What is Percocet?
Percocet is the brand name for oxycodone/acetaminophen: a combination of opioid and non-opioid pain relievers. This drug is available by prescription only and lasts, on average, for five hours. It was initially intended for those dealing with severe pain, usually after a surgical procedure or cancer diagnosis. However, opioid-based medications are now widely prescribed for chronic pain associated with conditions like nerve damage, arthritis, and traumatic injury. However, many people who regularly take this drug may not understand its potential interactions with other substances. Today, we’ll explore the interactions between Percocet and alcohol.
Percocet and Alcohol Interactions
Drinking while taking any drug can be unsafe, but consuming alcohol while taking opioids is especially dangerous. Both of these substances are central nervous system depressants; they slow the body’s functions. This means that when someone combines Percocet and alcohol, they magnify the depressant effects of both substances. This choice can have deadly consequences.
When someone drinks and takes opioid pain relievers, they may begin to exhibit the following symptoms:
- Changes in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness (fainting)
- Irregular heartbeat
- Loss of coordination and muscular control
- Nausea or vomiting
- Respiratory depression and arrest
- Coma or death
Research published by the American Society of Anesthesiologists illustrates the unique risk involved in combining these substances: death by respiratory failure. “Taking one oxycodone tablet together with even a modest amount of alcohol increases the risk of a potentially life-threatening side effect known as respiratory depression,” they write, “which causes breathing to become extremely shallow or stop altogether.” This side effect was especially prevalent among the elderly.
The long-term effects of Percocet and alcohol misuse are also worth noting. Those who regularly take these substances at the same time are at increased risk of colon cancer, cardiac arrest, liver failure, and overdose. If combining these substances is so dangerous, why do people do it?
Polysubstance Abuse: Percocet and Alcohol
There is no one explanation for this pattern of substance misuse. First, some people may be completely unaware of the potential interactions between alcohol and Percocet. Others may disregard their doctor’s orders and think that “just one drink” couldn’t hurt. Even when done unknowingly, individuals who consume both substances are at risk of overdose, death, and addiction.
Finally, some people combine Percocet and alcohol on purpose. This is a phenomenon called polysubstance abuse. In such cases, people take multiple substances in order to alter the effects of each drug.
No matter how it begins, continued misuse of Percocet and alcohol can lead to an extremely powerful – and potentially deadly – addiction. The longer someone exhibits this behavior, the higher their risk of death by respiratory depression. At a certain point, using is no longer voluntary. Individuals who develop a substance use disorder are physically and psychologically dependent on their drugs of choice. Fortunately, treatment is available for those seeking to break the cycle of polysubstance abuse.
Help for Alcohol Dependence and Opioid Use Disorder in Mill Valley, CA
At Recovery Without Walls, we understand the complex pharmacological interactions between various substances. We also know what it takes to overcome chronic pain without the use of opioid pain relievers. Through our innovative, integrated approach, we help men and women from all over the nation to find relief from addiction and chronic pain.
If you regularly misuse Percocet and alcohol, or if you know someone who does, help is just one phone call away. Contact Recovery Without Walls to learn more about treatment options in Mill Valley, California.