The combination of aspirin and oxycodone is sold under a number of brand names; one of these is Percodan, marketed by Endo Pharmaceuticals. As an opioid analgesic medication, Percodan is prescribed to patients experiencing moderate to severe pain around the clock.
Percodan works by blocking pain signals in the same area of the brain that produces dopamine. When you abuse Percodan, the drug will cause the brain to release an unnatural amount of dopamine, thereby causing a rush of euphoria and extreme relaxation. This euphoric feeling, similar to the effects of illicit drugs like heroin, makes Percodan extremely habit-forming.
Understanding Percodan Abuse
Percodan prescriptions have been in decline in recent years. The medication has been eclipsed in the marketplace by Percocet, which also contains oxycodone, but combined with acetaminophen instead of aspirin. The acetaminophen makes Percocet more appropriate for post-operative pain than Percodan, because aspirin can cause complications due to its blood-thinning properties.
Percodan is still prescribed, however, and it is still a popular drug of abuse. Due to its high potential for dependency, Percodan must always be taken exactly according to your doctor’s instructions.
Taking Percodan without a prescription is quite risky—not only does abusing the medication make you vulnerable to medical complications such as breathing difficulty, but drugs obtained illegally are often counterfeit, and may contain unwanted ingredients that carry their own set of risks. Counterfeit pills may also be more potent than expected, increasing your risk of overdose.
It can be quite difficult to stop taking Percodan once you have become dependent. This is largely due to the withdrawal symptoms that occur when you stop using the drug.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine lists the potential withdrawal symptoms as follows:
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- muscle or joint aches or pains
- difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- loss of appetite
- fast heartbeat
- fast breathing
Signs and Symptoms of Percodan Abuse
Addicts exhibit both physical and behavioral signs of addiction. The Mayo Clinic lists the following physical symptoms of narcotic use and dependence:
- euphoria or feeling “high”
- reduced sense of pain
- drowsiness or sedation
- slurred speech
- problems with attention and memory
- constricted pupils
- lack of awareness or inattention to surrounding people and things
- problems with coordination
- sweaty, clammy skin
- runny nose or nose sores (if snorting drugs)
- needle marks (if injecting drugs)
Possible behavioral indications of addiction include:
- Altered behavior — personality and relationship changes
- Isolation— seeking to isolate themselves from loved ones
- Problems at work or school — frequent absences, no longer seeming interested or invested in work or school, no long performing as expected
- Financial concerns — stealing money or items to sell, requests for money without a good explanation for why it’s needed
- Health issues — getting sick more often, and suffering from numerous physical complaints
- Changes in appearance — neglecting grooming, no longer seeming concerned with looks
If you suspect that someone you love is suffering from drug addiction, call 800 774 5796(Who Answers?) now. Our treatment advisors can help you understand your options.
Side Effects of Percodan
The areas of the brain that control respiration are the same areas that control the release of dopamine. Due to this proximity, respiratory depression is one of the greatest risks of taking Percodan. High doses may cause your breathing to stop altogether.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine lists a number of additional adverse effects that can be caused by oxycodone. Anyone taking Percodan should see immediate medical attention if they experience any of the following:
- fever, sweating
- fast heartbeat
- changes in heartbeat
- severe muscle stiffness or twitching
- loss of coordination
- nausea, vomiting
- loss of appetite
- hives, itching, rash
- swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- inability to get or keep an erection
- irregular menstruation
- decreased sexual desire
- chest pain
- difficulty swallowing
- extreme drowsiness
- lightheadedness when changing positions
Dangers of Percodan Abuse
Sustained use of Percodan will cause you to develop a tolerance for the drug, meaning that you will have to increase your dosage in order to achieve the same desired effects. The more you increase your dosage, the greater your risk of overdose.
The Drug Enforcement Agency’s fact sheet on oxycodone lists the following as possible signs of overdose:
- extreme drowsiness
- muscle weakness
- cold and clammy skin
- pinpoint pupils
- shallow breathing
- slow heart rate
Who Abuses Percodan?
No one is immune to addiction. Anyone who takes Percodan recreationally, or takes more than the amount prescribed by their doctor will eventually become physically and emotionally dependent upon the drug.
This does not mean that you should avoid taking prescription opiates altogether. Chronic pain can take a terrible toll on your physical and mental health, and the responsible use of opioid analgesics like Percodan can be beneficial.
However, taking Percodan to self-medicate or get high is a sure-fire way to face serious, life-altering consequences.
Prescription opioids such as Percodan are some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs. The relaxing and euphoric effects of oxycodone are incredibly appealing to people who may have trouble coping in life, or who are seeking an escape, and whenever you take a drug like Percodan, it becomes increasingly difficult to stop.
Am I Addicted to Percodan?
You may be addicted to Percodan if you answer yes to one or more of the questions below.
- Do I suffer from intense craving for Percodan?
- Do I feel the need to use regularly, daily or even several times a day?
- Do I need to take more of the drug now than I did when I began?
- Do I become apprehensive at the idea of running out of Percodan?
- Do I spend money I can’t afford to obtain the drug?
- Have I lost interest in old friends or activities due to drug use?
- Do I have more trouble meeting my school and work responsibilities than I used to?
- Do I engage in risky activities while under the influence?
- Do I do things I normally wouldn’t to get hold of Percodan?
- Does my life seem to revolve around drug use?
- Have I tried and failed to stop using?
- Do I experience withdrawal symptoms when I attempt to stop taking Percodan?
Percodan Addiction Treatment
In the early days of drug addiction research, people believed that addicts suffered from a lack of willpower. Science has since proven that this is not true. Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that can actually be seen in brain scans.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “repeated drug use changes the brain, including parts of the brain that enable you to exert self-control… These brain changes explain why quitting is so difficult, even if you feel ready.”
The best way to reclaim your life is to seek help from specialists who know the best tools and practices for overcoming drug addiction.
The first step towards recovery is detoxification, to free the mind and body of addictive substances that prevent you from connecting with your best self.
Due to the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms you will experience throughout detox and in the early days of recovery, the smartest, safest option is to detox in a rehab center under the care of medical professionals. They will likely have you taper off of Percodan gradually, and may prescribe medications to more comfortably transition you into sobriety.
Addiction Treatment Options
- Holistic therapies: alternative and whole body therapies such as mindfulness, yoga, and equine therapy are designed to improve your overall sense of well-being. The better you feel, the better prepared you are to maintain your sobriety.
- Talk therapy: Individual, group and family therapy provide three different ways to uncover, examine and address the challenges you face in recovery.
- Co-occurring disorders: most addicts suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues that fuel their substance abuse. These are called co-occurring or dual disorders, and they must be addressed as a part of recovery.
- 12-step meetings: Meetings based on the 12-step program that originated with Alcoholics Anonymous are a staple of most substance abuse treatment programs.
Addiction can be devastating, but there is no need to lose hope. It’s never too late to change your life.