How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System: Half Life and Timeline

Despite the overwhelming amount of evidence indicating that addiction is a mental problem borne from genetic predispositions and systems issues, it still remains a prevalent issue and a crime. While the public is generally advised not to do certain drugs, painkiller addictions can still happen. It is a surprisingly prevalent issue that needs addressing. 

One of the most commonly prescribed drugs susceptible to abuse is Percocet, the brand name of the drug Oxycodone acetaminophen. 

What Is Percocet?

Oxycodone acetaminophen, under the brand name Percocet, is a prescription opioid painkiller made from a combination of short-acting oxycodone (a narcotic that treats moderate to severe pain) and acetaminophen (a non-opioid reliever used to treat mild pain and fever). 

Who Is Prescribed Percocet?

Doctors often prescribe this drug to those suffering from acute pain. These substances are also closely monitored by the Drug Enforcement Administration as they can be addictive. That is the reason why these drugs are only available through prescription. 

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

Percocet’s Half-Life

The half-life is how long it takes a certain substance to reduce to half its original amount in your body. For example, when you take Percocet, the half-life refers to the amount of time it takes for the concentration of it in your body to decrease by half.

Percocet is a short-acting, immediate-release drug, meaning you’ll be able to feel the half-time in about three to four hours because of the oxycodone component. The acetaminophen component of Percocet also has a half-life of roughly three hours. If you have poor kidney or liver function, Percocet’s half-life may be different for you.

Fully Removed

For most prescription drugs, it takes about five half-lives for your body to eliminate the drug from your system completely. The time can vary for those who have been using Percocet because of several factors. Generally, it could remain in your system for about 20 hours.

Why Percocet Could Stay Longer in Your System

Liver and Kidney Factor

The kidneys and liver are two of the main organs that can affect how the body absorbs the drug. If they are unhealthy, the effects may take longer to fade.

Previous Drug Interactions

Certain types of drugs can interact with Percocet, clearing its effects more quickly than expected. These drugs include seizure medications, such as carbamazepine, phenytoin, and anti-infective rifampin.

Conversely, certain drug interactions can cause Percocet to last longer than it should. This includes antibiotics like erythromycin, the antifungal ketoconazole, and the HIV medication ritonavir.


The higher your dosage is, the longer it will last in your system. The appropriate dosage is as recommended by your doctor. Do not go anywhere over the recommended limit.

percocet pill
Percocet Dosage

How Long Can Effects Last?

Percocet gets absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract, and oxycodone will peak in your blood within two hours. However, the pain relief starts within ten to fifteen minutes. The peak pain relief starts 30 minutes to one hour after consumption. You can feel the relief within four to six hours. If you are scheduled for a drug test, however, it may show up longer than that.

If you’re scheduled for a urine test for work or other medical procedures, you should understand that the oxycodone component of Percocet—as well as its breakdown product noroxycodone—can stay in the system for about three days. These tests commonly target oxycodone. 

Blood tests are conducted on people who cannot urinate or are unconscious. In a blood test, Percocet can be found in the blood and plasma. The half-life of oxycodone in plasma can be anywhere between three and six hours, and noroxycodone can remain present in blood between 15 and 30 hours.

And if there aren’t any methods left, people can be tested through their saliva. Police officers can use this for roadside testing. Oxycodone can be found in the mouth after two days.

It is advisable for you to bring proof that you have a proper subscription for this drug wherever you may go to avoid trouble.

Percocet Overdose

Even if it is prescribed, it is possible to die of an opioid overdose. The effects of painkillers on the body can lead to fatal results. Call for immediate help from 911 if someone experiences the following:

  • No response to touch or when called
  • Limbs not moving
  • Shortness of breath
  • Blue fingers or lips
  • Unconscious
  • Snoring or obstructed breathing

Signs of Percocet Abuse

Percocet is an opioid drug that may cause addiction, rewiring the brain to affect motivation, cognition, and behavior. Those who fall into addiction can change completely and can affect lives in more ways than one. 

Percocet addiction can ruin someone’s relationships, career, health, and so on. An addicted person may do anything to obtain and abuse the narcotic. 

It is important to be aware if your loved one is taking this drug—even if prescribed. You may not be a licensed addiction specialist, but you can also help prevent them from falling into an addiction. Percocet addiction, in particular, is particularly difficult to deal with, requiring specialized help. Without addiction treatment, it may be dangerous to attempt recovery on one’s own. 

Lack of Will

Some people who fall into addiction lose their sense of direction and often stop trying to do the things they enjoy. They may not be as enthusiastic about work or have a lack of motivation and appetite.

Constant “Checkups” or Trips to Buy Percocet

There is no practice that will encourage people that are functioning properly to continue the use of Percocet. If you notice that this is something a loved one does, check in with them. 

Faking illness can also be a sign of addiction. If you can get ahold of their doctor to check if there truly is something wrong with them, then do so. This can set things straight about whether or not they need help.  


Getting addicted to drugs like Percocet can be extremely detrimental to your physical, mental, and emotional health. While drugs like Percocet can be prescribed for a number of conditions, they can easily fall into the wrong hands or become addictive in the worst circumstances.

It is easy to remain in denial when addicted to this drug, considering that it’s not your typical drug report bad guy, but an addiction still needs to be addressed. It is okay to acknowledge the problem and seek help from the right people as soon as you can. 

Suppose you know anyone who may be abusing Percocet. In that case, you can do your part by talking to them, supporting their recovery, and recommending rehabilitation centers.