Percodan Addiction and Treatment

Percodan Addiction and Treatment

Table of Contents

Pain is a major health issue in the United States today. Pain affects more people in America than heart disease, diabetes, and all types of cancers combined.1 Chronic pain affects a person’s quality of life, sleep and overall well-being. The single most common reason for seeking medical treatment in the United States is for pain. Percodan is part of the class of drugs used in pain management that can lead to addiction and drug rehab.

What is Percodan?

Percodan is a combination drug consisting of aspirin and oxycodone. Aspirin is a drug type called salicylates. Aspirin works for reducing fever, pain and inflammation. Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication and is considered a narcotic.

When aspirin and oxycodone are combined to create Percodan, it is used to relieve moderate to severe pain. Percodan may also be used for other illicit purposes, such as getting high.

Percocet is a close relative of Percodan that is made from combining oxycodone and acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol).

Is Percodan Addictive?

The oxycodone contained in Percodan can be habit-forming, even when it is taken at regular doses. That’s why it is important to take the drug at the prescribed levels to avoid addiction, overdose, and death. A 2015 study found that:

About 28 million Americans ages 12 or older (10%) used oxycodone products in the past year.2

Approximately 4.3 million people reported misusing oxycodone products in the past year.2

People with a personal or family history of drug or alcohol abuse, addiction, or mental illness are at a greater risk for opioid addiction, misuse, or abuse.3

Percodan’s Class & the DEA Schedule of Drugs

Percodan is a narcotic analgesic combination drug. Due to the oxycodone it contains, Percodan is classified as a Schedule II Controlled Substance by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).4 Drugs in this category have a currently accepted medical use with severe restrictions in the United States and have a high potential for abuse. Percodan is legally administered by prescription only and is considered dangerous. Other drugs in this category include hydromorphone (Dilaudid), methadone, meperidine (Demerol), fentanyl, Adderall, and Ritalin.

Street Names of Percodan

Street Names for Percodan and oxycodone include:5

Hillbilly Heroin

How Is Percodan Used?

Percodan is mainly used in pain management treatment. The oxycodone and aspirin combination has been shown to be more effective in relieving pain than the relief obtained by doubling the dose of either drug given by itself.6 The same held true for oxycodone and acetaminophen.6 If you feel the drug is not working for you the way it should, do not take more than the dose prescribed. Talk with your doctor instead.

Is Percodan Safe?

Oxycodone Risks

The oxycodone contained in Percodan is one of the most common drugs used to manage pain.7 Oxycodone is an opioid that can lead to addiction and overdose. However, the majority of opioid overdose deaths stem from multiple sources of opioids or taking high doses.7 People who receive opioids from different doctors or who take high daily doses of opioids are at risk for an overdose, some of which will be fatal.

Life-threatening or fatal decreased breathing rates can happen at any time when using Percodan, but the greatest risks occur when starting the drug or after a person increases the dosage.3

Percodan is Safe When Used as Directed by a Doctor

The use of Percodan as directed by a doctor can not only safely relieve pain and the suffering it causes, but it can also help improve the person’s quality of life and emotional well-being by providing pain relief due to chronic conditions. The oxycodone contained in Percodan is typically prescribed to treat pain caused by injury, surgery, or childbirth. Also, Percodan can be used for relief of discomfort from arthritis-related conditions.

Aspirin Risks

Also known as acetylsalicylic acid, aspirin taken at unsafe levels carries its own health risks. While the dose in Percodan may be safe when taken as directed, other sources of aspirin (or salicylates) taken in close proximity to Percodan can have adverse effects. Typically, a Percodan tablet contains 325mg of aspirin. That’s why it is important to be aware of other products that may contain aspirin or salicylates, such as:8

Alka-Seltzer (often has aspirin, be sure to check the label)

Pepto-Bismol (bismuth subsalicylate)

Oil of wintergreen

Signs of aspirin poisoning include:8



Rapid or deep breathing

Ringing in the ears





Anyone taking Percodan should be monitored for possible signs of abuse and addiction, since any opioid carries these risks even when taken appropriately.

Effects of Percodan

What are the Short-term Effects of the Percodan?

The short-term effects of Percodan include:9




Severe constipation

Bloody or black tarry stools


Nausea or vomiting

Stomach pain

Contact your doctor if you experience any of these short-term symptoms.

Some of the most common side effects, due to the aspirin in Percodan, include: 9

Sour stomach



Dry mouth





Stomach pain or upset






Feeling sluggish

If any of these symptoms are long-lasting or bothersome, contact your doctor.

What are the Long-term Effects of Percodan?

Serotonin Syndrome: A serious side effect of taking Percodan is called serotonin syndrome. Contact your doctor immediately of you experience:9



Rapid heartbeat



Muscle spasms


Nausea or vomiting



The risk of experiencing serotonin syndrome is greater if you are also taking other drugs that affect your body’s serotonin levels.

Can You Overdose on Percodan?

Yes, you can overdose on Percodan. Overdose signs include:9

Buzzing, ringing, or unexplained noise in the ears

Decreased breathing rate

Decreased awareness

Decreased responsiveness



Enlarged pupils

Very high fever or elevated body temperature

Fast, weak heartbeat

Hearing loss


If you or someone you know experiences any of these signs while taking Percodan, please seek medical help immediately.

Sobering Statistics

The following statistics show how rapidly the opioid drug problem developed. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported:10

In 2004, people who abused prescription opioids for the first time rose from 628,000 in 1990 to 2.4 million

Between 2000 to 2002, emergency room visits that were prescription opioid related rose by 45%

Between 1997 and 2002, people admitted for prescription opioid abuse rose by 186%

What Does Percodan Addiction Look Like?

Percodan addiction is characterized by a set of behavioral, cognitive, and physical signs that occur after long-term substance use and includes:

Strong craving to take the drug

Difficulties controlling drug use

Continuing to take the drug despite the resulting harmful consequences

Higher priority given to drug use than to other obligations and pursuits

Increased tolerance

Physical withdrawal

Percodan abuse and addiction are different from physical dependence and tolerance. Addiction can happen without tolerance and physical dependence. Also, Percodan abuse can happen without addiction being present.

Drug-seeking behavior is also seen in people with substance use disorders. Tactics for drug-seeking behaviors include:

Last minute calls or visits near the end of office hours

Refuse to undergo exams or testing

Repeatedly "losing" prescriptions

Prescription tampering

Reluctant to reveal past medical records

Doctor shopping, when a person visits multiple doctors to get more prescriptions, is also a common sign of substance abuse and addiction.

Percodan, just like any other opioid, can be taken out of the legal channels of distribution and redirected for illegal sales meant for non-medical uses.

How Do You Stop Using Percodan?

Tolerance and physical dependence can happen when someone is taking Percodan.


Increasingly higher doses of Percodan are needed to maintain the same previous effects, such as pain relief. Tolerance can happen for the desired as well as the unwanted effects of Percodan. Tolerance can develop at different rates for different effects.

Physical Dependence

The body adapts to Percodan as it is being taken long-term, which results in withdrawal symptoms after the person suddenly stops or abruptly reduces the dosage of the drug. Physical dependence can occur in as little as several days to weeks of continued opioid usage.

A word of caution: Do not suddenly stop taking Percodan. If you are physically dependent on Percodan, and you suddenly stop taking it, this may lead to serious withdrawal symptoms, pain, and suicide.

When stopping the use of Percodan, a gradual tapering down of the dosage under medical supervision is needed. To improve the chances of a successful detox and to minimize withdrawal symptoms, a customized plan to fit the person’s needs is developed and should contain the following:

The dose of Percodan the person has been taking

The duration of treatment

Physical and mental state of the individual

An opioid tapering schedule that the person agrees to follow

Mental health support during the detox

Treatment plan to be started once the detox is complete

What Is Withdrawal from Percodan Like?

When oxycodone is taken for long periods of time, it can become habit-forming, leading to mental or physical dependence. Addiction and physical dependence can cause withdrawal side effects if Percodan is stopped abruptly. However, severe withdrawal symptoms can usually be avoided by slowly reducing the dose over time. The safest way to taper off from Percodan is by undergoing a medical detox.

What is Treatment Like for Percodan Abuse?

The three main steps for treating Percodan addiction include:

Withdrawal and Detoxification

Substance Abuse Treatment

Relapse Prevention

Withdrawal and Detoxification

When a person develops a drug tolerance to the effects of Percodan and then abruptly stops taking it, withdrawal symptoms can develop. These symptoms can range in their intensity levels based on how much Percodan the individual was taking.

Withdrawal symptoms can include:

Early signs:

Muscle aches

Runny eyes or nose


Anxiety or Agitation

Excessive yawning

Dilated pupils

Rapid heartbeat



Elevated blood pressure

Later signs:

After approximately 72 hours without Percodan, the following symptoms can peak and last for about a week:

Vomiting or nausea



Stomach cramps


Drug cravings

Controlling Withdrawal Symptoms via a Detox Plan

When a person enters a Percodan detox program, the primary goal is to gradually decrease the medication to eliminate or minimize withdrawal symptoms. Other medications are given as needed to alleviate the discomfort from withdrawal.

Medical Detox Programs

Percodan detoxifications can be done on an inpatient or an outpatient basis. Detox programs can last from several days to about a week to get the individual through the most painful and dangerous withdrawal symptoms.11

Medication-assisted Treatment

During a detox for an individual dependent or addicted to Percodan, an opioid substitute drug is usually given, such as methadone or buprenorphine. Detox can take anywhere from days to months or even years depending on the person, which substitution is used, and the starting dosage level. In the case of methadone as a substitute, the most rapid course of treatment lasts 7 – 21 days, while those that involve a slow tapering can last for 6 months or longer.10

Rapid Detox

To speed up the detox process, opioid antagonist drugs, such as naltrexone and naloxone, can be used. This hastening is sometimes called an ultra-rapid or rapid detox. A rapid detox floods the brain with an opioid antagonist to draw out all opioids and fill the opioid receptors. Naltrexone and naloxone are used by first responders in emergency opiate and opioid overdose situations to prevent fatalities.

Sedation to Handle Severe Withdrawal

If opioid antagonist drugs are dispensed at the beginning of a detox, a sudden withdrawal will occur that may be very uncomfortable depending on how much Percodan is in the person’s body. During a controlled medical detox, the individual is sedated and other drugs are dispensed to reduce distress and discomfort, such as anti-depression or anti-anxiety medications.11

Detox is a Bridge to Further Treatment

Reputable and comprehensive detoxification programs introduce therapies during detox as a bridge to the next step: formal substance abuse treatment. Without formal treatment after a detox, there is a high likelihood of relapse because underlying issues that lead to abuse and addiction are left unaddressed.12

Percodan Addiction Treatment Methods

There are many different evidence-based methods that are offered by formal treatment settings, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement, coping skills training, counseling, psychotherapy and peer support through group therapy.

Many people struggling with Percodan addiction choose to enter the recovery process in the secure, highly monitored and safe environment of an inpatient drug treatment facility, because it provides medical care, around the clock monitoring and medication management. Other people may find that an outpatient treatment program can help them sustain long-lasting recovery.

In both inpatient and outpatient programs, a wide range of therapies are available that help a recovering person avoid relapse by exploring the underlying psychological and social triggers responsible for drug-seeking and addictive behaviors. On a broad level, comprehensive treatment programs include:

Individual Counseling Sessions

Individual counseling offers many different types of therapies, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy).

Customized therapy sessions that cover stress management, coping skills, family therapy, or to treat underlying mental health conditions (also called dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders) are also offered.

Group Counseling Sessions

Group therapy is also a main part of a Percodan addiction treatment program. Group therapy sessions help reduce feelings of isolation and makes the group’s participants feel like a part of something bigger than themselves. Peer interactions in the group also gives people in the group motivation and support to stay in recovery. Many supportive and rewarding relationships that last a lifetime start in group therapy sessions.

Holistic and Alternative Therapies

Holistic or alternative therapies are also offered in treatment programs. Alternative therapies help people learn healthy and natural ways to handle symptoms without drugs. Some alternative therapies provided may include: music and art therapy, meditation and yoga classes, equine therapy, and dance therapy, among others.


After detox and formal treatment, an aftercare program is needed to provide follow-up treatments and therapies as the individual moves to daily living in the outside world. Aftercare treatment makes it more likely for recovering individuals to stay sober by reducing the risks of relapse.

Each aftercare program is tailored to the individual. An aftercare program can include:

Sober living homes (SLHs)

Outpatient rehab programs

Individual counseling sessions

Group counseling sessions

Co-occurring disorder treatment

12-Step programs

Alternative and holistic therapies

Vocational or education programs

Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Finding Opiate Addiction Treatment

Facing Percodan dependence and addiction requires a specialized treatment approach. If you or a loved one are struggling with drug abuse, dependence or addiction, talk with your doctor or a treatment center. A life without a struggle with drugs is possible with the right help.

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