• Karen Lee Richards
    Health Guide
    January 02, 2009
    Karen Lee Richards
    Health Guide
    January 02, 2009

    It's not all that unusual for someone with moderate to severe chronic pain to take Percocet for a long period of time.  Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen.  Oxycodone is an opioid pain reliever and acetaminophen is the same thing as Tylenol.  The reason acetaminophen is included is that it boosts the effectiveness of the oxycodone. 


    What may surprise you is that the greatest concern about long-term use of Percocet is the acetaminophen, as too much acetaminophen can damage the liver.  The amounts of acetaminophen in Percocet are controlled, so as long as your husband is taking the Percocet as prescribed, he should be ok.  The main thing to be aware of is that you need to carefully check any over-the-counter medications he might take, like cough and cold treatments, to make sure they don't contain acetaminophen, since he really shouldn't be taking more acetaminophen than is already in the Percocet. 


    Oxycodone is relatively safe as long as it is taken in the dosages and quantities the doctor prescribed.  Our bodies do tend to build up a tolerance to opioids over time and the dosage may have to be increased to provide the same level of pain relief. 


    Another thing about oxycodone you need to be aware of.  When it is taken for a long period of time, the body becomes physically dependent on it.  If your husband should decide he wants to quit taking the Percocet, it is extremely important that he taper off of it gradually under the supervision of his doctor.  Stopping any opioid abruptly can cause serious withdrawal symptoms. 


    Here is some additional information you might like to read:

    Percocet Information

    Opioids:  Addiction vs. Dependence


    I hope I've addressed most of your concerns.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to ask.




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