March 16, 2023 Alcohol

Percocet and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination

In the United States, it is common to mix prescribed drugs with alcohol which may result in dangerous combinations and sometimes contribute to life-threatening conditions. Percocet is a prescription opioid painkiller containing acetaminophen and oxycodone.

Percocet is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. When taken in combination with alcohol, it intensifies the depressant effects on the CNS of an individual.

Mixing Percocet and alcohol can result in adverse effects. These effects include slowed breathing and poor coordination and can contribute to liver damage. A person’s judgment may also be impaired by Percocet and alcohol, making their behavior harmful to them and others.

The prolonged use of Percocet and alcohol can make you dependent on it and cause drug addiction and other mental health issues.
The side effects of consuming Percocet and alcohol include: a slowed respiratory system, acute liver failure, and low blood pressure.

Key Takeaways

Percocet is a prescription medication. Mixing Percocet with alcohol is highly dangerous. In this post, you will learn:

  • Mixing Percocet and alcohol intensifies the depressant effects on the central nervous system.
  • The side effects of consuming Percocet and alcohol include: a slowed respiratory system, acute liver failure, and low blood pressure.
  • Treatment facilities offer treatment programs to overcome Percocet and alcohol addiction.

If you are feeling the effects of addiction, get help from Indiana Center for Recovery. Pick up your phone and dial: (844) 650-0064 for more information.


Percocet is a brand name for a drug that contains acetaminophen and oxycodone. Acetaminophen is also known as paracetamol or the brand name Tylenol. Oxycodone is an opioid. Percocet is a prescription medication.

Oxycodone blocks pain signals from the brain and slows the central nervous system (CNS) by depressing it.

There are two main effects that oxycodone has on the body: it slows down breathing and heart rate. Doctors often prescribe Percocet for brief periods to manage moderate to chronic pain.

Because of its significant potential for abuse and dependence, the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has designated Percocet as a Schedule II drug.

Effects of Percocet

Percocet is a powerful painkiller that offers you pain relief for hours, and this is all because of its extended formula. It has no serious effects when taken as a prescribed medication by patients for pain relief.

Yet, given their addictive potential, many people take multiple pills at once to increase the effects. This results in drug addiction and dependence and has life-threatening side effects.

The following are adverse effects of Percocet use:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting or Nausea
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

It may be time to contact a doctor if you have unusual tiredness after using this medication.

Moreover, Percocet can seriously impair respiration. If the medication is used in large quantities or combined with other substances like alcohol, breathing may occasionally stop entirely.

While using this medication, seek immediate medical attention if your breathing has become unusually slow, shallow, or unpredictable. This is a symptom of an overdose.

Addictive Potential of Percocet

Percocet is highly addictive and has a high potential for addiction. Individuals who take it for a long time start developing a physical dependence on it. This results in a risk of overdose and Percocet addiction.

The drug oxycodone inside the medication binds to the particular opioid receptors inside the brain. This triggers feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Your body becomes used to oxycodone when you take it frequently. You will experience withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop taking this drug.

Interactions Between Percocet and Alcohol

It is highly dangerous to combine alcohol and Percocet, as both of these drugs are CNS depressants. Just like opioids, alcohol also slows down the breathing of an individual.

The respiratory system can become overwhelmed as the body struggles to resist the effects of both medications. The combination of Percocet and alcohol will probably cause respiratory depression.

Respiratory depression is a condition in which an individual experiences minimal or slow breathing or can’t breathe at all. It is a type of suffocation.

If this condition isn’t treated at the right time, it may lead to brain damage which can result in the death of an individual.

Researchers have found that if an individual consumes just a single oxycodone pill and then drinks alcohol, it increases the risk of liver damage and severe respiratory depression.

Also, studies have indicated that older adults who drink alcohol are most at risk for a deadly oxycodone overdose. The heart is also in danger from the two drugs taken together.

Alcohol and oxycodone both lower a person’s heart rate because they are central nervous system depressants. In addition to this, combining alcohol and oxycodone runs the risk of shocking the cardiovascular system and resulting in a heart attack or stroke.

Side Effects of Combining Percocet and Alcohol

One of the major side effects of mixing Percocet with alcohol is severe liver damage. The FDA has warned pharmaceutical companies not to add more acetaminophen into opioid medicines than is necessary.

Due to its effects on the liver, acetaminophen contributes to more than 400 fatalities each year. People taking Percocet should fully avoid alcohol due to the potential for liver damage. All opioids are taxing on the liver.

The liver, brain, heart, and pancreas are all organs adversely impacted by alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

When there is prolonged use of painkillers and alcohol, then an individual develops tolerance against it. This leads to substance abuse and drug addiction.

The combined side effects of Percocet and alcohol include the following:

  • Constipation
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Depressed respiratory system
  • Acute Liver failure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Risk of ulcers
  • Colon cancer
  • Heart attack
  • Coma and death

These are fatal consequences that result if you continue to use a combination of alcohol and Percocet in the long term. In addition to this, there is an increased risk of some disorders, such as alcohol use disorder and mental health disorders.

Alcohol use disorder develops when an individual excessively drinks alcoholic beverages. AUD strengthens the risk of serious side effects and negative consequences on an individual’s organ systems.

Addiction Treatment

Percocet is a prescription opioid painkiller that individuals consume in severe pain. Sometimes, the prolonged use of medication contributes to Percocet abuse and addiction. On the other hand, drinking alcohol while on it creates life-threatening conditions.

But, chronic alcohol use leads to alcohol use disorder, alcohol addiction, and alcohol poisoning. The good news is that treatment facilities offer programs to overcome the dangers of Percocet and alcohol addiction.

Treatment options include:

  • Detox is the first stage of overcoming any addiction. In this, the body of an individual is cleared of any addictive substances.
  • After detox, there is a rehab process. It helps an individual to overcome both addiction and mental illness. There are two types of rehab, i.e., residential and outpatient rehab.
  • In residential rehab, the patients stay inside the treatment facility 24/7, and in outpatient rehab, the patient can visit the facility three to four times a week.
  • Prescription medications and therapies are part of the treatment programs to overcome addiction.
  • Support groups are effective aftercare for overcoming alcohol or drug addiction.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What happens if you drink alcohol after taking painkillers?

If an individual is consuming prescription painkillers, then it is highly recommended by medical professionals not to consume alcohol.
The CNS depressants mixed with alcohol intensify the depressant effects on CNS. Alcohol consumption should be strictly prohibited when consuming prescription drugs such as Percocet.
Moreover, these should be taken as prescribed by medical professionals; otherwise, once an individual develops tolerance against an opioid. This results in opioid addiction.

What painkillers cannot mix with alcohol?

Healthcare providers recommend avoiding alcohol consumption while using painkillers. OTC (over-the-counter) painkillers should not be consumed in combination with alcohol. These include:
Tylenol (acetaminophen)
Serious side effects such as bleeding and stomach ulcers are made more likely by the combination. While consuming alcohol, taking too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) might harm the liver.