Percocet® is usually stronger because it also contains acetaminophen, which boosts its effects.
#4. How do opioids work?
Simply put, opioids work by binding to opioid receptors that are located on nerve cells. When they attach to these receptors, they prevent the brain from receiving pain signals, which minimizes the perception of pain.