Compare fentanyl vs. Percocet

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

Duragesic
(Fentanyl)

Percocet
(Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)

Treats severe pain. Duragesic (Fentanyl) is an excellent pain reliever, but should only be used by people who've tried other opioid pain medications and still need more relief.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
Button Group. All currently active
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5.849056603773585fentanyl
Reviews for Duragesic (Fentanyl)
79%
of people say Duragesic (Fentanyl) is worth it
75%
say it works well
13%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Percocet (Oxycodone / Acetaminophen)
69%
10% vs. Duragesic (Fentanyl)
49%
26% vs. Duragesic (Fentanyl)
15%
2% vs. Duragesic (Fentanyl)
Side effects
fentanylPercocet
  • Feeling cold 4%
  • Feeling unwell 3%
  • Heart pounding or racing sensation 3%
  • Muscle spasms 2%
More fentanyl side effects »

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

More about Percocet side effects »
How it works
fentanylPercocet
Duragesic (Fentanyl) is an opioid (narcotic) medicine that works in the brain to lower pain perception.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
fentanylPercocet
Pain reliever
Opioid
Prescription only
Pain reliever
Opioid
Acetaminophen (APAP)
Prescription only
Available as
fentanylPercocet
  • Patch
  • Patch extended release
  • Dissolving tablet
  • Mouth spray
  • Lozenge
  • Buccal tablet
  • Nasal spray
  • Pill
  • Oral solution
Used for (click to learn more)
fentanylPercocet
Risk factors for serious side effects
fentanylPercocet
  • Current use of medicine that affects liver enzyme CYP 3A4
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Higher dose
  • People with not enough thyroid hormones
  • History of lung problems
  • Children age 18 and younger
  • Long-term use during pregnancy
  • Taking more than the prescribed dose
  • Long-term use
  • History of drug abuse
  • Taking with alcohol
  • Taking other medicines that make you less alert
  • Age 65 or greater
  • Age 65 years or older
Detailed Duragesic (Fentanyl) 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
    fentanylPercocet
    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
    • Never drink alcohol when using Duragesic (Fentanyl).
    • 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
    No specific food-related info.
    • 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
    • Often causes drowsiness and constipation. If using it long-term, use a stool softener.
    • 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
    fentanylPercocet
    • It's used for people who have tried other opioid medications, but still need stronger pain relief.
    • Duragesic (Fentanyl) is stronger than morphine, works quickly, and doesn't cause as many stomach problems.
    • It's available in many dosage forms, including a patch, injection, film, nasal spray, and lollipop.
    • The Duragesic (Fentanyl) patch provides long-term pain relief and lowers the number of times you need to take pain medications each day.
    • 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
    fentanylPercocet
    • Duragesic (Fentanyl) isn't for everyone. It's a really strong pain medication and taking too much can be deadly.
    • It doesn't provide quick pain relief.
    • Often causes drowsiness and constipation. If using it long-term, use a stool softener.
    • Like all opioids, don't use when pregnant, since the baby can become dependent on it and have withdrawal symptoms after birth.
    • Shouldn't be used for people with breathing problems (like asthma and COPD), a slow heart rate, or in the elderly.
    • If using the patch, you won't be able to get the medicine out of your body quickly in case of an overdose.
    • 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
    fentanylPercocet
    • Duragesic (Fentanyl) should only be used for people whose pain is not controlled by other opioid medications for at least one week.
    • For pain, the patch takes 12 hours to start working and all other forms start working in 30 minutes or less.
    • If using the patch, keep it away from heat sources like heating pads, or else it'll cause the medication to be unsafely released into your skin.
    • Never stop taking Duragesic (Fentanyl) suddenly or else you'll have withdrawal effects. To stop taking it, you'll need to lower your dose slowly.
    • Never drink alcohol when using Duragesic (Fentanyl).
    • Just one dose can be harmful or fatal to children, so store and dispose of this medication in a way that children can't get to it.
    • 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 fentanylSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
    More about PercocetSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert