Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

There are a lot of pain medications available with prescription. Two most commonly prescribed pain medicines are Vicodin and Percocet. In the following paragraphs, we will talk about the differences between these two common painkillers.

Vicodin Vs Percocet

There are many painkillers available, and they all vary from each other in several ways. Though the basic similarity is the ability of these medications to fight pain, the ingredients used in the medications and their effects are usually different. Vicodin and Percocet are the two most common painkillers and these medications also happen to be greatly abused. These drugs are combinations of a narcotic along with a non-narcotic painkiller that is used to relief from moderate or severe pain.

Vicodin Vs Percocet: Basic Difference

Vicodin is a powerful prescription painkiller containing an opioid (narcotic) used for managing severe pain requiring an opioid pain medication, when rest all pain treatments, like the non-opioid painkillers do not really work in treating pain or when you can’t tolerate them. Actually, Vicodin is an opioid pain medication that might put you at risk for overdose and even result in death. It must be strictly noted that even if you take the dose properly as prescribed by your doctor, you are at a high risk of addiction, or abuse of the drug, that can result in death.

Percocet (acetaminophen and oxycodone) is a combination medication that consists of an opioid and also a pain and fever reducer or reliever (analgesic and an antipyretic) that is used to manage moderate or severe pain.

Vicodin Vs Percocet: Differences Based On Drug Interaction and Side Effects.

There are certain drugs that interact with Vicodin as well as Percocet pain killers, and these drugs include; some pain medicines such as Nalbuphine, pentazocine, and naltrexone. There might be a risk of some severe side effects such as shallow or slow breathing, dizziness or severe drowsiness. You must talk to your doctor in case you are taking other medications like the cough relievers, marijuana, alcohol, drugs for anxiety and sleep, muscle relaxants, or antihistamines. There are also some other medications that can interact with Vicodin and cause severe side effects. These drugs include the ones, such as Azole antifungals or Ketoconazole, HIV medicines such as Ritonavir, Macrolide antibiotics like Erythromycin, Rifamycins such as Rifampin and Rifabutin, and also some medicines used to treat seizures, such as Phenytoin and carbamazepine.

You must never take Percocet in case you have allergies to any of the ingredients present in it. In case you develop any sign of allergy, you must consult with your doctor immediately. Make sure not to take more than 4000 mg of acetaminophen in a day. You must know that the tablets of Percocet contain oxycodone, which actually is a morphine-like substance. The unused tablets must be destroyed by flushing them in toilet.

Finally, you must know not to adjust the dose of these medications by yourself; instead consult with your physician.

Vicodin Vs Percocet: Differences Based On How They Must Be Taken.

How Should You Take Vicodin ?

Ensure that you don’t change the dosage by yourself without doctor’s prescription. Take Vicodin only as your doctor might have prescribed you. Make use of the lowest possible dose and that too only for short time period. Take your medicine in the prescribed dose in every 4-6 hours, as required for your pain. Never take more than the prescribed dose. In case you miss even a single dose, take the next dose at its usual time.

NOTE. In case you have been using the medication regularly, don’t stop it without consulting with your doctor.

How Should You Take Percocet?

The dosage must be adjusted as per the severity of your pain and also as per the response of the person taking it. Occasionally it might be required to exceed the normal or regular dosage as recommended, especially in case of severe pain or only in case of the patients who are tolerant enough to opioids. In case the pain in patient remains constant for long, the opioid analgesic must be taken at regular intervals. Percocet tablets are always given orally.

Vicodin Vs Percocet: Differences Based On The Side Effects.

The common side effects experienced in patients taking Vicodin , include dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, anxiety, vomiting, drowsiness, changes in mood, blurred vision, upset stomach, dry mouth, ringing ears and difficulty urinating.

Similarly patients taking Percocet also experience some kind of side effects and these side effects include, nausea, vomiting, constipation, upset stomach, drowsiness, sleepiness, dizziness, headache, lightheadedness, blurred vision, dry mouth, itching, sweating and a reduced ability to feel pain.

NOTE. You must visit your doctor in case you experience some of the serious side effects of Percocet, which might include circulatory depression, respiratory depression, respiratory arrest, apnea, shock, low blood pressure.

Vicodin Vs Percocet: Differences Based On Forms And Dosage.

Both of these painkillers, i.e. Vicodin as well as Percocet come in brand-name and also in the generic versions. The brand-name versions of the pain medications come in tablet form, while the generic versions come in tablet as well as in liquid forms.

Let us take a look on the dosage of Vicodin and Percocet.

Vicodin Dosage.

  • Vicodin Tablets. 300 mg of Acetaminophen drug along with 5 mg, 7.5 mg or 10 mg of hydrocodone.
  • Generic Liquid Form. 325 mg of Acetaminophen along with 7.5 mg or 10 mg of hydrocodone/15 mL.
  • Generic Tablet Form. 300 or 325 mg of Acetaminophen drug along with 2.5 mg, 5 mg, 7.5 mg or 10 mg of hydrocodone.

Percocet.

  • Percocet Tablets. 325 mg of Acetaminophen drug along with 2.5, 5, 7 or 10 mg of oxycodone.
  • Generic Liquid Form. 325 mg of acetaminophen drug along with 5 mg of oxycodone/5 ml
  • Generic Tablet Form. 300 or 325 mg of Acetaminophen drug along with 2.5, 5, 7.5 or 10 mg of oxycodone.

NOTE. It must be noted that both these pain medications, i.e. the Vicodin and Percocet are typically taken every 4-6 hours, as required for relieving the pain.

Vicodin Vs Percocet: Differences Based On Effectiveness.

Both the pain medications, the Vicodin and Percocet have shown their effectiveness in treating pain. In a study that compared both these drugs, researchers found that both of these drugs worked equally effective in managing the pain for short-term basis. One more study showed that both Vicodin and Percocet work equally well in treating acute pain that is caused by fractures.

However, in a different study it was found that Oxycodone, the drug in Percocet, was about 1.5 times more powerful than Hydrocodone, the drug in Vicodin , when taken in equal doses.

Take Home The Advice

We are now aware of the differences between Vicodin and Percocet pain medications. From the above description, it must be clear that both these medications are only meant for short-term use, unless they are been prescribed for chronic cancer pain. They must not be used in long-term. You must also be made aware that the opioid pain relievers must be used as the last resort for any pain that is moderate or severe and that has not responded to other painkillers.

NOTE. Talk to your doctor to know about the exact dosage and use of any kind of pain medications and keep away from severe side effects.

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: January 16, 2019

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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