Dealing with Side Effects of Percocet

Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD on August 21, 2022

Percocet is a mix of acetaminophen (a pain and fever medicine) and oxycodone (a pain medicine). Oxycodone is part of a family of drugs called opioids. Doctors prescribe them to treat moderate to severe pain.

Other brand names include:

Possible Side Effects

If you take Percocet, you may:

  • Feel chills
  • See changes in the color of your stool and/or urine
  • Experienc constipation
  • Feel dizzy
  • Get sleepy
  • Have a fever
  • Get a headache
  • Feel nauseated or vomit
  • Have belly pain
  • Feel tired or weak
  • Feel itchy
  • Have bad breath
  • Lose your appetite

How to Manage

Constipation, or trouble passing stool is common. Follow these tips to ease discomfort:

  • Drink eight to 10 glasses of water a day.
  • Exercise if possible.
  • Try to go to the bathroom at the same time each day.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink 4 ounces of prune juice or eat three to four dried prunes/plums to help trigger bowel movements.

Stay away from high-fiber foods and fiber supplements. They can make constipation caused by pain medication worse. Laxatives may be OK. Ask your doctor to be sure.

Avoid driving and other potentially dangerous tasks if Percocet makes you sleepy. You should also avoid alcohol and other sedatives, unless your doctor says they’re OK to take.

Taking it with or without food may help with nausea or vomiting. Try both to see what works for you. Your doctor might also prescribe drugs to ease nausea.

How to Stop

Tell your doctor if you want to quit taking Percocet. Stopping suddenly could cause withdrawal symptoms. These include:

The doctor will slowly wean you off. They may be able to prescribe another drug with fewer side effects.

When to Call 911

Call 911 or go to the emergency room right away if you have signs of a possible overdose. They include:

  • Bluish lips or skin
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Feeling really sleepy
  • General feeling of discomfort or illness
  • Low blood pressure or pulse
  • Slow breathing

In addition to an overdose, Get emergency medical help if you have:

  • trouble breathing,
  • shortness of breath
  • fast heartbeat
  • chest pain
  • swelling of your face, tongue, or throat
  • extreme drowsiness
  • light-headedness when changing positions
  • feeling faint,
  • agitation
  • high body temperature
  • trouble walking
  • stiff muscles
  • mental changes such as confusion.

If you are taking opioids, it’s a good idea to have a naloxone kit available which can reverse a potentially life threatening overdose.  You can ask your doctor to prescribe one and in some states you can buy them without a prescription at the pharmacy.

Show Sources


Mayo Clinic: “Oxycodone And Acetaminophen (Oral Route),” “Tapering off opioids: When and how.”

OncoLink: “Oxycodone/Acetaminophen (Percocet).”                                                 

© 2022 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info