Percocet Vs. Norco | Differences & Similarities

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on August 23, 2023

Percocet and Norco share many similarities including drug class, side effects, drug interactions, and how they work—they differ in terms of ingredients and dosage.

Percocet and Norco are semi-synthetic prescription opioid painkillers used to treat pain. 

Although the two drugs have a lot of similarities, they are distinct and different. 

While both drugs are helpful and approved for pain relief, they’re both habit-forming and can lead to dependence and addiction.

Differences Between Percocet & Norco

While there are not a lot of differences between Percocet and Norco, they are two separate drugs. One can work for one person and not work for another. 


The major difference between Percocet and Norco is what they contain. While they’re both combination drugs, they contain different ingredients. 

Percocet is the brand name for oxycodone/acetaminophen while Norco is the brand name for the combination of hydrocodone/acetaminophen. 

Other names for Norco include Lortab and Vicodin and other names for Percocet include Endocet and Narvox.


Percocet and Norco also differ in the typical dosage usually prescribed. For Norco, it’s recommended to take a dose every four to six hours as needed. For Percocet, it’s recommended you take a dose every six hours as needed.

Similarities Between Percocet & Norco

Norco and Percocet are very similar drugs. Because they are part of the same opioid drug class and both used for pain management, they also happen to share many other aspects including side effects, classification, and drug interactions.

Side Effects

The most common side effects of Percocet and Norco are very similar and can include:

  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • nausea/vomiting
  • lethargy
  • stomach pain
  • dry mouth
  • impaired motor skills
  • constipation
  • lightheadedness

Drug Class

Percocet and Norco are part of the same drug class. They are both opioid analgesics or narcotic analgesics. This means they both contain opioids and work to relieve moderate to severe pain.

Drug Schedule

Percocet and Norco are part of the same drug schedule too. The FDA and DEA classify both pain medications as Schedule II controlled substances. This means they have a high potential for abuse and can lead to physical dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and addiction.

Other drugs in this schedule include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone.

How They Work

Norco and Percocet also work in similar ways. They both bind to the opioid receptors in the central nervous system and disrupt pain signals from the brain to the rest of the body. This is how they treat acute and chronic pain.

Drug Interactions

There are also several drugs that Norco and Percocet don’t mix well with. When they are mixed, the combination can lead to serious adverse reactions. Some of the drugs that should not be mixed with either prescription medication include:

  • inhibitors of CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 
  • over-the-counter supplements
  • benzodiazepines
  • other CNS depressants
  • other opioid medications
  • selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
  • tricyclic antidepressants
  • monoamine oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • diuretics 
  • muscle relaxants
  • alcohol 

Percocet also doesn’t mix well with beta-blockers and oral contraceptives.


Percocet and Norco have similar contraindications or health issues that the pain relievers can actually make worse. If you have any of the following medical conditions, Percocet and/or Norco is likely not right for you:

  • respiratory depression
  • acute or severe bronchial asthma
  • paralytic ileus

Percocet should also not be taken if you have a hypersensitivity to oxycodone and Norco should not be taken if you have a hypersensitivity to hydrocodone


These two opioid prescription drugs also have the same half-life. A half-life is the amount of time it takes for half a dose of the drug to leave your system. For Percocet and Norco, their half-life is about 4 hours.

Signs Of Overdose

When someone overdoses on Norco or Percocet, the signs and symptoms of an overdose are very similar. Some of the overdose symptoms they share may include:

  • bluish lips or skin
  • cold, clammy skin
  • extreme sleepiness
  • general feelings of discomfort 
  • loss of consciousness
  • low blood pressure
  • irregular heartbeat
  • slow breathing
  • sedation
  • lightheadedness

If you or a loved one experience any of these signs and symptoms, call 911 immediately. An opioid overdose can easily be life-threatening if left untreated.

In Ohio, there were over 400 unintentional opioid overdose deaths in 2020 alone.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opiate/opioid abuse and looking for addiction treatment in Ohio, Ohio Recovery Center is here for you. Contact us today for information on our inpatient treatment options.

  1. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Hydrocodone Combination Products
  2. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Oxycodone
  3. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — Norco
  4. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — Percocet,040341s013,040434s003lbl.pdf

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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