What Is the Difference between Codeine and Percocet?
By: Zinnia Healing Editorial Staff | Edited By: Rebecca Hill
Prescription painkillers are common in the U.S. The most commonly prescribed examples are codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and oxymorphone, with street names like China White, Dragon, Elephant, Gear, Hammer, Nose Drops, Skag, and White Dynamite. With such an epidemic of opioid use and abuse, the most recent estimates from the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) put the number of deaths at one million.
Codeine and Percocet are both low-dose opioids that are intended for short-term use. Even though they are strictly regulated, they are still frequently prescribed and are also used without a prescription. While you might think that these two substances are pretty much the same, you’ll experience different results when you take each one of them.
Contrast Codeine and Percocet – How Are They Different?
What is the difference between codeine and Percocet? Codeine and Percocet have different formulations, so they are different opioids. As a brand name, Percocet is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that combines acetaminophen and oxycodone. It is a Schedule II narcotic, which mandates strict regulation. Beyond its formulation, Percocet is a pill that’s used to treat moderate to severe pain from an accident or surgery.
Compared to Percocet, codeine is a generic drug that is less potent. Codeine is often available as a capsule, liquid, or pill. While codeine is most often used in cough syrup to suppress coughs, your doctor may also prescribe it to you for pain relief. As a Schedule III narcotic, it is not quite as tightly regulated as Percocet, but it is still a controlled substance. So, the formulation is different, and the degree of regulation is different for codeine and Percocet.
The formulation also contributes to another troubling reality when you compare the two. Percocet contains acetaminophen, which means that its misuse and abuse can lead to possible liver damage or failure, a side effect that is typically only found with acetaminophen overuse and abuse.
If you’re looking at the bottom line for comparative differences, you might look at the cost variable. Percocet is more expensive, but it’s generally more effective. Codeine is generic, so it’s cheaper, but there’s the trade-off in potency. Your doctor will likely consider all these factors before prescribing the one that will best meet your needs.
How Are Codeine and Percocet Similar?
While there may be a few differences, the fact remains that both codeine and Percocet are opioid drugs. Like so many of their class of drugs, they can be effective at treating pain and discomfort, but they can also have intense side effects, with mounting risks of addiction and dependency.
Codeine and Percocet are both effective and popular for use because they release serotonin and dopamine to make you feel great while reducing your pain levels. It’s really as simple as that, but the problem arises when you’re so attracted to that intoxicating, relaxing feeling that you become addicted and reliant on the drug for daily functioning. The use and abuse become something that’s not just nice pain relief but a necessity. The substance abuse problem with codeine or Percocet can quickly become an obsession.
The use of codeine and Percocet becomes further complicated when you take the drug(s) in high-enough doses or at a frequency that leads to difficulty with breathing. Higher doses are a temptation, because the prescribed dose may only do so much for the pain before it all comes back. For those who experience altered or compromised breathing, though, oxygen deprivation can lead to death.
Are Codeine and Percocet Addictive?
As prescription painkillers, the use and abuse of codeine and Percocet can be particularly troubling, with prescriptions commonly being shared by family members and friends. That not only makes it easy to become addicted but also harder to free yourself of that substance abuse problem, since your network of family and friends may be similarly affected by opioid use.
The goal of recovery is to find a support system that will help you lead a clean and sober life, without a dependency on drugs or alcohol. Statistically, young adults in the 18 to 25 age group are more likely to become addicted to codeine and Percocet, but the demographic can fall much lower, with kids as young as 12 experiencing addiction issues.
There appears to be a gender component to addiction as well, with more women becoming dependent on codeine and Percocet compared to men. The use and abuse of codeine and Percocet can pop up anywhere, and the effects can be negative, long-term, and even deadly when these prescription painkillers are misused.
What Are the Symptoms of Opioid Addiction: Codeine and Percocet?
The symptoms of opioid addiction, including addiction to codeine and Percocet, can include the usual suspects. You may feel out of balance, agitated, and constipated. Or it could get more severe, with nausea, vomiting, or difficulty breathing. Codeine may make your mouth feel dry, and you could experience more severe digestive problems including loss of appetite, itchy skin, or extreme apathy.
While the symptoms may vary slightly depending on your level of use and abuse, the general progression is toward worsening outward signs, with a psychological dimension that includes depression, moodiness, anxiety, and focused attention on obtaining codeine or Percocet no matter what the cost to you physically, psychologically, personally, and professionally. If you have a problem with opioids, the signs are typically clear, including a range of behavioral, physical, and psychological clues.
With some more potent opioid drugs, like Percocet, you are even more likely to abuse the drug until you become addicted, with the possibility of overdose. Any opioid use, whether it be codeine or Percocet, can lead to abuse and addiction, which is why it’s so important to realize that you need help.
How Treatment Differs Between Opioids: Codeine and Percocet
Effective treatments for opioid addiction—whether it be codeine, Percocet, or any other related substance—often include the use of buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Of these medications, methadone is the most frequently used and prescribed option. It was first used in 1947, and it has since been instrumental in improving the outcomes of patients recovering from opioid addiction and overdose.
Buprenorphine is another option that was approved in 2002 for use on patients who demonstrate the symptoms of opioid addiction from codeine and Percocet. There’s evidence to suggest that patients experience a higher rate of relapse when taking this drug. There is some controversy around the findings, though, since patients must take high doses of buprenorphine to get the full efficacy, and some prescribing physicians may prescribe it at a lower dose than what is recommended, leading to relapse.
Naltrexone is another treatment for opioid addition from codeine and Percocet. It was approved for use by the FDA in 2010, with a daily pill and a monthly injectable formulation, which both appear to be effective. While it’s not addictive, naltrexone blocks and binds your opioid receptors so you don’t experience the same level of craving. Since you don’t get any kind of euphoria from its use, there’s no chance that you will abuse or become addicted to naltrexone.
Treatment Options You Should Look for Regarding Codeine and Percocet
The potency of codeine and Percocet will lead to slightly different symptoms as you work toward detox and recovery. Still, in general, opioid addiction is a chronic disease with a high relapse rate. Millions of Americans already experience the effects of abuse and addiction from opioid drugs, and many are headed down that path every day.
While addiction to codeine and Percocet is not an easy experience, you can recover. With the help of health and medical professionals, you can detox, recover and return to your normal life. The first step, though is to realize that you need help, that you can’t do it alone, and to reach out for help with your substance abuse problem.
As a highly recommended part of this process, you should speak with your doctor about treatment options and facilities that will best meet your needs as you recover from codeine and Percocet. When it comes down to it, many of your experiences through the recovery process will be similar whether you’re addicted to codeine or Percocet. Aside from individual differences in how you detox, as well as special care, your doctor will need to make sure that you incurred no liver damage from the use and abuse of Percocet.
What Sets Zinnia Healing Apart?
At Zinnia Healing, we are dedicated to working with you to support your recovery needs, with experience and knowledge that informs how we treat your addiction to codeine or Percocet. While these drugs are both opioids and thus require special consideration, assessment, and planning, we focus our attention on you and your needs.
We offer a range of service options, including early intervention, outpatient services, intensive outpatient/partial hospitalization, and residential/inpatient. Each level of care is designed to support your substance abuse recovery, specifically addressing your opioid addiction to codeine or Percocet with options that are well-suited for the support you will need from us, your family, and friends.
We know that each patient will be affected by addiction and substance abuse in slightly different ways, so we work to craft a treatment plan that will best meet your needs for recovery while keeping your long-term sobriety in mind. That’s why our treatment options are custom for you. Call us at Zinnia Healing today to learn more about our comprehensive services. Set up an assessment to find out how we can start you on your path to recovery and sobriety.
Call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439 to schedule your assessment today.