How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

percocet-original1Percocet is a combination of two painkillers Oxycodone and Paracetamol. It is used as a narcotic pain reliever to treat moderate to severe acute pain. It is being produced from 1917 in Germany and it has been given frequently for treating pain episodes among soldiers in World War I.

An Oxycodone acts as an agonist of receptors in the brain, mostly mu-receptors but kappa and delta receptors as well, where it promotes analgesic effect. It decreases the level of cAMP (cyclic adenosine monophosphate) and elevates the concentration of acetylcholine, dopamine, norepinephrine, substance P and GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid). It can cause a feeling of extreme happiness (euphoria), pleasure and deep relaxation which has a high potential for a drug abuse.

It can result in a tolerance development, addiction and dependence with long-term effects on the body which can make the patient furthermore prolong the drug intake and to take higher doses of Percocet. If you’re trying to clear your system from Percocet, it can be important to get informed about it.

How Long Does Percocet Stay In Your System?

Since Percocet is a mixture of two drugs, it is crucial to state both clearance periods for both ingredients. If you are trying to clear your system from Percocet, you may experience withdrawal symptoms which can be difficult to bare.

The time of elimination of the drug is estimated through half-life of the drug. This is the time which is requered for the half of the concentration to clear from the system. For the oxycodone, it is estimated from 1.43 to 3.51 hours. On average, the oxycodone will take about 19.31 hours to clear from the system. The elimination of another ingredient, acetaminophen is shorter and the half-life usually lasts about 3.1 hours, which means that the acetaminophen will leave the system in about 17 hours. It can be shorter in some individuals where it is estimated about 11 hours where the half-life is approximately 2 hours. The full clearance of Percocet will leave the system in 24 hours which can be sometimes longer, up to 48 hours for some people.

The elimination was prolonged in patients who suffer from renal diseases and it can be prolonged up to an hour. It can be also prolonged in patients with hepatic dysregulation and it can rise up to 2.3 hours when compared to the normal hepatic function.

Factors That Influence The Percocet Clearance

There are a few things to keep in mind when thinking about clearance. It includes many factors which can have an impact on the drug elimination and its withdrawal symptoms. Some of them are individual characteristics, and it is also important to include the dosage which was used, drug interactions and frequency.

Individual Factors

These factors include age, body weight, lifestyle, metabolic speed rate, urinary pH, etc.


When it comes to an age, it is crucial to notice the differences between the younger and an older person and their metabolism. An elderly people will have slower metabolism and their organ functions may not work properly or at the same speed rate. That’s why their kidneys will excrete at a slower pace and their liver will slowly degrade the drug into its metabolite products. The circulation may be slower as well and the flow through the kidneys may lack some additional volume which would speed up the process by better elimination through urine.


A person’s BMI (body mass index) with its weight, height and fat percentage is important as well. Those who are shorter and have less body weight will take longer than a tall and heavy person to excrete the drug. This is also due to a dose of the drug where the taller and bigger ones will intake a higher dosage of the drug in a matter of their weight. If a person has a less fat percentage, they will excrete in a slower pace.


Genetics play a big role in enzyme synthesis with genes which regulate protein production. Some will have a faster metabolism and others slower which has to do with the enzymes in the liver (mostly CYP2D6) and cytochrome P450 (mostly CYP450).

Liver And Kidney Function

Since Percocet is going into the liver for metabolization and in kidneys when excreting, it is important to include liver and kidney functions. If a person has hepatic or renal diseases, it can prolong the clearance of the Percocet and lead to higher dosage effects for a longer period. It can increase the elimination from 1 hour up to 2.3 hours, depending on the condition one is having.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Basal metabolic rate is the speed which your body works at rest. Some people have higher BMR which will result in a faster metabolism and, therefore, a faster elimination of the Percocet. A person’s basal metabolic rate can be influenced by a person’s genetics but also lifestyle, habits, diet, and exercise.

Urinary pH

The pH of the urine can be decisive when it comes to renal excretion. It is known that the urinary elimination of the Percocet is slower when the urine is more alkaline. The acidity of the urine will promote drug elimination and it will accelerate the drug clearance.

Hydration And Diet

Well hydrated persons have more volume which goes through the kidneys and that will ensure that the elimination goes faster. When you drink a lot of fluids, it will influence on a faster drug excretion. If you eat food which will contribute to urine’s acidity, it will force the drug elimination. If you drink grapefruit juice, it can slow down the metabolism, resulting in prolonged elimination. When you take Percocet on a full stomach, your intestine surface will not so effectively absorb the drug leading to lower concentrations in the blood and faster excretion.

Glutathione Levels

The drugs ingredients, acetaminophen, and oxycodone degrade in the liver resulting in toxic metabolite. The liver metabolises with CYP450 enzyme and the toxic product (NAPQI) goes into conjugation with glutathione. When using the drug for a long time, you can end up with glutathione depletion which can lead to a slower metabolism and elimination. Some people may have larger storage of glutathione which can serve for a longer period of metabolism and end up in a faster elimination.


There are a few options and combinations of the Percocet with a different balance of the two ingredients oxycodone/acetaminophen: Percocet 2.5/325 mg, Percocet 5/325 mg, Percocet 7.5/325 mg, Percocet 10/325 mg, and Percocet 10/650 mg. The link between the dosage and the elimination time is proven where the higher the dosage the longer the clearance time. When you’re on higher doses of the drug, it will take a longer period for its elimination. The body gets used to the high doses of the drug which can also be difficult for the liver and the kidneys to excrete. When taking smaller doses, it can be from 6 times per day up to a 12 per day.

Frequency Of Intake

It can have an impact on the clearance. When a person takes more frequently the medicine (several times per day) it can accumulate in the system more than compared to someone taking the drug once a week. It can reach the peak level of accumulation which is unlikely to happen when taking the Percocet infrequently. The persons taking the drug more times a day will have their pill later during the day and it will contribute to the previous dose effect where the body won’t have time to clear it while the single-dose users will take the Percocet probably in the morning. As a conclusion, the infrequent users will excrete the drug faster due to fewer chances of accumulation and lower concentration in the system.

Interaction With Other Drugs

There are drugs which are thought to be inducers and inhibitors for their influence on the Percocet.  Drugs that have an influence on the CYP2D6 in the liver can alternate the path of the oxycodone which can induce the clearance of the drug and speed up the process. Such drugs are dexamethasone and rifampin. Other drugs are called inhibitors which can slow down the Percocet excretion when interfering with CYP2D6. Examples of those drugs are codeine, amiodarone, yohimbine, celecoxib and some SSRIs.

Percocet Metabolism

When the drug is ingested, it gets absorbed in the small intestine and the peak of concentration boost after an hour. It acts as an analgesic and the effect can be expressed within the first 15 minutes to an hour, but the effect can last from 4 to 6 hours total. Oxycodone travels to the liver and goes through the N-demethylation giving the noroxycodone and O-demethylation which gives the oxymorphone. The enzyme CYP2D6 has a big role in the liver which breaks down the oxycodone into its metabolites.

Kidneys excrete the oxycodone where from 8% up to 14% of standard dose gets excreted within 24 hours. The metabolites stay longer in the urine where it includes about 19% of the oxycodone and the rest goes to its metabolites with 50% of conjugated oxycodone, 14% of conjugated oxymorphone and a small amount of noroxycodone.

Acetaminophen gets metabolized by the liver’s CYP450 and about 85% of acetaminophen gets conjugated with glucuronic acid and excreted through kidneys. About 90% of acetaminophen elimination happens within the first 24 hours. Oxycodone takes longer to excrete than acetaminophen where it prolongs the clearance time.

Tips To Clear Percocet From Your System

There are a few ways you can try to speed up the process of Percocet elimination. Every strategy should be checked with the professional first before any start.

Hydration And Food Intake

Try to increase the fluid intake and promote kidney function which will speed up the excretion of the Percocet from your system. If you are dehydrated, it can act on kidney level and promote reuptake and absorption of the drug which will increase its concentration in the system. Eat food which can acidify the urine, leading to faster elimination.


When you get physically active, it promotes metabolism rate and it increases the detoxification in the liver. It can improve blood circulation which will benefit for the kidney and liver function.

CYP2D6 Inducers

Some drugs can speed up the process of metabolization of the drug which influences on the hepatic isoenzymes, but they can be dangerous and you should consult your doctor before starting any treatment.


  1. I have been using percocet for over 4 years now daily and want to stop taking them I have noticed bad withdraws when I do not take them can you tell me how long will the withdraws last and is it safe to just stop taking then cold turkey please send me some info

    • It is never wise to stop taking prescriptions cold turkey. Speak with your doctor about your desire to stop using them. Your doctor will likely have to begin taking reduced amounts. Your body is addicted to the drug at this time, and you will experience potentially painful withdrawals if you choose to stop cold turkey. Remain positive as you move forward. Best of luck, Patrick!


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