Drug and Alcohol - Opioid Addiction

Vicodin vs Percocet: What’s Different (and the Same) Between These Two Opioid Painkillers

Vicodin vs Percocet: How are They Different?

Vicodin vs Percocet: Do you know how these two opioids are different? Although less strong than other opioid drugs, they're both addictive.

The opioid crisis is one of the most pressing issues facing the United States today. With over 130 people dying every day from opioid overdose, it's clear that something needs to be done to address this problem. One of the main contributors to this epidemic is prescription painkillers, specifically those containing opioids such as Vicodin and Percocet.

Both Vicodin and Percocet are commonly prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, but how do they compare to each other? In this article, we'll take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two opioid painkillers.

It's a good idea to be informed of the potential side effects of these drugs. Understanding these side effects allows you to make educated decisions and take the appropriate measures when using these pain relievers.

In addition, we will discuss the duration of action for both medications. Knowing how long Vicodin and Percocet stay in your system is essential since it influences aspects like dose frequency and potential medication interactions.

We will also look at the precise medical illnesses and settings in which Vicodin and Percocet are routinely given. By gaining insights into their recommended uses, one can better understand the appropriate situations for each medication and discuss them with the doctor.

Vicodin Vs. Percocet: Key Differences

Vicodin and Percocet are both prescribed pain relievers. But they have some key differences. Here are the key differences between them.

Vicodin vs Percocet: What’s in Them

Vicodin comprises hydrocodone & acetaminophen as active components. Percocet, on the other hand, contains oxycodone & acetaminophen. The opioid component of these two drugs differs. This might result in varied effects and strengths.

Vicodin vs Percocet: Potency

Percocet is said to be somewhat stronger than Vicodin. The opioid component of Percocet, oxycodone, is often stronger than the opioid component of Vicodin, hydrocodone.

Vicodin vs Percocet: Dosage Strength

Percocet comes in a wider variety of dose strengths than Vicodin. This enables doctors to more accurately adjust the dose to an individual's pain needs.

Vicodin vs Percocet: Availability

Percocet is offered in immediate-release and extended-release, with distinct durations of pain relief. Vicodin, on the other hand, is only available in immediate-release form.

Vicodin vs Percocet: Prescribing Regulations

Opioid prescription rules have gotten increasingly strict in recent years. Because of the increased hydrocodone concentration of Vicodin, prescription has decreased, but Percocet has remained more routinely prescribed.

Vicodin vs Percocet: Side Effects

Although both medications have similar potential side effects as opioids, individual experiences may vary. Some individuals may find one medication more tolerable or encounter different side effects than others.

Vicodin vs Percocet: What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is a commonly prescribed medication that belongs to a family of drugs called opioids. It is used for relieving moderate to severe pain. Understanding what Vicodin is and how it works can help us make informed decisions regarding its use and& possible risks.

Vicodin is a prescription pain reliever. It comprises two active components: hydrocodone & acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid medication used for fever and pain relief. While hydrocodone is an opioid pain reliever. When these two chemicals are combined, they give significant pain relief.

Hydrocodone, the opioid component of Vicodin, operates by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain & spinal cord. These receptors are in charge of controlling pain signals in the body. Hydrocodone reduces the strength of pain signals by attaching to these receptors, offering relief from discomfort.

Acetaminophen works by blocking certain chemicals in the body that cause pain and fever. It improves the pain-relieving effects of hydrocodone & can reduce fever.

Vicodin is only accessible with a doctor's prescription. This is because opioids, such as Vicodin, have the potential for overuse, dependence, and addiction. They can also induce sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, constipation, and respiratory depression. This is true when used in large dosages or over an extended time.

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Vicodin vs Percocet: What Is Vicodin Used For?

Following are some common uses of Vicodin.

Post-Operative Pain Control

Vicodin is commonly administered following surgical operations. These include dental or orthopedic surgery to reduce pain and discomfort during recovery.

Chronic Pain Management

Vicodin is frequently used to treat chronic pain problems. These include arthritis, back pain, fibromyalgia, and nerve damage. It can help lower the intensity of chronic or long-term pain. Thus improving the quality of life for those who suffer from these conditions.

Acute Pain Relief

Vicodin can be recommended to treat acute pain caused by injuries, fractures, or severe muscular strains. During the healing and recovery process, it can provide brief comfort.

Vicodin is occasionally used to treat pain associated with cancer. It can help relieve the pain produced by the disease or by cancer therapies such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Palliative Care

Vicodin can be administered in palliative care. This is to provide comfort and pain relief for those with terminal diseases or nearing their lives end. It can assist in enhancing the quality of life by lowering pain and making living more pleasant.

Pain Management in Emergency Situations

Vicodin can be given in an emergency to offer quick pain relief for severe trauma, kidney stones, or other acute painful conditions.

Non-Responsive Pain

Vicodin can be considered an alternative to relieve people experiencing non-responsive pain in some circumstances when other pain management methods or medications have not been helpful.

Vicodin vs Percocet: Vicodin Side Effects

Vicodin has the potential to cause side effects like other medications. Following are some of the most common side effects.


Drowsiness or sedation is one of the most typical Vicodin side effects. It can make you sleepy, tired, or less alert. This effect can affect the ability to drive, operate machinery, or perform jobs that need focus.


It can cause dizziness and lightheadedness. This can affect the balance and increase the risk of falling or being involved in an accident.

Nausea and Vomiting

Some people can experience nausea or vomiting. Taking the medication with food or adjusting the dosage may help lessen these side effects.


Vicodin can cause constipation, a typical side effect of opioid medications. Increasing fluid intake, including dietary fiber, and discussing the use of stool softeners or laxatives with the doctor can help control this side effect.

Dry Mouth

It can result in a dry mouth. This can cause pain or raise the risk of dental problems. This symptom can be reduced by staying hydrated and exercising proper dental hygiene.

Itching or Rash

While using Vicodin, some people can develop itching or a skin rash. It is necessary to get medical assistance if one develops a severe or recurring rash.

Respiratory Depression

It can cause respiratory depression when used in excessive dosages or by those particularly sensitive to opioids. Misuse, greater dosages, or when taken with other medications that depress the respiratory system, such as alcohol or certain sedatives, increase the likelihood of this happening.

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Vicodin vs Percocet: How Long Does Vicodin Stay in Your System?

Vicodin's duration in the system might vary based on various factors, including individual circumstances and the testing method employed. The following summarizes typical timescales for Vicodin detection in various testing procedures.

Urine Tests

Vicodin can be found in urine for 2 to 4 days following the previous dosage. Individual characteristics, such as metabolism, hydration, and frequency of usage, might, however, impact the detection window.

Blood Tests

Vicodin is detectable in blood for a shorter amount of time than it is in urine. It is usually detectable for roughly 24 hours following the previous dose. Blood tests are frequently employed in particular scenarios, such as medical crises or drug-related investigations.

Saliva Tests

Vicodin can be found in saliva for 12 to 36 hours after use. Saliva tests are less common, although they may be utilized in specific situations like workplace or law enforcement drug testing.

Hair Tests

Vicodin can be discovered in hair follicle tests for longer than other testing methods. It can be detected in hair for up to 90 days after the last use because hair records a history of drug usage over time. Hair tests, on the contrary, are less popular and more costly than other testing procedures.

Vicodin vs Percocet: What Is Percocet?

Percocet is a medication that is used to help people manage pain. It belongs to a family of drugs known as opioids. Percocet is a pain reliever that can be prescribed by a doctor.

It has two active components, oxycodone & acetaminophen. Oxycodone is a powerful pain reliever that helps lower your body's pain sensation. Acetaminophen is a drug that can help with fever reduction & pain relief.

When you take Percocet, the oxycodone attaches to certain portions of your body, known as opioid receptors. These receptors are present in the brain & spinal cord. They help in the regulation of pain signals. Oxycodone can help lower pain signals by connecting to these receptors. This causes you to experience less pain.

Acetaminophen, the other ingredient in Percocet, operates by blocking specific chemicals in the body that can cause pain and fever. It improves oxycodone's pain-relieving effects and can reduce the body's temperature if you have a fever.

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Vicodin vs Percocet: What Is Percocet Used For?

Percocet is typically prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. When these two ingredients are combined, they give a more complete approach to pain relief. Following are some situations where Percocet may be prescribed.

Pain Management After Surgery

Percocet may be recommended to relieve pain following surgical procedures such as dental surgery or orthopedic surgery. The combination of oxycodone & acetaminophen relieves pain & discomfort at the surgical site.

Trauma or Acute Injury

Percocet can be beneficial in relieving acute pain caused by accidents, fractures, or severe muscular strains. The oxycodone component targets pain receptors in the brain & spinal cord. While the acetaminophen component helps relieve inflammation and fever caused by injury.

Managing Chronic Pain

Individuals suffering from chronic pain disorders such as arthritis or neuropathy may be administered Percocet to ease their discomfort. By treating both pain signals in the body and lowering inflammation, the combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen can give more comprehensive relief.

Pain Associated With Cancer

Percocet is also used to treat pain associated with cancer. It can help relieve pain caused by the disease or by treatments for cancer, such as surgery or chemotherapy. The combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen relieves cancer-related pain.

Percocet Side Effects

Percocet, like Vicodin, can produce similar side effects due to its shared opioid component (oxycodone) and the potential side effects of acetaminophen. Following are some common side effects that can be observed with Percocet, which overlap with the side effects of Vicodin.

  • Drowsiness

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Constipation

  • Respiratory depression

  • Itching or rash

  • Liver toxicity

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Vicodin vs Percocet: How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

Percocet's duration in your system varies depending on individual characteristics and the testing technique. Here is an overview of expected detection times.

Urine Tests

Percocet can be detected in urine for about 1 to 3 days.

Blood Tests

Percocet is detectable in blood for approximately 24 hours.

Saliva Tests

Percocet can be detected in saliva for around 1 to 4 days.

Hair Tests

Percocet may be detectable in hair follicle tests for up to 90 days.

Vicodin vs Percocet: Addiction to Both Is Treatable at The Edge Treatment Center

The Edge Treatment Center is dedicated to aiding individuals and their loved ones to achieve lasting recovery from drug & alcohol addiction. Through our evidence-based treatment programs, we offer effective care and support. The Edge Treatment Center provides flexible scheduling options, allowing clients to balance their treatment with work or education commitments. 

Understanding the importance of maintaining connections, The Edge Treatment Center is device-friendly, enabling clients to stay connected with their support networks. Family visits and counseling sessions are strongly encouraged by us to support the healing process. With a team of licensed clinicians, personalized care is delivered using evidence-based therapies. 

Ensuring client safety is a top priority, and The Edge Treatment Center provides 24/7 access to medical staff. The comprehensive approach of The Edge Treatment Center includes addressing co-occurring mental health disorders. Our utmost dedication lies in supporting individuals on their journey to long-term recovery and helping them achieve a fulfilling life free from addiction.

For more information about addiction to prescription opioids, reach out to The Edge Treatment Center today.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there is hope. Our team can guide you on your journey to recovery. Call us today.

Written by

brian-mooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

jeremy-arztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

Drug and Alcohol

Opioid Addiction

November 24, 2023