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How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System…Well, it Depends


Percocet is a combination of an opioid medication (Oxycodone) and acetaminophen, an analgesic. Both may be detectable with drug testing. This article discusses the length of time Percocet can be measured through testing. Percocet is made up of two medications that relieve pain through different mechanisms.

  • According the FDA Oxycodone (i.e. Percocet) is detectable 1 to 3 hours after taking it, and for 1 to 2 days thereafter.

Percocet’s (Oxycodone) Half-Life

One of the best way to measure the length of time a drug stays in the body is to know its half-life. A medication’s half-life is how long it takes the body to break down and clear half of the medication from the body.

  • Percocet has a short half-life of around 3.2 hours.

This means half of the drug will be metabolized and removed from the body 3.2 hours after the last dose. However, it takes several half-lives to completely eliminate a medication so that it’s no longer detectable in the blood.

  • For the average person, the oxycodone found in Percocet will not be measurable in the blood 24-48 hours after the last dose.
  • However, it is still detectable in saliva and urine for up to 4 days after the final dose.
  • It’s also detectable in hair for up to 3 months.

These are generalizations as a variety of factors can speed up or slow down how the body metabolizes or breaks down the oxycodone in Percocet. The oxycodone portion of Percocet can be tested for on a drug screen. Here are some factors that can impact its breakdown and cause it to be detectable longer through drug testing.


For reasons that aren’t completely understood, females tend to have higher levels of oxycodone in their blood relative to men when the dose of Percocet is equivalent. So, it may take slightly more time for females to clear the oxycodone in Percocet than males.


Age matters too. For a number of reasons, people over the age of 65 develop higher oxycodone levels.

  • Therefore, older people may clear the medication more slowly.

Senor citizens also tend to take more prescription and non-prescription drugs. Other medications compete with each other and with Percocet for breakdown and clearance.

  • Therefore, being on other medications can delay oxycodone clearance.

Overall Health

Health factors also impact how quickly oxycodone in Percocet is cleared. The liver and kidneys are the main organs that break down and eliminate oxycodone. In people who have liver or kidney disease, clearance may be delayed by several hours.

Dose Timing

Finally, long-term users of Percocet may not clear the medication as quickly as new users. That’s because oxycodone is stored in fat tissue and this slows its breakdown and elimination.

Testing For Acetaminophen

Since Percocet is a combination of acetaminophen and oxycodone, it’s helpful to know how quickly acetaminophen is cleared. Acetaminophen is mainly broken down by the liver and its half-life varies depending on how healthy the liver is. The half-life of acetaminophen is 2 to 3 hours but may be as long as 4 hours in people with reduced liver function. It takes several half-lives to clear a medication.

  • As a general rule, acetaminophen is no longer detectable in the blood after 24 hours.

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