Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) vs. Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) review

What are Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) and Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen), and how do they block pain?

  • Oxycodone is a strong narcotic pain-reliever and cough suppressant similar to morphine, codeine, and hydrocodone. The precise mechanism of action of oxycodone is not known but may involve stimulation of opioid (narcotic) receptors in the brain. Oxycodone does not eliminate the sensation of pain but decreases discomfort by increasing tolerance to pain. In addition to tolerance to pain, oxycodone also causes sedation and respiratory depression. Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic pain-reliever and antipyretic (fever reducer). Acetaminophen relieves pain by elevating the threshold to sensing pain. It reduces fever through its action on the heat-regulating center of the brain. The combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen achieves greater pain relief than either taken separately. The FDA approved oxycodone/acetaminophen combinations in February 1980.
  • Hydrocodone is a narcotic pain-reliever and a cough suppressant, similar to codeine. Hydrocodone blocks the receptors on nerve cells in the brain that give rise to the sensation of pain. Acetaminophen is a non-narcotic analgesic (pain reliever) and antipyretic (fever reducer). Acetaminophen works by elevating the threshold to pain, that is, in order for pain to be felt, greater stimulation of the nerves responsible for the sensation of pain is necessary. It reduces fever through its action on the temperature-regulating center of the brain. Frequently, hydrocodone and acetaminophen are combined to achieve pain relief, as in Vicodin and Lortab. The FDA approved Lortab in January 1983.

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What are the uses for Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) vs. Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?

Percocet uses

  • Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) is prescribed for the relief of moderate to moderately-severe pain.

Lortab uses

What are the side effects of Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) vs. Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?

Percocet side effects

The most frequent adverse reactions of Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) include:

Other important side effects of Percocet include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Spasm of the ureter, which can lead to difficulty in urinating

Possible serious side effects of Percocet include:

Oxycodone can depress breathing and, therefore, is used with caution in elderly, debilitated patients and in patients with serious lung disease. Oxycodone can impair thinking and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery.

Is Percocet addictive?

  • Oxycodone can be habit-forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur, but are unlikely when used for short-term pain relief.

Lortab side effects

Common side effects of Lortab are:

Other important side effects of Lortab include:

  • drowsiness,
  • constipation, and
  • spasm of the ureter, which can lead to difficulty in urinating.

Hydrocodone can impair thinking and the physical abilities required for driving or operating machinery. Hydrocodone can depress breathing, and should be used with caution in elderly, debilitated patients and in patients with serious lung disease.

Acetaminophen can cause severe liver failure if excessive amounts are used and when combined with chronic alcohol use or other drugs that also impair liver function.

Is Lortab addictive?

Hydrocodone may be habit forming. Mental and physical dependence can occur but are unlikely when used for short-term pain relief.

What brand names are available for Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) and Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?

  • Brand names available for oxycodone and acetaminophen in the US include:
  • Brand names available for hydrocodone and acetaminophen in the US include:
    • Vicodin
    • Vicodin ES
    • Vicodin HP
    • Lortab
    • Lorcet
    • Lorcet Plus
    • Norco
    • Zydone
    • Hycet
    • Maxidone
    • Stagesic
    • Verdrocet
    • Xodol
    • Zamicet
    • Zolvit
    • Anexsia is a discontinued brand and is no longer available in the US.

How should Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) vs. Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) be taken (dosage)?

Percocet dosage

  • The dose of Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) is variable and depends on the needs of the patient and specific circumstances.
  • The usual dose is one tablet every six hours as needed.
  • The maximum oxycodone/acetaminophen dose is 60 mg/4 g per day.

Lortab dosage

  • The usual dose of Lortab (hydrocodone/ibuprofen) for adults is 1 to 2 tablets or capsules (hydrocodone 2.5 to 10 mg; acetaminophen) 300 to 750 mg) every 4 to 6 hours or 15 mL of liquid every 4 to 6 hours as needed.

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Which drugs interact with Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) vs. Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)?

Percocet drug interactions

Lortab drug interactions

Are Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) and Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) safe to take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding?

Safety of Percocet during pregnancy or while breastfeeding

  • Safety of oxycodone/acetaminophen during pregnancy has not been established. Newborns of mothers who were taking oxycodone for a prolonged period may exhibit respiratory depression or withdrawal symptoms.
  • Small amounts of oxycodone are secreted in breast milk and may cause side effects in the newborn.

Safety of Lortab during pregnancy or while breastfeeding

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Summary

Percocet (oxycodone/acetaminophen) and Lortab (hydrocodone/acetaminophen) are combined prescription medications used to treat moderate to severe pain. Both Percocet and Lortab contain acetaminophen, and the most serious side effect of acetaminophen is liver damage due to taking large doses of acetaminophen, chronic use, or when combined with alcohol. Both Percocet and Lortab have an increased risk for addiction because they both contain a powerful narcotic drug. Withdrawal symptoms may occur if these drugs are discontinued abruptly.

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References


Drug Enforcement Agency. "Drug Fact Sheet Oxycodone."
<https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/drug_data_sheets/Oxycodone.pdf>

FDA Prescribing Information.

U.S. Department of Justice; Drug Enforcement Administration; Diversion Control Division. "Answers to Frequently Asked Questions Regarding OxyContin®."
<https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/oxycodone/oxycontin_faq.htm>

U.S. National Library of Medicine; DAILYMED."LABEL: PERCOCET - oxycodone hydrochloride and acetaminophen tablet."
<https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=3af57f54-117e-43fc-b0ae-21ef772d854e>

United States Drug Enforcement Administration. "Drug Schedules."
<https://www.dea.gov/druginfo/ds.shtml>