Percocet is a common prescription painkiller created by combining the opioid oxycodone with acetaminophen, a mild analgesic. It’s used for short-term treatment of moderate-to-severe pain and can also be found on the black market as a recreational drug. The fact that so many people take Percocet, either with or without a prescription, begs the question: how long does Percocet stay in your system?
Percocet has an average half-life of 3.5 hours, which means it takes most consumers’ bodies around 19 hours to eliminate the drug from their systems. For chronic, heavy users, full elimination may take longer. Despite Percocet’s short half-life, some drug tests can still be detected for up to 90 days.
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How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your Body?
The length of time that Percocet stays in your body varies slightly based on factors like frequency and intensity of use, age, and body mass index. The average elimination half-life of 3.5 hours is only an estimate. Young, healthy bodies may eliminate the drug quicker, while older or overweight consumers and those with impaired kidney or liver function may metabolize Percocet at slower rates.
Percocet is a relatively fast-acting drug. Users will start to feel its effects just 20 to 30 minutes after ingestion. Those effects will only last for a matter of hours, although trace amounts of the drug will stay in users’ systems for longer. Expect to devote a few days to a week to detox if you want to guarantee that you’ll pass your test.
Percocet is detectable via blood tests for up to 24 hours after your last dose.
Urine tests can detect Percocet for up to four days after it was taken.
Hair tests are the most sensitive. They can detect Percocet and most other drugs for up to 90 days after your last dose.
Most saliva tests can detect Percocet use for up to two days after taking your last dose. More sensitive tests may be able to detect Percocet in your system for up to four days.
Factors Determining How Long Percocet Stays in Your System
Several factors determine how long Percocet stays in your system. You may need to devote extra time to detoxing before your test if you:
- Are over 40 years of age: Older adults clear the oxycodone found in Percocet from their bodies at slower rates than younger consumers.
- Take Percocet frequently: Oxycodone can build up in your body. If you’ve been using it for a while, it may be detectable for a more extended period after your final dose.
- Have kidney or liver problems: Since the kidneys and liver process oxycodone and other opioids, these organs’ issues can cause your body to metabolize them slower.
- Have a slow metabolism: Your metabolism speed is determined by a combination of genetics and environmental factors like physical activity levels, diet, and hydration. If you have a slow metabolism, it may take your body longer to excrete the drug completely.
- Are taking high-strength Percocet: Since Percocet is a combination drug, the amount of oxycodone it contains can vary from 2.5mg to 10mg per dose. If you’ve been taking Percocet with 10mg of oxycodone per dose, it’s more likely to show up on a drug test than a tablet with only 2.5mg per dose.
Technically, it is not Percocet that shows up on a drug test. It’s the oxycodone it contains. Oxycodone is a Schedule II narcotic, which means it’s a controlled substance with a high potential for misuse. Most drug panels test for the presence of oxycodone, so if you’ve been taking prescription Percocet for a legitimate reason, you should tell the person administering the test. If you don’t have a prescription or are not allowed to take narcotic painkillers even with a doctor’s permission, you will need to detox before the test if you want to avoid trouble.
How to Cleanse Your System of Percocet Fast
The only way to cleanse your system of Percocet is to stop taking the drug. If you stop using it at least four days before a urine test and make healthy lifestyle choices while you are detoxing, that should give your body enough time to rid itself of the oxycodone.
There are a few natural ways to speed up the detox process. Ensure that you drink plenty of water to help speed up your metabolism, dilute your urine, eat a healthy diet free from processed foods, and step up your exercise routine. If you are overweight, try not to get too much physical activity on your test day. Since oxycodone builds up in fat cells, it can be released back into your bloodstream and urine if you overdo it with the exercise right before heading in to give your sample.
When stopping Percocet, keep in mind that you may experience some adverse symptoms. If you are physically dependent on Percocet, you may go through withdrawals. Expect the earliest signs of withdrawal to mimic a severe cold or flu. These symptoms will intensify over two to three days.
In addition to the sweating, chills, hot flashes, watery eyes, and general aches and pains associated with early withdrawal, you may experience:
- Abdominal cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
The symptoms of acute withdrawal should decrease in intensity after around four days and should resolve entirely by a week after your last dose. Psychological withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, depression, and drug cravings can last for much longer. Thanks to information backed by research, we are 100% confident in our answers above.