Last updated: May 25, 2020
Doctors prescribe Percocet short-term to manage post-surgery pain and less frequently to treat chronic pain. The combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen work well. The acetaminophen enhances the oxycodone providing more relief for patients. Depending on the type of drug test administered, detection in your system is possible for a few hours up to 90 days.
There are several types of drug testing methods. The detection period varies for all but the hair follicle test.
Let’s look at what affects the different testing methods.
Employers regulated by the DOT must use a urine drug test. Many employers of the general workforce have followed their lead making it the most used employee drug test on the market. They are extremely accurate and the most cost-effective.
The urine test detects Percocet just hours after use. It remains in the system up to four days after taking the last dose.
Mouth swab test
This test is also known as the saliva drug test. Employers looking to discover recent drug use consider it a good choice.
Percocet shows up in the saliva as soon as 15 minutes after use. The detection period remains between one and four days after discontinuing use.
Blood tests are extremely accurate. They’re also expensive and not commonly used for employee drug testing. However, Percocet enters the bloodstream within 15 minutes of taking it. It remains detectable in the blood for up to 24 hours.
Hair follicle test
The hair follicle test has the longest detection period. It detects any drug used for 90-days. Some of the drug metabolites are stored in the hair follicle. They, then, grow out into the hair shaft actually becoming part of the hair. However, it takes about three days for this to happen.
Why do the detection windows fluctuate?
The amount of time that different drug tests detect Percocet ranges (in all but the hair follicle test) for a number of reasons. Understandably, most have to do with an individual’s specific make-up, but that is not always the case.
Based on individuality
Everyone is unique. Individuality plays a large part in how long drugs remain in the system after use.
- Age—People over the age of 65 don’t metabolize and excrete drugs as efficiently as young people. Also, the person may be taking medications that impair metabolism and excretion times.
- Body mass—A person’s height, weight, and body fat percentage also influences the amount of time that Percocet remains in the system. A short, lightweight person takes longer to excrete the drug than a taller “heavyweight” individual. Also notable, a person with a greater body fat percentage excretes the drug at a quicker rate.
- Genetics—Our DNA make up is another deciding factor with regard to drug retention. Some metabolize faster than others. The faster Percocet goes through the process, the sooner it leaves the body.
- Food intake—If Percocet is taken with food in the stomach, it compromises the length of time it takes the body to absorb the drug. Furthermore, some drinks, such as grapefruit juice, may lengthen the time it takes to metabolize the drug.
- Liver and kidney function—Percocet is metabolized by liver enzymes. If someone’s liver or kidneys aren’t functioning properly, it will affect the amount of time it takes to clear the drug from the body.
- Urinary pH—The greater the alkalinity of someone’s urine, the slower the drug clears from the body. High alkalinity can cause reabsorption of Percocet. On the other hand, people that have highly acidic urine usually excrete Percocet at the fastest possible rate.
If someone is taking other drugs in addition to Percocet, they may interact causing the drug to remain in the system longer or to be excreted more quickly.
Drugs that are known “inducers” will expedite the metabolism rate and possibly cause the drug to leave the body sooner.
Drugs that are known “inhibitors” slow down the metabolism rate, so, of course, increase the amount of time that the body holds on to Percocet.
Frequency and dosage
The dosage amount determines the level of Percocet that’s in the body. Lower doses clear the system sooner. Higher doses increase the level, thereby, taking longer to cleanse the system.
How often someone takes the drug influences the amount of detection time. People who use Percocet infrequently don’t retain it as long as those who take multiple doses on a daily basis.
It’s also interesting to note that continued use of the drug may trigger physiological adaptations. For example, over time the liver and kidneys may be affected to such a degree that it prolongs clearance rates.
It’s a dangerous drug
Drug abusers take this drug because of the euphoric feeling that accompanies it. It also provides a false sense of motivation, high energy levels, and extreme focus. However, as an abuser continues to use Percocet, they begin to show evidence of abuse that ranges from suspicious behavior to extreme mood swings.
Moreover, there are other side effects that can help others spot signs of abuse.
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Low blood pressure
- Reduced breathing rate
Abusers may steal the medication from family members or friends. Another ploy drug addicts use is to falsify prescriptions. Obtaining the drug online through the black market is not out of the question either.
If you suspect an employee is displaying any of the above signs of drug abuse, a reasonable suspicion drug test is warranted. Follow company drug-free or zero-tolerance protocol and proceed as soon as possible.
An employee that abuses drugs in the workplace is a safety hazard for everyone. If an employee tests positive for drugs, help them. Sharing treatment options may encourage them to go.
Depending on the workplace policy, the employee may lose their job. Ultimately, though, they may keep their life.