I am asking this because I was perscribed them every four hours due to being in a car accident and it scares me to take them. I am affraid I will stop breathing in the middle of the night or that it will build up in my liver and cause me problems. He said I may be on it long term and I dont know if that is a safe drug to take daily. I was told to take them but I am still scared.
Hi - sure you can take them every day, make sure you don't take more than is prescribed and know that IF you do take them long term you will be physically dependent on them and when you stop with go through severe withdrawals. That being said it sounds like you need them for pain, take them responsibly and speak with your doctor about long term use and have him explain dependency so you really understand. Opiates are life saving and necessary for some people, people just do not always educate themselves on what drugs they take and what the long term effects can be.
You will not stop breathing overnight by taking 1 percocet as prescribed by a doctor.
Thanks for the advise. I am the type of person that worries about every little thing you can worry about. I take them every four hours and they are a huge help. The car accident has changed my life and living with pain and not being able to play with my son scares me. When I take the pain meds they do give me relief and I am able to try and enjoy life like I used to. I have searched the web everywhere looking for anything that says this medication is okay to take daily but found nothing. I have educated myself on the amount of tylenol that is safe to take everyday and I am way under that limit. However every website says do not take longer than 10 days and I have been taking them everyday for a while. To me its not worth dying younger than I should because I took the medicine. Any advice or personal experience that anyone has to help ease my mind would be appreciated and again thank you for getting back to me about this
Hi Jamie and welcome to the pain management community.
I have been on percocet every day for about a year and a half now but I have been taking some form of pain medicine for over 6 years now (I have also used Tramadol, Vicodin, and Morphine ER previously). I currently use percocet for breakthrough pain...pain that occurs outside of the control of my long acting opioid medication, Opana ER (12 hour extended release oxymorphone). Breakthrough pain may not occur everyday as for the most part long acting opioid medications do work as they are supposed to.
Percocet is a short acting opioid medication that is used a lot for acute pain...pain after surgery or for a short duration until an injury has healed. However, it is also commonly used as a rescue medication for chronic pain patients that are on a long acting opioid medication (Fentanyl, Morphine ER, Opana ER to name a few). It is also used in the manner that you have been prescribed, long term every 4-6 hours as needed for pain. Your doctor may add a long acting opioid medication at some point to better control your pain by giving you consistent pain control over a 12 hour period (sometimes longer) versus dealing with the roller coaster effect of short acting opioids.
Percocet does cause physical dependance as the other poster mentioned; however, if you ever feel you no longer need the percocet or want to stop taking the percocet, talk with your doctor as he/she will give you tapering instructions that you will need to follow closely. The instructions will give you specific information on how to reduce the medication slowly to minimize withdrawal symptoms. Some additional medication may be prescribed to help with the withdrawal symptoms.
Percocet also causes tolerance meaning that over time the same dose may not work as well for your pain and you may need to ask your doctor for new prescribing instructions to take a slightly larger amount to yield the same amount of pain relief you experienced in the beginning.
The maximum safe dose of tylenol within percocet 5/325 mg tablets is 12 pills per day which equates to slighly under the 4,000 mg limit; however, my doctor wants me to stay under 2,000 mg and there are new tylenol dosing instructions out there that point to around a 2,600 mg maximum per day. So I think it is wise to not hover around the maximum dose of tylenol every day over the long term...and honestly, it is the tylenol not the opioid (narcotic) component you should be more concerned about over the long term. So I am glad that you are consciously aware of the tylenol intake.
The active opioid ingredient in percocet (aka oxycodone) comes in a pill without tylenol so if your tylenol intake through taking percocet gets to a level that is above your comfort zone, be sure to talk to your doctor about oxycodone IR or roxicodone.
And, as the other poster stated...you won't stop breathing in your sleep as long as you take it as prescribed by your physician. Percocet is prescribed to many that don't take opioid medication on a daily basis (aka are not opioid tolerant) for things like wisdom teeth extraction or post-surgical pain. Now my dosing level WILL make you stop breathing as I take 120 mg of oxycodone equivalent per day...that is a lot of Percocet! But over time my doctor has had to increase my dose either due to tolerance (which was explained) and my condition worsening. So the dose is safe for me but not for you...lol! But, there may come a time where your dose will kill everyone in the house except you if others got a hold of just 1 pill so it is important to now start safeguarding your medication. I have a lock on my bedroom door so my 6 year old son can't get to my meds and when he gets older, I plan to buy a safe to store them in to provide additional protection.
As long as you take your medication as prescribed, you will be fine. Be sure to not escalate doses on your own but to talk to your physician first and let him know that your pain is no longer controlled and the both of you will decide together what to do. Increasing the dose on your own is dangerous and it sounds like you are most aware of that.
Welcome and I hope I provided the information you were looking for. If not, keep asking! :) There is a lot of support in this community for dealing with chronic pain and we hope you will become an active member in this community.
You have no idea how much I appreciate you all sharing your knowledge. I have had three surgeries so far and they were unsuccessful. However I am thankful to be here and I am appreciative of what god has given me. I was prescribed 2 percocets every four hours after each of my surgeries and I tolerated them well over time they decreased my to one every eight hours and then when I seen my family physician he said that wasn't enough. He then said that I could take them every four hours again and that has helped. I do have another question though the bottle says one every four hours which adds up to 6 a day. If I was in bad pain could I take two at a time as long as I don't go over the 6 a day. Any advice on that and this is a great place to come I have read tons of questions and answered a few that I was knowledgeable in myself lol. And I am learning that maybe it isn't bad to be on medicine and that if it helps my quality of life then I should do it. Just scares me I really haven't read anywhere where someone takes this med long term and I was scared but now I see there are people out there that do take it everyday and there livers are healthy and they are happy. So thanks so much for your advise and sharing it with people who are not as knowledgeable it is greatly appreciated :)
You are most certainly welcome. I am very sorry to hear of your accident that caused a lot of injuries along with 3 failed surgeries (oh my goodness! :( ) that has led you here to the pain management community. It is such a blessing to have you still with us today and I hope that through pain management you will be able to live a fulfilling life as there is a lot live for despite the challenges we as chronic pain patients face. I'm glad you have helped others here already, I think that is wonderful! :)
To determine how many pills have been prescribed per day, it is better to take the total amount of pills in the bottle and divide it by 30 days...that equals how many you can take per day. There have been many that got into trouble by their doctor for misinterpreting the prescribing instructions. Many times the words "take 1-2 every 4-6 hours for pain" equates to more pills than there are in the bottle and because they went by the written instructions without considering the amount, they ran out early before another script was due to be filled. So if you say your doctor says you can take 6 pills per day, then you should have 180 pills as the quantity on the bottle. Hopefully, that makes sense.
I got into trouble on here for providing info on how to take medication (even though it was correct, it is not allowed and I wasn't aware of that) so I can't tell you that you can take 2 pills per day. However, oxycodone comes in up to 30 mg tablets and the dose of percocet is bounded by the amount of tylenol within it. The maximum safe amount of tylenol that can be ingested in a single dose is 1,000 mg. Per the maximums the pharmaceutical companies published, the max prescribed dose of percocet is "up to 3 tablets (assuming 5/325 mg dose per tablet) every 4-6 hours not to exceed 12 pills in a day". So that maximum safe dose of percocet that can be taken in one dose (per the pharmaceutical company) is 3 pills. This info can be found at http://www.drugs.com
So based on the pharmaceutical company published maximum dosing, 2 pills is within the dosing limitations; however, I must tell you that you need to talk with your doctor and ask if taking 2 pills versus 1 is okay. There are many chronic pain patients (including me) that will "flex" their pills to be able to take a little more for a high activity day coming up that has been planned in advance. For example, in my case I dealt with the increased pain for a couple of days due to taking less than my prescribed dose so that I would have extra to take later in the week to take my son to the zoo. This "flex" of pills allowed me additional analgesia above my normal analgesia level and also made sure I balanced out at the end of the month so that I didn't run out early. I got the okay on this method from my physician before "flexing" my pills. So also ask your doctor if you can "flex" your pills if you need more pain relief to get through an event/outing that causes you additional pain beyond what your normal dose can control.
As I started to take the real strong opioids, I was frightened too. I think we all are when starting a new medication. So you are not alone. But your doctor will make sure you are given safe dosages and titrate them up safely when needed so no need to worry. I found great support online and knowing that there are others like me that have to take similar meds as me for pain gives me comfort in knowing that I am alone. So you are definitely not alone in this battle.
Hopefully, what I said makes sense. If not, ask more questions. That is what we are here for. :)
I am taking your advise and doing what the instructions say until I talk to my dr. I did do some flexing so I can attempt to bike ride with my son tomorrow and I am hoping that will help. I can believe how much support is here and it is appreciated by me and I am sure so many more. I still have been doing some research and it's still hard to find all the answers I am looking for which is a lot lol. I just recently read one article that says oxycodone can potentially harm the liver along with the Tylenol which was interesting because I have not read that anywhere else. To me me it seems ad though they are making a huge deal out of the Tylenol aspect due to making sure they are covered. Most of what I have read say that to overdose or do damage to your liver you need to take 34 grams of Tylenol over three days which is a lot of Tylenol. That gave me some relief because I am nowhere near that. I am still scared about the taking everyday part but from what I have read any medicine can harm you and you just have to be knowledgeable and keep safe at all times. It also seems that most people overdose because they se combination products and are not aware of what they ate taking. My mom has been on Vicodin for over five years daily and she is completely healthy. I guess I just worry about being dependent and wonder if I am going to wake up one day with severe problems because if it. I also read that a lot of the Tylenol related studies were done in the 70's and that they suspect a lot of the people had unrecognized hepatitis. Oh well I will keep reading and listening to some more of your experiences because it had helped calm me down some. So keep me informed if you have read any of this or if you have heard other things it's greatly appreciated :)
I haven't heard anything other than the limits I have provided to you. There are many lawsuits out there from patients and family members of patients that were taking percocet or vicodin and ended up with liver failure or damage and many of them actually died. There are other lawsuits out there from consumers that overdosed on over the counter tylenol as they were taking up to a bottle a day to combat the pain that no doctor would treat with opioid medications. And again in this scenario, there were several deaths.
About a year or so ago, the FDA almost ruled in favor of removing percocet and vicodin and other combination products off the shelf permenantly because of the many reports of liver damage and liver failure. This included the removal of also over the counter tylenol. But corrective measures were put in place by the pharmaceutical companies to make consumers more aware of the safe limitations of the medications that the FDA felt confident about.
There are many people out there that are taking way over 4,000 mg per day of tylenol that are continuing to live just fine as the tylenol levels were ramped up slowly such that their bodies have adapted to the new levels (there was study I read that showed this method may limit liver damage) or they just have tough livers! LOL But who knows when the body will eventually get tired of those high levels of tylenol intake.
Also, on the Medhelp Addiction/Substance Abuse community, there have been many posts of people that were taking 12 norco/vicodin or 12 percocet at one time to get high and they had a liver panel completed that showed their liver enzymes were through the roof and remained that way for several months/years after the abuse stopped. Higher levels of liver enzymes (especially the ALT enzyme) is linked directly to overuse of tylenol or acetaminophen. Over time this is what leads to liver damage or liver failure.
So I would be on the cautious side as liver failure requires a transplant to live and livers are most definitely not a hot commodity. I get a liver panel completed every year just to monitor my liver enzyme levels to make sure my liver is still functioning normally and I encourage that you do the same.
Also don't forget that there are medications without the tylenol that can help with your pain even better than the percocet is right now. All long acting opioid medications do not contain tylenol. I take Opana ER which is extended release oxymorphone. Long acting opioid medications are taken on a schedule everyday so I take the Opana ER every 12 hours and the medicine levels stay at peak plasma for 12 hours versus percocet ramps up to peak plasma in 30 mins to an hour, stays at peak plasma for about an hour and then begins its decent back to zero. This allows me to be able to use percocet for breakthrough pain only and it works a lot better under the umbrella of a long acting medication. Just something to keep in mind. Also there is oxycodone without the tylenol. There are many members here that use oxycodone without tylenol and add in OTC tylenol if they feel it would help.
I know I have read some great articles across the web. If I come across some, I'll be sure to send them your way. :)
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