How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System? Drug Tests Timeline

percocet dosage

If you experience frequent pain, one pain pill you might often come across is Percocet. This drug contains an opioid, and it functions as a pain reliever and a fever reducer. Percocet is a medication prescribed to people suffering from chronic pain, which is often used for an extended period for full effectiveness. However, using this drug also comes with a certain level of risk. 

What some people might not know is that Percocet is also considered a Schedule II drug. It means that it has medical value, but it can be dangerous because it has a high potential for abuse. Although it can be helpful for many people, this medication can sometimes cause addiction. Without the right guidance or control, this drug can lead to severe psychological and physical dependence.  

This article will discuss the important information you need to know about this pain pill. Take this as a quick guide on how to take it responsibly.

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System

The half-life of a drug refers to the average duration the half-dose of the medication will stay in your system. On average, Percocet will remain in a persons’ system for around three hours and a half. The half-life varies depending on the person’s body, but knowing about it can help you avoid an overdose. 

what is percocet
Percocet Dosage

If you want to know if a person is high because of Percocet, four tests can give you factual results: urine test, saliva test, blood test, and hair sample check. 

  • In a Urine Test

Percocet can be detected in one’s urine sample within 24 to 48 hours after intake. The countdown will start two hours after the patient’s drug intake. That means that if you take a pill on Wednesday, 4 PM, the drug will only be out of your urine sample on Friday, 6 PM. Keep in mind that this estimation is based on averages. Other people retain the drug in their system for as long as four days. 

If you want to detect if a person took Percocet and get the most accurate result via this method, it is best to conduct the urine test within 3 to 20 hours after their drug intake.  

  • In a Saliva Test

Police officials find this method the fastest and most effective way to determine if a person is high or under the influence of a drug. The test is quick and often gives precise results. Percocet will immediately be detectable in a person’s saliva in as short as 15 minutes after their drug intake. What the lab or the device will look for in their saliva is the oxycodone element.

  • In a Blood Test

Oxycodone can easily show up in one’s blood after Percocet intake. Like in saliva, it will only take around 15 minutes for the substance to appear in the blood. However, blood testing is not the most reliable method, as blood composition can quickly change in hours. If the person who needs the test is unconscious or cannot provide a urine sample, a blood test is the best method that can check for Percocet’s residue.  

  • In a Hair Test

The oxycodone can be detected in a person’s hair for up to 90 days after the last intake of Percocet. However, there are challenges in detecting the substance itself, especially when the drug is taken in a small amount or low frequency. This method will work best for people who are frequent- or high-dose users of the drug.

Many factors will influence the result of the mentioned tests: the person’s age, the amount of Percocet taken, the person’s height and weight, and their overall health. Here are some examples:

  • As a person grows older, their metabolism becomes slower. Since the liver will need more time to process Percocet in an older person’s body, the substance will stay longer, and it can be detected even after some time. 
  • Traces of drugs in a person’s body often stays in the fatty tissue. If a person has more fat tissues, the drug can be detected for a longer time.

Percocet Pill

Percocet comes in pill form, but you can also find liquid forms if you prefer it. Taking this drug is similar to how you take other medication pills. It is an oral medicine that you drink as your doctor prescribes. Unlike other medications, you are free to take this pill even on an empty stomach. 

However, if you start to feel a bit nauseous after taking it, consider eating first to improve your body’s response. If nausea persists, consult with your doctor or pharmacist. They might recommend you lay down for an hour or two after taking the medication or prohibit yourself from making intense movements.

What to Keep in Mind

Here are the things you must keep in mind when using Percocet:

  • Avoid grapefruit: Although food intake is not a requirement before taking the medication, it does not mean that it is not sensitive to other chemicals. Grapefruit has chemical properties that can trigger the medication’s side-effects. Unless your doctor or pharmacist gives you permission to do so, avoid drinking or eating grapefruit while under this medication. 
  • Follow your prescribed dosage: As mentioned earlier, Percocet can be a dangerous drug. Avoid increasing your dosage or usage frequency. Doing so can put your health and life at risk. If you decide to take the liquid form, make sure you use the correct measuring device. Using a regular tablespoon can result in incorrect dosage. 

Percocet High: What It Feels Like

Here is what you should expect after drinking the medication.

  • 20 to 30 minutes after swallowing the drug, you will experience the drug’s pain-relieving effects. You will start to feel relaxed and high, sometimes making you feel sleepy. If you used the snorting method, you could feel the effects faster, in 15 minutes or less. 
  • Taking the pill for an extended period will make your body tolerant to the medication. Seek your doctor’s opinion on this matter. They may recommend increasing the dosage and tell you how you can do so safely.

Percocet Side Effects: What to Watch Out For

People taking the medication for a while will experience the following side-effects.

  • You will experience some blurriness in your vision
  • Thinking straight and clearly will be challenging
  • You will feel constipated or get an upset stomach
  • You will experience occasional dizziness and headaches
  • You will feel sleepy and tired most of the time
  • You will feel nauseous and vomit
percocet pill
Percocet Side Effects

Abuse of the medication can lead to the following effects:

  • Sweating
  • Depression or mood swings
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing
  • Problems with concentrating and coordination
  • Confusion

If you experience any of these and they persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist and let them know about your condition immediately.


Awareness about the possibility of getting addicted to this drug is your first step towards preventing it. If you have a history of substance abuse, you are more prone to Percocet addiction. To lower the chances of suffering from addiction over this medication, make sure to take it exactly as prescribed by your doctor. If you want to know more details about the drug, do not hesitate to ask your doctor or pharmacist for their professional opinions.