Percocet and Percodan are the brand names of two narcotic drugs that contain the opioid drug oxycodone (the main ingredient of OxyContin®). In addition to oxycodone, Percocet® contains acetaminophen, and Percodan® contains oxycodone and aspirin. Both drugs treat moderate to severe pain.
Due to the oxycodone ingredient, both Percocet® and Percodan® are Schedule II drugs. Percocet® is in the FDA’s Pregnancy Category C. Whereas Percodan® is in Pregnancy Category B class of drugs.
As a Pregnancy Category C drug, it is unknown whether taking Percocet® during pregnancy increases a woman’s risk for delivering a baby with birth defects. With no studies on pregnant women and birth defects, only prescribe Percocet® to pregnant women if the benefits of treatment outweigh the potential risk.
Babies born to women who take Percocet ® during their pregnancies have a greater risk of breathing problems and suffering from addiction/withdrawal symptoms. If you are pregnant, or are breast feeding, tell your doctor before treatment with this medication.
The use of Percocet ® for pain after surgery has largely replaced Percodan ®. Because the aspirin in Percodan ® inhibits the blood from clotting, and it can thus create post-operative bleeding. However, because of its use of acetaminophen, Percocet ® is one of several drugs implicated in the hundreds of acetaminophen deaths each year in the U.S. In 2009 the FDA called for stricter regulation of Percocet ® sales to counteract this alarming trend.
As the New York Times noted that year: “Narcotic painkillers are now the most widely prescribed class of drugs in this country. They are also involved in an estimated 15,000 overdose deaths annually, largely involving their abuse.”
In fact, a federal advisory panel voted in 2009 to recommend a ban on Percocet®(and Vicodin®). Because the acetaminophen in these drugs can cause serious liver damage. July 2012, the FDA limits the overuse of painkillers, including Percocet®. In light of the abuse, injuries and deaths linked to these drugs.
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