Understanding the Differences Between Vicodin and Percocet

In today’s jet speed world, there is almost always medication to provide relief to whatever issues you may be facing. Nevertheless, understanding the nuances related to medications is a must, as using the wrong medicines, or even the wrong dosage, may end up causing more harm than good.

For people who suffer from moderate to severe pain, two of the most commonly prescribed medicines are Vicodin and Percocet. While it may seem that they play the same role, both have their distinct roles, distinct properties, uses, and side effects.

This article will address these, and at the end, you should be able to better understand their differences.

Understanding Vicodin: Uses and Effects

Vicodin combines 2 active components in all 1 tablet: hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Component hydrocodone is known as an opioid analgesic, the characteristic of which is mainly pain relief. On the other hand, acetaminophen is less potent on its own, but when used together, it enhances the mild effects of hydrocodone. Thus, these two combine to effectively form addictive medication for the treatment of moderate to moderately severe painful conditions.

It is to be noted that there are some rare conditions under which users may have side effects like drowsiness or constipation. Severe side effects may include drug dependency and damage to the liver.

Exploring Percocet: Applications and Side Effects 

Like Vicodin, Percocet is another combination drug that contains both an opioid component and acetaminophen. In the case of Percocet, the actual opioid component found is oxycodone. The pain-relieving effects from oxycodone are somewhat different compared to the effects of hydrocodone. It is frankly more potent. But, there is a catch.

Just like with Vicodin, this medication may be prescribed for patients with moderate to severe pain. However, it is usually only prescribed when other treatments have not effectively worked. It is also mostly prescribed for short term use. This is because the main side effects of this medicine are virtually the same as Vicodin; however, it is such an addictive drug and can totally damage a person’s liver. Hence, it should be strictly taken only on a doctor’s advice.

Vicoden vs percocet: Key Differences

In the vicoden vs percocet debate, one of the most basic differences is their respective chemical class of opioid. Oxycodone is more powerful compared to hydrocodone and may be used more efficiently in severe cases of pain. This makes Percocet more effective, but it has a much higher potential for addiction and side effects, which the doctor has to always remind his patients of. 

Acetaminophen is contained in both vicoden and percocet and when taken in excessive quantities or over time, proves to be hepatotoxic. Patients should therefore be warned away from taking additional acetaminophen-containing medicines while on either drug to avoid a potential overdose. 


The decision between vicoden vs percocet should be made by an overall consideration of the patient’s level of need for pain management, medical history, and a recurrence of what they may be suffering from. While both are effective and share a few similarities, both Vicodin and Percocet remain different from one another. Always contact your healthcare provider in order for him or her to prescribe the right drug in your case. And always remember, responsible drug use is key, no matter what.

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