What Are The Long Term Effects of Using Percocet?
The long term effects of using Percocet can be as mild as constipation, and as severe as death by overdose. There are many degrees of negative effects between these two that will be discussed below, but that is a very general idea of how bad prolonged use of Percocet can be for your body. Before we delve too deeply into in the effects, it is important to understand why Percocet is such a powerful drug and why taking it should only be under the guidance of a medical professional or physician.
Percocet is a Schedule II controlled substance that is labeled as a narcotic. The active ingredients that make it a powerful and very effective pain reliever are oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opioid that blocks pain receptors in the brain, spinal cord and central nervous system (CNS) and allows the brain to release a pleasure chemical called dopamine that gives the patient a euphoric feeling. The long term effects of using Percocet tend to include liver damage due to the stress acetaminophen puts on the body. Acetaminophen is also a pain reliever that heightens the effects of oxycodone when used together and forms a strong analgesic. This analgesic is what tends to get patients who use Percocet for long periods of time in trouble because it prevents the user from reaching a plateau and they will build tolerance quickly. To put it another way, they will continue to get higher the more they take, which means a fast bond is made psychologically to the drug. Unfortunately this side effect opens the door for abuse and addiction as Percocet long term effects.
- Chronic Constipation – This is a painful and eventual side effect that most long term patients/users of Percocet have to deal with. Patients that do not have their constipation treated can expect impacted bowels and possibly diverticulitis, which could lead to more severe health issues down the road. However, even without abstaining from a normal dose of Percocet, the user can take additional medications to resolve this issue in most cases.
- Liver Damage – The acetaminophen in Percocet is not worrisome in normal doses under normal use. When used for extended periods of time, acetaminophen can create problems for the liver and may result in liver failure for extreme cases. The problem is that patients will continue to take large, frequent doses of Percocet to achieve the highs of the oxycodone, which cannot be achieved without the acetaminophen influence, so they inadvertently poison their liver in the process. The speed of this side effect is only increased with the addition of other toxic liver substances like alcohol.
- Addiction – As mentioned above, Percocet long term effects will almost certainly involve some form of addiction, depending on how closely the user’s intake is monitored and aggressively mitigated after the patient is well or released from medical supervision. The opioid high achieved from the oxycodone is just too powerful for long term users to abstain from without help. There are wellness facilities like the Horizons Clinic that specialize in weaning addicts of off prescription meds through the use of Methadone and Suboxone. These two drugs reduce the effects of the opioid, while allowing the actual pain relieving to continue working. Both have proven to be very successful during the withdrawal and detoxification process.
- Overdose – Former patients that have become addicted to Percocet may continue to use the drug until they experience a major health setback, and may even continue using afterwards depending on the severity of their addiction. For these individuals, the next step may be to incorporate another substance such as alcohol which can lead to decreased respiratory functions that may lead to a coma or even death. Addicts combining Percocet and alcohol should be immediately admitted to an inpatient treatment facility to avoid overdose or worse.
You can see that overall, Percocet long term effects go from bad to worse and it is import to seek help if you or someone you know is suffering from addiction or is abusing Percocet. Centers like the Horizons Clinic can assist in getting help for anyone that needs it.