Norco vs Percocet

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For patients suffering from severe pain, certain drugs that alter the perception of discomfort in the central nervous system can help manage symptoms. Norco and Percocet are two such medications frequently prescribed for pain management. Both contain a combination of an opioid (hydrocodone or oxycodone) and acetaminophen, but they affect patients differently due to their unique compositions. Norco contains hydrocodone, which is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from codeine, while Percocet contains oxycodone—a stronger opioid when compared dose-for-dose with hydrocodone. Hence both have potent analgesic effects on patients experiencing acute or chronic pain. However, it's essential to note these opioids can lead to physical dependence and should be used under strict medical supervision.

What is Norco?

Norco and Percocet are both opioid analgesics used for managing severe pain. They each contain a combination of two active ingredients. Norco combines hydrocodone, a strong opioid pain reliever, with acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain and fever reducer. Percocet, on the other hand, uses oxycodone as its primary opioid ingredient combined with acetaminophen. Both drugs were approved by the FDA in 1978 and 1976 respectively.

While they function similarly to inhibit the sensation of pain by acting on the central nervous system's opiate receptors, their major difference lies mainly in their primary opioids: hydrocodone (in Norco) versus oxycodone (in Percocet). Oxycodone is generally considered more potent than hydrocodone; therefore it may offer stronger relief but also has higher potential for addiction or misuse.

Just like Prozac's selective effect on serotonin levels leads to fewer side effects compared to Wellbutrin, Norco tends to have milder side effects than Percocet due to its less potent opioid component.

What conditions is Norco approved to treat?

Norco is approved for the management of severe pain situations where other treatments are not sufficient:

  • Moderate to moderately severe pain
  • Acute, chronic or postoperative pain
  • Pain that requires opioid level relief

On the other hand, Percocet is also used in similar circumstances and has its own specific uses:

  • Moderate to severe acute (short-term) pain
  • Post-surgical or injury-related pain that cannot be controlled by non-opioid medication.

How does Norco help with these illnesses?

Norco helps to manage severe pain by increasing the amount of opioid activity in the brain and spinal cord. It achieves this through its two active ingredients: hydrocodone, an opioid agonist that binds directly to opioid receptors; and acetaminophen, a non-opioid analgesic that inhibits the production of prostaglandins which are responsible for signaling pain and inflammation in the body. By enhancing opioid activity, Norco can limit the perception of pain and help patients manage their condition more comfortably.

On the other hand, Percocet contains oxycodone as its potent narcotic component along with acetaminophen. Oxycodone is also an opiate that acts on central nervous system decreasing sensation of pain but it is generally considered stronger than hydrocodone present in Norco.

Both these medications are prescribed when over-the-counter drugs do not provide enough relief from acute or chronic pain. The choice between them often depends upon individual patient factors like degree and type of pain, potential side effects including addiction risk, other medical conditions they might have etc.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is a brand name for a drug that combines oxycodone, an opioid pain reliever, and acetaminophen, a less potent pain reliever that boosts the effects of oxycodone. Like Norco, which contains hydrocodone (another opioid) and acetaminophen, Percocet works by altering the perception and response to pain in the brain. It was first approved by the FDA in 1976. As it does not inhibit reuptake of serotonin or any other neurotransmitters like SSRIs do, its side-effects profile differs from those drugs. It is known to cause constipation and drowsiness but unlike antidepressants such as Prozac or Wellbutrin; weight gain and sexual dysfunction are not common side-effects associated with its use. The powerful effects on pain management offered by Percocet make it suitable for patients suffering from intense acute or chronic pains where non-opioid medications have proven inadequate.

What conditions is Percocet approved to treat?

Percocet, a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen, is approved by the FDA for managing moderate to severe pain. The specific conditions that Percocet may be prescribed for include:

  • Post-surgical pain relief
  • Severe injury or trauma
  • Pain management in chronic conditions such as cancer

How does Percocet help with these illnesses?

Percocet, like Norco, is a potent opioid pain medication used to manage severe and chronic pain conditions. It acts primarily on the mu-opioid receptors in the brain, blocking the perception of pain effectively. This action not only helps with physical discomfort but can also lift mood and reduce anxiety, similar to endorphins naturally produced by our bodies under stress or during exercise. Percocet contains oxycodone along with acetaminophen which works by elevating your body's overall threshold for pain. Its effects on both these aspects potentially make it more effective for certain types of acute or chronic pain compared to Norco and may be prescribed when patients do not respond sufficiently well to other opioids such as hydrocodone (the active opioid ingredient in Norco) or codeine-based medications.

How effective are both Norco and Percocet?

Both Norco and Percocet are potent prescription pain relievers, each consisting of a combination of acetaminophen with an opioid - hydrocodone in the case of Norco, oxycodone for Percocet. Approved by the FDA within a few years of each other, these two medications are commonly prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain.

Clinical research demonstrates that both drugs are similarly effective at managing postoperative pain. A 2002 study found that patients receiving either drug experienced comparable levels of relief from abdominal surgery-related discomfort. Likewise, safety profiles for both medications were similar; however, side effects like constipation tended to be reported slightly more frequently among patients taking Percocet.

A review conducted in 2010 concluded that treatment involving opioids such as those present in Norco and Percocet can effectively mitigate acute pain when administered at appropriate doses. The report also noted that acetaminophen enhances the analgesic effect without significantly increasing adverse reactions or addiction potential.

As per a meta-analysis published in 2016, while opioids including those used in Norco and Percocet have been proven effective against acute and chronic pain conditions alike, their use should be carefully monitored due to risk factors such as tolerance development or dependency. Despite these risks, some patient populations may find one more beneficial than the other based on individual responses; therefore decisions should always involve careful discussions between doctors and patients considering medication effectiveness versus associated risks.

abstract image of a researcher studying a bottle of drug.

At what dose is Norco typically prescribed?

Typical dosages of Norco range from 5-10 mg/325 mg of hydrocodone/acetaminophen every 4 to 6 hours as needed for pain, but clinical studies have shown that a starting dosage of 5mg/325mg is adequate for most patients with moderate to severe pain. Children over the age of six and adolescents may start on lower doses based on their body weight. If there's no response after several days, the dosage can be incrementally increased under medical supervision. However, due to concerns about liver damage from acetaminophen, it's critical not to exceed a maximum total dose of acetaminophen more than 4000 mg per day in any circumstance.

At what dose is Percocet typically prescribed?

Percocet treatment typically begins at a dosage of 2.5/325 mg to 10/325 mg every four to six hours as needed for pain. The dose can then be adjusted according to the severity of your pain and your response to the medication. However, it is important not exceed a maximum dosage of 60 mg/day due to its oxycodone component. The acetaminophen content should also not surpass 4000 mg/day or liver damage could occur. It's crucial that if there is no significant response or relief from pain after several applications, you should consult with your healthcare provider rather than increasing the dosage on your own.

What are the most common side effects for Norco?

Some of the more common side effects that may occur while taking Norco and Percocet include:

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Short-term feelings of wellbeing or euphoria
  • Constipation
  • Itching, rash
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
    -Anxiety, nervousness -Difficulty sleeping (insomnia) -General weakness and fatigue (asthenia)
    -Decreased libido (sex drive), impotence in some cases
    -Some may experience abnormal dreams

It's important to note that these are potent opioid medications with potential for addiction and misuse. Always consult your healthcare provider about any concerns you have while taking these medications.

abstract image of a patient experiencing side effect

Are there any potential serious side effects for Norco?

While Norco and Percocet are both powerful pain relievers, they can cause severe side effects in some individuals. These include:

  • Signs of opioid addiction such as obsessive thoughts about the drug, inability to control use despite negative consequences, withdrawal symptoms when not taking the drug
  • Allergic reactions including hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat
  • Severe skin reaction that could lead to a life-threatening condition known as Stevens-Johnson Syndrome: fever, sore throat, burning eyes, skin pain followed by a red or purple skin rash that spreads (especially on the face and upper body) causing blistering and peeling.
  • Respiratory distress symptoms like slow breathing with long pauses between breaths which might be life-threatening
  • Liver problems - nausea/vomiting continuing for more than 24 hours; loss of appetite; stomach/abdominal pain on the right side under ribs; unusual tiredness/sleepiness; dark urine coloration
  • Serotonin syndrome - agitation/restlessness/confusion/hallucination/twitching muscles/fast heartbeat/high temperature/severe diarrhea/nausea/vomiting

If you experience any such symptoms while using either Norco or Percocet especially difficulty in breathing/swallowing/unusual drowsiness/dizziness/fainting/inability to wake up/convulsions seek immediate medical attention.

What are the most common side effects for Percocet?

Those taking Percocet may experience a range of side effects, some of which include:

  • Dry mouth or throat
  • Stomach discomfort including nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite
  • Constipation is a common issue with opioid medications such as this one
  • Sleep problems like insomnia can occur due to its impact on the nervous system
  • It might cause feelings of anxiety or nervousness, sometimes leading to tremors or sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Some users have reported blurred vision and ringing in their ears
  • Confusion or agitation could also be experienced, along with skin issues like rashes. Weight fluctuations are possible but less commonly seen. If you have any kidney issues, increased urination should be monitored carefully. Furthermore, Percocet could result in dizziness and headaches too. Lastly but importantly muscle pain or joint discomfort are potential side effects owing to how it interacts with our body's pain perception.

Are there any potential serious side effects for Percocet?

Percocet, although highly effective in managing severe pain, can sometimes cause serious side effects. These may include:

  • Signs of an allergic reaction such as difficulty breathing or swallowing; swelling in your face, lips, tongue or throat; hives; and itching.
  • Mood swings or changes in behavior
  • Severe confusion
  • Vision problems including blurred vision and seeing halos around lights
  • Convulsions (seizures)
  • Extreme drowsiness leading to fainting
  • Slow heart rate or weak pulse
  • Signs of a potential overdose: slow breathing (respiratory depression), long pauses between breaths, blue-colored lips.

If you experience any of the above symptoms while on Percocet therapy, consult your healthcare provider immediately.

Contraindications for Norco and Percocet?

Both Norco and Percocet, along with most other opioid medications, could possibly worsen symptoms in some individuals. If you notice your pain increasing or an increase in adverse side effects such as drowsiness, confusion, breathing problems or severe constipation, please seek immediate medical attention.

Neither Norco nor Percocet should be taken if you are taking MAO inhibitors (MAOIs) or have been taking them within the last 14 days. Always inform your physician about any medication that you are currently on; MAOIs will require a period of about two weeks to clear from the system to prevent dangerous interactions with both Norco and Percocet. It's crucial to understand that mixing these medications can lead to serious health issues including serotonin syndrome which is potentially fatal.

How much do Norco and Percocet cost?

For the brand name versions of these drugs:

  • The price of 100 tablets of Norco (10/325 mg) averages around $570, which works out to approximately $17-$34 per day, depending on your dose.
  • The price for 120 tablets of Percocet (5/325 mg) averages about $380, working out to roughly $13/day.

Thus, if you are in the higher dosage range for Norco (i.e., two or more tablets a day), then brand-name Percocet is less expensive on a per-day treatment basis. However, cost should not be a primary consideration in determining which pain medication is right for you.

For the generic versions of these medications—hydrocodone-acetaminophen and oxycodone-acetaminophen—the costs are significantly lower:

  • Hydrocodone-acetaminophen (10/325 mg) is available in packs from 30 up to hundreds with approximate costs ranging from as low as $0.15 to about $.50 per tablet.
  • Oxycodone-Acetaminophen can be bought in packs starting from 30 up to several hundred with prices typically falling between around $.20 and $.40 per tablet.

Popularity of Norco and Percocet

Norco and Percocet are two potent prescription pain medications that combine an opioid (hydrocodone for Norco, oxycodone for Percocet) with acetaminophen. Both drugs are utilized to manage moderate to severe pain.

In 2020, about 3.4 million prescriptions were issued for Norco in the US, making it a commonly prescribed medication within its category. Over recent years, however, the prevalence of Norco prescriptions has experienced a decline due to increased awareness regarding opioid misuse and addiction.

On the other hand, Percocet was prescribed approximately 2.8 million times in the same year across America. Like Norco, there's been a trend of decreasing use over recent years because of concerns related to opioid dependence and overdose risk. The prescribing patterns between these two medications largely depend on individual patient factors including tolerability and physician preference.


Both Norco (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) and Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) are opioid analgesics used for the relief of moderate to severe pain. They have a long-standing record of usage in patients needing pain management, with numerous clinical studies backing their efficacy over placebo treatments. While both drugs can be used concurrently, this should only be under careful consideration by a physician due to the increased risk of additive side effects.

Norco and Percocet work similarly as they both act on mu-opioid receptors; however, oxycodone in Percocet is considered slightly more potent than hydrocodone in Norco. Both medications may require an adjustment period since optimal pain control is not usually achieved immediately after starting therapy.

Both drugs are available in generic form which offers significant cost savings especially for patients who must pay out-of-pocket. The side effect profile is fairly similar between the two drugs including constipation, nausea, drowsiness and potential addiction or dependence issues. However, compared to Norco, use of Percocet has been associated with a higher likelihood of experiencing certain adverse effects such as euphoria or dysphoria.

Patients taking either drug should closely monitor their symptoms and seek medical help immediately if any signs of opioid overdose appear - these include extreme tiredness or sedation, breathing difficulty or slowed heart rate.