How Long Does Percocet Stay in your System


Percocet is a prescription drug that is used for relief of moderate to severe types of pain. There are several variables that may affect the time it would take to clear this drug from the body [1, 2].


Percocet is the trade name for the prescription analgesic that is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opioid analgesic which changes the way the brain perceives the pain that is felt by the individual, while acetaminophen aids in relieving pain and reducing fever. This drug was first used as an intravenous pain reliever during World War I in Germany. Percocet is available in tablet or liquid form for oral ingestion. Individuals who use Percocet as a recreational drug may snort or inject the drug directly into their bloodstream [1, 2, 3].


Figure 1 shows an example of Percocet.

Other Names

Percocet is also known by the following street names: percs, hillbilly heroin, blue dynamite, 512S, Roxicotten and Paulas [1, 4].

Pharmacologic Effect

The primary action of Percocet is to act as an agonist to opioid receptors in the brain. This produces the analgesic property of this drug. Its opioidergic effect also elevates the amount of acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, GABA and substance P. When the amount of these neurotransmitters in the blood is increased, the individual will experience, relaxation, euphoria and pleasure. Because of this, this drug has been a popular choice for abuse. Those who have used this drug for a long time have reported a rapid onset of addiction. They have quickly become dependent on this drug for everyday function. Other symptoms that may be present in those who abuse this drug are: panic attacks, dizziness, excessive sleepiness, gastrointestinal upset and fever [1, 2].

Drug Tests Timetable

Percocet have a very short half-life and it does not stay long in the body after the last dose. These times are estimated range where Percocet can be detected in the body through different testing methods [5].

  • Blood Test: up to 1 day
  • Urine Test: 1-2 days but may be longer for heavy use
  • Hair Follicle Test: up to 90 days

Factors That Affect How Long Percocet Stay in the Body


Younger people who take this drug are able to clear the drug faster than those who are older. This is probably due to the more efficient functioning of their kidneys and liver [2].

Glutathione level

Glutathione plays an important role in the metabolism of acetaminophen which is a component of this drug. Continuous intake of Percocet may decrease the level of glutathione in the body and this will result to prolong excretion. Those who are with high levels of glutathione will be able to clear this drug faster [2].

Urinary pH

Percocet is primarily excreted in the urine and the pH level of the urine is related to its efficiency to clear the drug. Urine that have high pH level (alkaline) reabsorbs the drug therefore prolonging its clearance time [2].

Taking other drugs

The oxycodone component of Percocet is primarily metabolized by the isoenzyme CYP2D6. Ingestion of drugs that are known to induce the isoenzyme can hasten the clearance of Percocet. On the other hand, taking drugs that are known to inhibit this isoenzyme will prolong the time it would take to clear the drug [2].


  1. Patterson, E. (2016). Percocet Abuse. Retrieved from Drug Abuse:
  2. Mental Health Blog. (2015, October 19). How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System? Retrieved from Mental Health Daily:
  3. Ekern, J. (2013, August 13). Percocet. Retrieved from Addiction Hope:
  4. (2015). Percocet. Retrieved from WebMD:
  5. Addiction Blog. (2012, March 20). How long does Percocet stay in your system? Retrieved from Addiction Blog:

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