Compare codeine vs. Percocet

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Codeine

Percocet
(Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)

Treats mild to moderate pain. Codeine works well for mild to moderate pain, but it may not be an great option for all people.Treats moderate to severe pain. Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) is the strongest prescription combination pain medicine for as needed pain relief, but make sure you don't take too much acetaminophen (Tylenol) to avoid liver problems or death.
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Reviews & ratings
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Reviews for Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)
69%
+36% vs. Codeine
49%
18% vs. Codeine
15%
+52% vs. Codeine
Side effects
codeinePercocet

We haven’t found good data for codeine side effects.

FDA side effect reports for codeine »

The Percocet FDA package insert doesn’t have numbers about how common side effects are.

More about Percocet side effects »
How it works
codeinePercocet
Codeine is an opiate agonist. It blocks pain receptors in the brain.Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) is a combination pain medicine. Oxycodone is an opioid (similar to morphine) that works in the brain to lower pain perception. Acetaminophen is a non-opioid pain reliever and fever reducer.
Type of medication
codeinePercocet
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid
Acetaminophen (APAP)
Prescription only
Available as
codeinePercocet
  • Pill
  • Liquid
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
Used for (click to learn more)
codeinePercocet
Risk factors for serious side effects
codeinePercocet
  • Age 17 years or younger
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 years or older
  • Using other medications that affect serotonin
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Taking longer than 4 weeks
  • History of drug abuse
Detailed Codeine risks & warnings »
  • Current liver disease
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines with acetaminophen
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Higher dose
  • People with not enough thyroid hormones
  • History of lung problems
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Long-term use
  • History of drug abuse
  • Long-term use of opioids in mother
  • Breastfeeding while taking Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)
  • Children age 18 and younger
  • Taking more than prescribed dose
  • Mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact with Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)
    • Age 65 years or older
    • Circulation problems
    Detailed Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) risks & warnings »
    Pregnancy category
    codeinePercocet
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

    Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

    See the FDA package insert
    Alcohol
    • Can cause constipation, breathing problems, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Don't drink alcohol with Codeine.
    • Avoid alcohol.
    • Even 1 dose of an extended-release tablet can be too much for a child so store out of reach from children. In adults, raising the dose too quickly, high doses or mixing with alcohol or drugs that interact causes overdose and death. If you suspect a child has taken Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen), or an adult has taken too much, watch them for decreased activity, extreme tiredness small pupils, and lips and fingers turning blue from low oxygen. Call 911 or go to a hospital immediately. Doctors can give a medicine that reverses the effects of Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen).
    Food
    • Take with food or milk to help prevent upset stomach.
    • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
    Kidneys and liver
    No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
    Sex
    No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
    Sleep
    • Can cause constipation, breathing problems, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Don't drink alcohol with Codeine.
    • It can cause drowsiness or sleepiness.
    • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
    • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
    Weight
    No specific weight-related info.
    • Oxycodone, one of the medications in Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen) passes into breast milk. Women with a history of long-term opioid use increase the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome. Symptoms in the newborn include irritability, vomiting, diarrhea, tremor and lack of weight gain. Opioid withdrawal in infants can be a life-threatening emergency and needs immediate medical care.
    Upsides and benefits
    codeinePercocet
    • Effective option for relieving mild to moderate pain that wasn't controlled by non-opioid medications.
    • Available as a generic in both tablets and oral solution.
    • Can be used for the short-term relief of a dry cough.
    • Combination pain medicine with an opioid component (oxycodone) and non-opioid component (acetaminophen or Tylenol) that takes advantage of different modes of pain relieve in a single pill.
    • Provides quick relief for moderate to severe pain to improve quality of life.
    • Generally considered stronger than Norco or other combination pain medicine for treating pain.
    • Good for as-needed, short-term use, but may be helpful to manage more long-term pain problems if used at the appropriate doses and intervals.
    • Lower rates of misuse compared to pure opioid medicines.
    • Can help you fall asleep easier.
    Downsides and risks
    codeinePercocet
    • Codeine is changed to an active form in the body by a liver enzyme. About 10% of people don't have this enzyme and don't get enough pain relief.
    • There are many drug interactions with Codeine, such as antidepressants. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before starting any new medicine or making any changes.
    • Other pain medications are more potent than Codeine.
    • It's possible to build a tolerance and become dependent on Codeine.
    • Can cause constipation, so you'll need to drink plenty of water or take a stool softener while on it.
    • Dizziness and drowsiness is common, but your body may adjust.
    • Everyone will get constipation - always stay hydrated and take stool softener or stimulant on days you're taking Percocet if you need.
    • All opioid containing medicines have the risk of physical dependence and possibility of withdrawal when used long-term.
    • The non-opioid part of Percocet, acetaminophen (Tylenol), has a high risk of liver failure and death if you take more than the maximum daily dose. Be very careful.
    • Relies on the users to be aware of how much acetaminophen (Tylenol) they are using since it is a very common ingredient in many prescription and non-prescription pain medicines.
    • Avoid alcohol.
    Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
    codeinePercocet
    • Takes about 30 to 60 minutes to start working and can last about 4 to 6 hours.
    • Can cause constipation, breathing problems, nausea, drowsiness, and dizziness. Don't drink alcohol with Codeine.
    • Take with food or milk to help prevent upset stomach.
    • It can cause drowsiness or sleepiness.
    • Codeine is activated in the body by enzymes in the liver. If you're taking other medications or have liver abnormalities, Codeine can be activated too fast and cause increased side effects.
    • This is a combination pain medication. It contains both an opioid medicine, and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
    • Starts working in 30 minutes.
    • Works best if you take it as soon as you start feeling pain.
    • Pain relief lasts 4-6 hours.
    • Can make you dizzy or drowsy.
    • Avoid activities need you to be fully alert until you know how it affects you.
    • Take it with food to lower the chance of an upset stomach.
    • Constipation is common and may not go away while you're taking this medicine. Drinking lots of water and using laxatives can help.
    • Don't take more than instructed to prevent liver damage.
    • Use it for the shortest time possible, and at the lowest dose possible, to lower your chance of becoming addicted.
    • Talk to your doctor if it doesn't work well enough to relieve your pain, or if the side effects are really bad.
    Learn more
    More about codeineSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about PercocetSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert