Oxycodone with acetaminophen is a generic medication commonly marketed under the brand name Percocet®. It is a combination of two drugs that a doctor may prescribe to alleviate moderate to severe pain. The first drug, oxycodone, is a narcotic pain reliever, while acetaminophen is a mild pain reliever that can help enhance the oxycodone's effects. Patients should be aware that this drug can be habit-forming, particularly when it is used in high dosages or for a long period of time.
Those taking this medication must follow their doctor's dosage instructions carefully. The doctor may recommend taking it with food for patients who experience nausea. Patients should also consume plenty of water to help prevent constipation, a potential side effect. Before taking oxycodone with acetaminophen, patients should be aware that high dosages of acetaminophen can damage the liver. It is recommended that adults do not exceed 4,000 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen daily; however, those who regularly consume alcohol should not exceed 2,000 mg.
When this medication is used for a long period of time, the patient may develop a tolerance to it. This means that it will not work as well to control pain. Patients are advised against abruptly discontinuing this drug, because they may experience withdrawal effects. These can include insomnia, irritability, and sweating. Stomach cramps, diarrhea, and a runny nose may also occur.
In addition to possible withdrawal effects, patients may experience side effects while taking oxycodone with acetaminophen. Patients may experience dizziness, lightheadedness, and drowsiness. Nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite can also occur. Weakness, increased sweating, and dry mouth have also been reported.
More serious side effects require immediate medical attention. Patients should seek a doctor's help if they experience a rapid or irregular heartbeat, vision changes, or problems urinating. Hallucinations, confusion, and fainting can also occur, along with shallow or slowed breathing. In addition, symptoms of liver damage can include dark urine, extreme fatigue, and jaundice. It can also cause persistent nausea or vomiting, along with stomach pain.
Before taking oxycodone with acetaminophen, patients must disclose their other medical conditions. Women who are breastfeeding should not take this drug. It is strongly recommended that women who are pregnant avoid this drug, because it can harm an unborn baby. Oxycodone with acetaminophen may be contraindicated for use by those who have liver or kidney disease, lung disease, or mental or mood disorders. A history of drug or alcohol abuse, intestinal disorders, and breathing problems can also prevent a person from taking this drug.
Oxycodone with acetaminophen can interact with other drugs. Patients must disclose all other medications and supplements they take, including naltrexone, blood thinners, and other pain relievers. It may also interact with psychiatric medicines, muscle relaxants, and sleeping pills.