Summary: You can take ibuprofen with Percocet. However, there are a number of precautions you need to keep in mind before you mix those drugs. If there are issues, you have other options including products that mix oxycodone with ibuprofen and taking oxycodone on it’s own.
Dear Curtis: My doctor gave me Percocet recently for some back pain I’ve been having. What I’d like to know is if I can take Ibuprofen with it as well. It’s actually helped with the pain in the past but I know Percocet is pretty potent so I’m just wondering if it’s safe?
Percocet is a combination of two drugs: oxycodone and acetaminophen.
Oxycodone is actually a narcotic painkiller. And, it’s pretty powerful stuff. Especially if you’ve never had it before.
Acetaminophen, as you are probably aware, is the generic name for Tylenol.
Now, where some of the confusion comes in is with acetaminophen and ibuprofen. For some reason people think those two drugs are the same – but they really aren’t.
Acetaminophen is good for treating pain and fevers. So is ibuprofen, but it also has one added benefit that acetaminophen doesn’t: it helps lower inflammation. Which may explain why you’ve had good results with it in the past.
If you are nervous about the issue or have any problems (see below) then remember that there are oxycodone products that also contain ibuprofen. Also, you can take just plain oxycodone and then add in ibuprofen as needed.
But since you already have the Percocet, let’s keep going with your question.
Precautions About Mixing Ibuprofen and Percocet
In short, since acetaminophen and ibuprofen are technically different, you can take the ibuprofen with your Percocet. However, I’d like to give you a heads up on a few issues first before you do that.
1) Try Percocet Alone First: If you haven’t already, try the Percocet on it’s own first and see how you do with it. Some folks make the mistake of just adding in the ibuprofen right away and what happens is that they get pretty bad upset stomach.The most likely reason for that is the oxycodone component of the Percocet can be really hard on some people’s stomachs (for other people, it doesn’t bother them at all). So can ibuprofen. Adding them together without trying the Percocet first can be a problem. So, see how you do on the Percocet first.
2.) Watch Your Total Daily Intake of Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen: Always remember that whether it’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen there are limits to how much you can take. I’ve written about this with acetaminophen because they’ve had to lower the maximum recommended daily acetaminophen dosage because too many consumers were going over their allotted amount and causing serious side effects like liver damage (see below). If your Percocet contains 325mg of acetaminophen then I wouldn’t go over 3,000 mg of acetaminophen per day.
The old recommendation was 4,000 mg per day but, as I said above, too many people unknowingly take other over-the-counter products that contain acetaminophen and they were going over the daily limit.The same holds true for ibuprofen. It’s daily limit is no more than 3,200 mg a day. So, if you are taking ibuprofen over-the-counter that’s no more than 16 tablets a day. I would try to stay well below that maximum amount while you are taking the Percocet. As I said above, ibuprofen can be very hard on your stomach with continued long-term use. Oxycodone may compound that problem.
Think About Your Organs
Here’s another thing to keep in mind when mixing these medications.
All drugs get into your body and then are broken down and eliminated in one way or another. With that being said, because acetaminophen is broken down in your liver it has a long history of being very hard on your liver.
So, you need to be very careful not only with the amount of acetaminophen you take in a day but also other things that are hard on your liver, like drinking.
Ibuprofen, in addition to being hard on the stomach can also be very hard on your kidneys. Oxycodone is also eliminated through the kidneys.
The point is, when you start adding in more and more drugs you have to realize that you are taxing your organs. And if you have any sort of history of liver or kidney issues you have to tread very lightly with combining acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
That’s why I’d really recommend that you just take the Percocet, see how you do and then make the decision as to whether or not you really need ibuprofen. If you do, you can take them together. But, again, there are risks to doing so.