Percocet is a narcotic drug used to treat pain. It consists of two medications (acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride). Combining these medications makes both more effective at relieving pain and may limit the abuse potential of oxycodone. Percocet comes in tablet form and is generally taken every six hours as needed. Possible side effects include drowsiness, nausea, and dizziness.
What Is Percocet?
Percocet® (oxycodone/APAP) is a prescription medication approved to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. It is a narcotic and is classified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which means that special laws and regulations control its sale and use. Schedule II controlled substances have the highest abuse potential of all legal prescription medications.
Brand-name Percocet is made by Endo Pharmaceuticals. Generic Percocet is made by various manufacturers.
How Does Percocet Work?
Percocet contains two different medications: acetaminophen and oxycodone hydrochloride. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic narcotic opioid pain reliever. It is chemically related to codeine. Oxycodone is effective at decreasing pain and relieving coughing, but also causes drowsiness and decreased breathing.
Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and fever reducer commonly found in non-prescription medications such as Tylenol®. APAP is an acronym for one of the chemical names for acetaminophen. Adding acetaminophen to oxycodone makes both medications more effective at relieving pain and may limit the abuse potential of oxycodone, as the maximum dose of Percocet is typically limited by the acetaminophen content.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 17, 2008.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
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