What should I avoid while taking Percocet?

The pain medication Percocet (oxycodone and acetaminophen) can make you drowsy, so don't drive or operate machinery until you know that you can stay alert. You should not breastfeed while on Percocet, because the drug passes into breast milk and can make your baby excessively sleepy or cause her to have trouble breathing.

Avoid alcohol while taking Percocet. Drinking can make the medication more potent and lead to severe side effects, even death. This is especially important if you have a drinking problem. Research shows that alcoholics may experience liver damage if they regularly take acetaminophen, even in moderate amounts.

Percocet interacts with a number of other drugs, so you should avoid the following while you're on it:
  • other drugs that contain acetaminophen. Too much of it can cause serious side effects, including liver failure, convulsions and coma. You should not take more than a total of 4,000 milligrams of acetaminophen per day. Your doctor or pharmacist can help you calculate how much acetaminophen you're getting if you use Percocet along with another drug that contains it.
  • medications that suppress the central nervous system. Because Percocet slows the central nervous system, taking it along with other drugs that do the same could trigger serious side effects, including coma and death. These drugs include pain medications that contain an opioid (such as codeine and morphine), phenothiazines (used to treat mental illness, allergic reactions and nausea), and some tranquilizers, sedative-hypnotics and antinausea drugs.
  • monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Don't take Percocet if you use, or used in the last 14 days, an MAOI, such as tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (Emsam) or isocarboxazid (Marplan). Mixing oxycodone (an ingredient in Percocet) with an MAOI can lead to slow or shallow breathing, seizures, shock or coma.
  • agonist/antagonist opioid analgesics. These pain relievers (including pentazocine, nalbuphine and butorphanol) make Percocet less effective. If you've been taking Percocet for a while, starting one of these drugs may cause withdrawal symptoms from Percocet.
  • muscle relaxers. These can slow breathing, as can Percocet.
  • anticholinergics. Combining these with Percocet can produce paralytic ileus, in which digested food does not pass through the intestines. These medications include ipratropium (Atrovent) and tiotropium (Spiriva).

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.