Percocet, a potent branded painkiller, is typically prescribed for managing acute pain, especially after surgeries or injuries. This medication combines oxycodone (an opioid) with acetaminophen (a mild OTC pain reliever). Recognized by DEA (United States Drug Enforcement Administration) as a Schedule II controlled substance, Percocet has a high potential for misuse and addiction. This guide highlights the many effects of long-term use of Percocet and shows you how to connect with evidence-based care.
What Are the Long-term Effects of Percocet?
While effective for short-term pain management, long-term use of Percocet is associated with a range of adverse health outcomes. Here are some of the most common long-term effects of Percocet:
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Over time, individuals taking Percocet may develop tolerance, meaning that higher doses of the medication are needed to achieve the same level of pain relief. This can lead to increased consumption of the drug and a higher risk of overdose.
Dependence and addiction
Opioids like oxycodone can lead to the development of physical dependence, even when the medication is taken as prescribed. Over time, the body adapts to the presence of the drug (tolerance) and withdrawal symptoms may manifest upon discontinuation. Both tolerance and withdrawal are diagnostic criteria for Percocet addiction (opioid use disorder). Addiction to Percocet is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite harmful consequences.
Percocet long-term effects may include liver damage due to the acetaminophen content of the medication, particularly when used long-term or in high doses. The risk of liver damage is increased when combined with alcohol or in individuals with pre-existing liver conditions.
Long term effects of Percocet abuse include impaired cognitive functions. Some people may experience issues with memory, concentration, and decision-making abilities. These effects can interfere with daily activities and overall quality of life.
Decreased hormone production
Long-term opioid use can disrupt the normal functioning of the endocrine system, leading to a decrease in the production of essential hormones. This can result in symptoms such as reduced libido, infertility, fatigue, depression, and osteoporosis.
Opioids may provoke respiratory depression, which can become more pronounced with long-term use. Chronic use can lead to a reduced respiratory rate and an increased risk of respiratory infections. In the case of opioid overdose, respiratory depression can be life-threatening.
Long-term use of opioids is associated with a range of gastrointestinal problems, including constipation, nausea, abdominal pain, and bloating. These symptoms can become chronic and may require additional treatment.
Immune system suppression
There is some evidence to suggest that opioids can suppress the immune system, making individuals more susceptible to infections.
Prolonged use of Percocet can lead to mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The changes in brain chemistry due to long-term opioid use can affect mood and emotional well-being.
Increased sensitivity to pain
Some individuals may experience hyperalgesia, which is an increased sensitivity to pain as a result of long-term opioid use. This paradoxical effect can make managing pain more challenging.
If you or someone that you care about is facing challenges with opioid use, reaching out for professional help can be the first step toward recovery.
Are Long-Term Effects of Percocet Reversible?
The potential for reversing the long-term side effects of Percocet largely depends on factors like the duration and intensity of use, individual health status, and the presence of co-occurring disorders. With comprehensive treatment, including detoxification and behavioral therapy, it is possible to overcome dependence and addiction. Recovery programs can help to establish new coping mechanisms and behaviors, reducing the risk of relapse.
Also, the liver has a remarkable ability to regenerate. If detected early, and with cessation of Percocet use, liver damage caused by acetaminophen may be reversible. That said, severe liver damage or liver failure may require more intensive treatments like a liver transplant.
Some cognitive functions may improve after stopping the use of opioids, although the process can be slow and may not be fully reversible, especially in cases of long-term heavy use.
Endocrine function may recover after discontinuation of opioid use, but this can take time. Medical intervention may be necessary to treat some hormonal imbalances.
Respiratory depression is usually reversible upon cessation of opioids, and respiratory function can improve over time with proper treatment and care.
The gastrointestinal issues related to opioid use often improve after stopping the medication, with proper dietary management and sometimes with the use of specific medications to treat symptoms.
The immune system’s function may return to normal after opioid use is stopped, although this process can vary greatly from person to person.
Mental health can improve with appropriate psychiatric treatment, counseling, and support, although some people may have long-term psychological effects.
Increased pain sensitivity may decrease once opioids are eliminated from the system, but managing hyperalgesia often requires a multi-pronged approach, including alternative pain management strategies.
Anyone who has experienced long-term Percocet use side effects should work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized and evidence-based treatment plan. The journey to reversing the effects of long-term Percocet use can be challenging, but with the right support and resources, recovery and a return to a healthier life are possible.
Treatment for Long-Term Effects of Percocet
Addressing the long-term effects of Percocet may include the following components:
- Medical detoxification: Safely managing withdrawal symptoms under medical supervision to reduce the risk of complications.
- Medication-assisted treatment: Using FDA-approved medications to treat opioid dependence and mitigate withdrawal symptoms.
- Behavioral therapies: Counseling and therapy, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), to address addictive behaviors and mental health issues.
- Physical therapy: For those with pain management issues, especially if hyperalgesia is present, physical therapy can be highly beneficial.
- Nutritional support: Guidance on diet to help restore physical health and support liver recovery.
- Exercise and rehabilitation: Customized exercise programs to improve overall health and wellness.
- Support groups: Peer support to share experiences and strategies for coping with addiction and recovery.
- Relapse prevention education: Teaching strategies to identify and manage triggers to prevent relapse.
- Ongoing monitoring: Regular check-ups to monitor health status and adjust treatment plans as necessary.
Each treatment plan should be individualized, taking into account the person’s health history, the severity of the effects, and their specific recovery goals.
Get Treatment for Percocet Addiction at California Detox
Anyone who needs help detoxing from opioids like Percocet can reach out to California Detox any time. We specialize in treating opioid addictions at our luxury facility in Laguna Beach, CA.
First, engage with supervised detoxification and ensure that opioid withdrawal is as safe and seamless as possible. After a week of detox, you can move into an ongoing inpatient treatment program to address the psychological side of Percocet addiction.
All treatment programs at California Detox deliver personalized treatments, such as:
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Talk therapies
- Group therapy
- Family therapy
- Individual counseling
- Holistic therapy
- Aftercare planning
When you feel ready to move beyond Percocet long-term side effects, call California Detox at 949.694.8305.