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What Factors Affect Percocet® Dosage?

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  • Written By: S. Berger
  • Edited By: Shereen Skola
  • Last Modified Date: 02 December 2016
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Percocet® is one of the brand names for the medication oxycodone, an opioid painkiller, when it is combined with the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) acetaminophen. Usually, this medication is used to relieve moderate to severe pain that is not anticipated to last for a long period of time. Due to the risk of harmful side effects from opioids, individuals taking this drug should use caution when calculating their Percocet® dosage. An optimal dose of this medication minimizes side effects while maximizing pain relief. Many factors like the severity of pain, opioid tolerance, and other medications taken at the same time can all influence the dosage required.

Several strengths of Percocet® are available, and a different initial dosage is typically based on body weight and the level of pain experienced. People with low levels of pain or a low body weight typically take a starting Percocet® dosage of 2.5/325 milligrams (mg) or 5/325 mg every four to six hours. The first number in a dose of this medication refers to the amount of oxycodone, and the second refers to the amount of acetaminophen in the pill. Individuals with more severe pain, or with a greater body weight, may take a starting dose of 5/325 mg to 10/650 mg every four to six hours.

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Often, this medication is taken at the same dosage for a period of a few months or less. Taking any Percocet® dosage for longer than this may lead to a risk of stomach or liver damage from the NSAID in the pill. During this period of time, however, tolerance may build, so that the medication does not relieve pain as well. The Percocet® dosage may be increased by 2.5/325 mg in the event that this occurs.

Other medications can interact with Percocet® to cause harmful side effects, including sedation. People taking other opioids for pain, or depressant medications for sleep or anxiety may take a lower Percocet® dosage than if they were not taking other drugs. For example, a person taking another opioid that would normally need 5/325 mg Percocet® would only take 2.5/325 at a time, instead.

After treating the medical condition that was causing pain to an individual taking this drug, it does not need to be taken any longer. In this event, the Percocet® dosage is often decreased gradually over several weeks, instead of being suddenly stopped. Gradual tapering can help reduce the risk of a person experiencing unpleasant withdrawal effects.

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anon327528
Post 2

PercoDAN contains oxycodone and aspirin. Aspirin is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory and longer term use can cause GI irritation, ulcers or bleeding.

If one needs higher dosages of oxycodone, controlled-release pills (e.g. OxyContin) or immediate-release without acetaminophen or aspirin are more appropriate. However, now more than ever, prescribers are very reluctant to prescribe high-dose oxycodone due to abuse and diversion potential.

If more potent opiates are required one could explore a fentanyl patch which is safe, effective and not easily subject to abuse. In any event, consult a pain management specialist and limit your dosage as much as possible. Dependence is a given with long-term opiate use, and addiction is a very serious and all-too-common "side-effect".

anon313844
Post 1

I was put on oxycodone 5/325 about five months ago. I was diagnosed with the adult human parvovirus. The disease has left me with such bad joint pain that I was barely able to function my day to day tasks. My doctor prescribed me oxycodone 5/535. They worked very well for me in the beginning; but now it seems they wear off fairly quickly. My doctor also told me that I could take up to eight a day at the very most.

Is it possible that I have already developed a tolerance to the drug? This is the first time in my life that I have taken a pain medication or opiate for an extended period of time. I do not want to have to keep moving up in dosages or stronger drugs. Is there anything I can do to make this more effective? Thank you!

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