Alcohol can have serious adverse effects on its own. It can also increase the harmful effects of other drugs in unpredictable and dangerous ways, including prescription medications. Even with a valid prescription, people using medications need to educate themselves about the dangers of mixing these substances with alcohol.
Generally, people taking prescription painkillers like Percocet receive the medication after surgery or when dealing with chronic pain. Unfortunately, like many other opioids, Percocet can be highly addictive. Some people combine it with alcohol, which only intensifies the effects of this combination.
In this article, we will discuss what will happen when you mix Percocet with alcohol and the dangers of combining prescription opioids with alcohol.
Percocet is a brand name for a medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. Percocet belongs to the opioid drug class. It’s made up of acetaminophen and oxycodone, which interact with specific opioid receptors and cause euphoria, relaxation, and pain relief. Oxycodone, the main component of Percocet, is a Schedule II substance in the United States. It has a significant risk of addiction; however, it’s still available through a prescription due to its medical benefits.
What Happens When You Mix Percocet With Alcohol
Alcohol and Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) can be harmful if you mix them. Both substances act as central nervous system (CNS) depressants. It can cause extreme drowsiness, slowed breathing, and potentially liver failure when combined. In addition, the combination also impairs people’s judgment, placing them at a higher risk of injuries and accidents.
Both oxycodone and alcohol can cause respiratory depression, causing breathing to slow down or even stop. When this happens, the person experiences oxygen deprivation, leading to organ shut down, coma, and eventually death without immediate medical treatment.
These effects can also happen even if the substances aren’t taken simultaneously. Percocet has an average half-life of almost 4 hours; this is how long it takes to leave your system for half a dose of Percocet. For the average prescription, it will take close to 20 hours to eliminate Percocet from your system. Still, in some cases, this may take even longer. Drinking alcohol at any point while taking Percocet can increase the risks of side effects.
If you’re taking Percocet, remember to speak with your doctor about drug interactions and other things to consider while using this prescription.
Symptoms of Mixing Percocet With Alcohol
While prescription medications have side effects when used alone, these effects might be intensified when combined with alcohol. Not only does alcohol alter the effects of prescription drugs, but it can also alter the effectiveness of the drugs. Possible side effects include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Heart problems
- Liver damage
- Impaired breathing
- Internal bleeding
In addition, Percocet contains acetaminophen, which, when combined with alcohol or when abused, can cause liver damage. Alcohol also causes liver damage, so combining larger amounts of acetaminophen and alcohol increases the risk and pace of liver damage.
Mixing alcohol with Percocet may also affect your overdose survival rate. While Naloxone is the go-to response to reverse opioid overdoses, it’s also less effective when drugs are in the body. Thus, mixing Percocet with alcohol will make reversing a potential overdose challenging.
Furthermore, combining acetaminophen and alcohol can damage the stomach lining, increasing the risk of ulcers. Ulcers can become septic if left untreated, causing life-threatening bleeding and infections.
Seek Help for Addiction
Withdrawal from both Percocet and alcohol is potentially fatal as both substances can cause extreme depression, seizures, and Delirium Tremens (DTs). MBecause of this, most specialists recommend quitting the drugs in a supervised environment to prevent overdose or other side effects.
Drug addiction isn’t a sign of weakness or a flaw in a person’s character, and it requires more than just courage to overcome it. Abusing prescription drugs can cause brain alterations that result in intense cravings and a temptation to use, making sobriety seem hard to achieve. Regardless of how terrible your condition appears or how many times you’ve tried and failed, rehabilitation is always possible.
If you or someone you know is struggling with Percocet and alcohol abuse, consider seeking help. Talk to your primary doctor, a therapist, or an addiction counselor to learn more about your treatment options. Most people’s journey will likely start in detox to help you withdraw from the drugs in a safe environment. After that, rehab programs may involve a combination of behavioral therapies and medications to help you find long-lasting recovery.