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Side Effects of Oxycodone (Percocet, Oxycontin)


Side Effects of Oxycodone (Percocet)

Oxycodone, available as the brand Percocet, is an opioid (narcotic) medicine. Percocet is used to treat moderate to severe pain, expected to last for an extended period of time.

Before Taking Percocet

The FDA provides warnings before taking Percocet treatment. Do not use Percocet if you are allergic to it, other narcotic pain medicines (such as methadone, morphine, Vicodin, or Lortab), or narcotic cough medicines containing codeine, hydrocodone, or dihydrocodeine, have severe asthma or breathing problems, or a blockage in your stomach or intestines.


Inform your healthcare provider if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. Percocet may cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in a newborn and if you are breastfeeding because Percocet passes into breast milk and may harm your baby.

Percocet and Addiction

Percocet is a controlled substance and has risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction. The use of Percocet when taken as recommended and at regular doses can result in addiction, and abuse, which can lead to overdose or death. Misuse of narcotic medication can cause addiction, overdose, or death, especially in a child or other person using the medicine without a prescription.


Percocet is to never be used in larger amounts or for longer duration than prescribed. It should never be shared with another person, especially someone with a history of drug abuse or addiction.

Serious Side Effects

Percocet can slow or stop your breathing, causing life-threatening respiratory depression. The risk of respiratory depression is highest when starting Percocet or when its dose is increased, and can also occur at recommended doses (Percocet label reported by the FDA).

Common Side Effects

According to the FDA, common Percocet side effects are:


  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sleepiness
  • Vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain

Drug Interactions

The FDA recommends to not combine Percocet with alcohol because dangerous side effects or death can occur. In addition, do not use prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) medicines containing alcohol along with Percocet. Percocet can make you sleepy, dizzy, or lightheaded. Do not drive or operate heavy machinery.


Consult with your doctor before taking Percocet with sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, other pain medicines, or anxiety, depression, and seizure medicines. Using Percocet with other drugs that cause you to be sleepy or slow down your breathing can lead to dangerous or life-threatening side effects.

When to Contact Your Doctor

Immediately contact your healthcare provider if you experience:


  • Breathing troubles
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling on your face, tongue or throat
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Light-headedness when changing positions
  • Feeling faint


(Percocet label reported by the FDA).

About Pharmacogenetic Testing

CYP2D6 and CYP3A4 are the drug metabolizing enzymes have a significant role in how your body responds to Percocet. For example, individuals with low CYP2D6 activity do not get adequate pain relief and ones with high enzymatic activity are at a higher risk of experiencing severe side effects. Pharmacogenetic testing determines the CYP2D6 activity that can potentially help your healthcare provider predict safety and efficacy of Percocet and decrease the risk for overdose or death.

Know Your Risk with the Rxight® Genetic Test

The Rxight® test examines genes responsible for how effectively or not effectively your body processes medications. This can guide healthcare providers in determining the optimal dosage or prescribing a different medication. As a result, healthcare providers will be able to decrease the risk of patients experiencing adverse drug reactions or patients not experiencing the benefits of the medications.


With a simple cheek swab, Rxight® analyzes genes and their corresponding alleles of over 200 clinically relevant and over-the-counter (OTC) prescription medications and determines how patients will react to them.



Contributors to this Article:
Michael Sapko, MD, PhD; and Deborah Kallick, PhD, Medicinal Chemistry

Read more about Rxight® Individualized Medicine