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How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

Each Percocet tablet contains an opioid (oxycodone) and an anti-inflammatory (acetaminophen). Both immediate-release and extended-release forms are available.

Struggling with Percocet Addiction? Get Help Now

Percocet remains active in your body for 6 to 12 hours, depending on the formulation.[1] But traces of the drug can linger for much longer. In fact, some forms of drug tests can pick up Percocet for 90 days. 

Percocet addiction is driven by the opioid inside the medication. Opioid overdoses can be life-threatening, and they’re common in people with opioid use disorder (OUD). 

Percocet Misuse Statistics

  • Close to 40% of trauma patients have active drug or alcohol addiction.[2] They visit hospitals and clinics hoping to get more Percocet. 
  • More than 2,100 people in one New England area were prescribed Percocet for more than nine months between 1998 and 2001.[3]
  • In head-to-head studies of drug likeability, oxycodone is more popular than both morphine and hydrocodone.[4]

What Is the Half-Life of Percocet?

Half-life is a measurement of the time needed to process half of a dose. Oxycodone’s half-life is about 4 hours.[5] Acetaminophen’s half-life is up to 3 hours.[6]

Understanding a drug’s half-life is important. When five of these intervals have passed, the drug is likely not active within your body. 

Percocet Detection Timeline 

The oxycodone inside Percocet is the target for many types of drug tests. Employers want to ensure you’re not intoxicated while doing something dangerous (like driving). And law enforcement officials want to understand how drugs might impair the choices you make. 

The detection period varies by the sample type the company uses. 

Sample TypeDetection Period 
Urine 1–3 days 
Blood 3–6 hours 
Saliva Up to 36 hours 
HairUp to 90 days 
Source: [10]

Urine Tests 

In a urine-based drug test, you’re given a small receptacle and some privacy to fill it. Teams test your urine’s temperature and color, and they look for contaminants. It’s very hard to fake clean results. And this test can detect drugs you took days ago. 


Hospitals and clinics often use this method to test their patients, as the results are extremely accurate. But the detection window is too short to be meaningful for employers and law enforcement officers. It’s rare for anyone to test your blood for drugs. 


Some companies use saliva tests in place of urine screenings. The method is less invasive, and the results come back almost immediately. But this type of testing requires modern equipment that some companies haven’t bought quite yet. 


A hair-based drug test is one of the least invasive methods available. A tiny snip of your hair is all that’s required for an analysis. 

This method can also detect drugs you took almost 90 days ago. But this detail might not be enough for employers or law enforcement to understand what you took recently. 

Things That Influence How Long Percocet Stays in Your System 

While experts can estimate how long Percocet stays in your system, your timeline can vary. Factors you can control (like your diet) and those you can’t (like your age) all play a role in how quickly the drug leaves your body. 

Known factors involved in Percocet metabolization include the following:[7,8]

  • Age: Older people often need more time to metabolize drugs when compared to the young. Poor organ health or a lack of exercise could be to blame.
  • Sex: Hormones can influence how quickly we metabolize drugs. Women often need more time than men do. 
  • Weight and height: People with smaller bodies often clear drugs quicker than larger people. Fat distribution could play a role. 
  • Diet: A poor diet could impact your organ health, allowing drugs to linger longer than they should. 

How to Recognize Signs of Percocet Abuse 

People who abuse Percocet may work hard to hide the issue from their friends and family members. But the abuse may appear in physical, behavioral, or mental health symptoms.[5,6,9] 

PhysicalBehavioral Mental 
Sedation Sleeping in Distraction 
Slurred speech Poor work performanceMemory loss 
Stumbling Doctor shopping Mood swings 
Drug tolerance Stealing drugs Depression 
Withdrawal symptoms Buying drugs Anxiety 
Frequent overdoses Social isolation Preoccupation 

Percocet Withdrawal 

People who use Percocet for long periods feel sick when they quit abruptly. In some cases, they feel ill between their drug doses. Withdrawal symptoms are hard to cope with, and they can lead to drug relapse.[9] 

Percocet Withdrawal Symptoms 

Percocet withdrawal can begin within a few hours of quitting the drug. Common symptoms include the following:[5,6]

  • Nausea 
  • Vomiting 
  • Anxiety 
  • Drowsiness 

Tips for Curbing Withdrawal Symptoms 

The best way to address Percocet withdrawal symptoms is to get help from a treatment team. Medications like buprenorphine and methadone latch to opioid receptors, easing withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

The following self-care tips may also help:

  • Stay hydrated
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Exercise (if you feel comfortable doing so)
  • Maintain a regular, healthy diet

It’s hard to quit using Percocet alone. A treatment program can ease the chemical imbalances that support your ongoing opioid abuse. 

Finding Addiction Treatment 

Boca Recovery Center offers robust treatment programs for opioid addiction. Compare treatment options and find one that’s right for you. 

An inpatient program for Percocet can help you step away from your triggers and focus on your addiction treatment in a safe, supportive environment. An outpatient program can help you get better while you live at home. We’d love to help you. 

Updated May 6, 2024
  1. Oxycodone/acetaminophen. Medscape. Accessed July 26, 2023.
  2. Trauma and substance abuse: Deadly consequences of intravenous Percocet tablets. Galante J, Ahmad S, Albers E, Sena M. The Journal of Emergency Medicine. 2012;43(3):e167-e169.
  3. Hermos JA, Young MM, Gagnon DR, Fiore LD. Characterizations of long-term oxycodone/acetaminophen prescriptions in veteran patients. Arch Intern Med. 2004;164(21):2361–2366. doi:10.1001/archinte.164.21.2361
  4. Intravenous oxycodone, hydrocodone, and morphine in recreational opioid users: abuse potential and relative potencies. Stoops, W.W., Hatton, K.W., Lofwall, M.R. et al. Psychopharmacology 212, 193–203 (2010).
  5. Percocet. Endo Pharmaceuticals. Published November 2006. Accessed July 26, 2023.
  6. Percocet patient information. Endo Pharmaceuticals. Published June 2018. Accessed July 26, 2023.
  7. Mangoni AA, Jackson SH. Age-related changes in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics: basic principles and practical applications. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 2004;57(1):6-14. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2125.2003.02007.x
  8. Soldin OP, Mattison DR. Sex differences in pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics. Clin Pharmacokinet. 2009;48(3):143-157. doi:10.2165/00003088-200948030-00001
  9. Opioid use disorder. Dydyk AM, Jain NK, Gupta M. StatPearls. Published January 2023. Accessed July 26, 2023.
  10. Drug plasma half-life and urine detection window. ARUP Laboratories. Published September 2022. Accessed July 26, 2023.
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