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Difference Between Percocet and Norco

Norco and Percocet are prescription combination-medications in tablet, capsule, and liquid form to help relieve moderate to severe pain. They both contain acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, which is a non-opiate analgesic as well was antipyretic.  These drugs also have similar side effects such as constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, nausea, and addiction especially when used for a long time.

In addition, the the following precautions must first be discussed with the health-care provider before taking Norco or Percocet:

  • Allergies especially to opioids
  • Medical history particularly illnesses in relation to the kidney, liver, nervous system, respiratory system, pancreas, prostate, gall bladder, stomach, and intestines.
  • Personal and family history of substance use and mood disorders
  • Use of other drugs and herbal products
  • Pregnancy
  • Breast-Feeding

The following should not be done before verifying the effects of Norco or Percocet to the patient:

  • Drive
  • Operate heavy machinery
  • Drink alcohol
  • Take other medications or products that may contain alcohol


What is Percocet?

Percocet is a North American trade name which was first approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1976. This drug is currently being manufactured by Vintage Pharmaceuticals and it is a prescribed combination-medication which consists of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Oxycodone is an opiate analgesic which specifically works by altering the brain’s perception. This opioid/non-opioid pain reliever may be taken with or without food.

The following are the different classifications of Percocet pills according to their colors, shape, dose, and imprint:

Color Shape  Dose (ratio of Oxycodone to Acetaminophen) Imprint 
Blue Round 5/325 mg Percocet 5
Pink Oval 2.5/325 mg 2.5, Percocet
Peach Oval 7.5/325 mg 7.5/325, Percocet
Yellow Oblong 10/325 mg 10/325, Percocet

The following street names are associated with the abuse/misuse of Percocet:

  • Percs
  • Paulas
  • Roxi
  • Blue Dynamite


What is Norco?

Norco is a brand name for the prescription combination medication which consists of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. This drug is manufactured by Watson Pharmaceuticals and was approved by the FDA in 1997. It is commonly sold in tablet form and may be taken with or without food. However, patients are advised to take it with food to prevent nausea. Hydrocodone is a narcotic analgesic and is also known as dihydrocodeinone. It is a semi-synthetic opioid from codeine which is derived from opium poppies. Like Oxycodone, Hydrocodone also changes the brain’s pain perception. It specifically stimulates the production of dopamine which elevates moods.

Norco pills are shaped oblong and the following are the different classifications according to their colors, dose, and imprint:

Color  Dose (ratio of Hydrocodone to Acetaminophen) Imprint 
White 5/325 mg Watson, 913
Yellow 10/325 mg Norco 539
Light Orange 7.5/325 mg Norco 729

The following street names are associated with the abuse/misuse of Norco:

  • Hydro
  • Vikes
  • Vicodin


Difference between Percocet and Norco

  1. Strength of Percocet and Norco

Generally, Percocet is considered more potent than Norco when it comes to pain relief since Oxycodone, which is found in Percocet, is stronger than Hydrocodone which is found in Norco.

  1. Price

Norco is usually more expensive as its lowest price is around $195 while that of Percocet is around $133.

  1. Drug Combination in Percocet and Norco

Both have acetaminophen but Percocet has Oxycodone while Norco has Hydrocodone.

  1. Rate of Misuse

As compared to Norco, Percocet has a higher rate of misuse since it has a more potent opioid. Another reason may also be its more affordable price despite its higher potency.

  1. Breathing

As compared to Percocet, Norco is more frequently associated with breathing problems as a side-effect as Hydrocodone (a component of Norco) in large amounts can slow down or even stop breathing.

  1. Pill Color

For easier classification, Percocet pills have 4 different colors (blue, pink, peach, and yellow) while Norco has three (white, yellow, and light orange).

  1. Pill Shape

Norco pills are shaped oblong while Percocet pills may be round, oval, or oblong.

  1. Frequency of Prescription

In the United States, Norco is the most prescribed pain killer; hence, it is more popular than Percocet.

  1. Ratio with Acetaminophen

Unlike Norco, Percocet has a dosage with a ratio of 2.5 to 325 mg.

  1. Year of FDA Approval

Norco is a newer drug as it was approved by the FDA in 1997 while Percocet was approved in 1976.

  1. Manufacturing Company of Percocet and Norco

Norco is being manufactured by Watson Pharmaceuticals while Percocet is being manufactured by Vintage Pharms.

  1. Common Street Names

The common street names for Percocet are Percs, Paulas, Roxi, and Blue Dynamite while those of Norco are Hydro, Vikes, and Vicodin.

Percocet vs Norco

Summary of Percocet vs. Norco

  • Percocet and Norco are combination medications which are prescribed to help relieve pain.
  • Both drugs contain acetaminophen, have liquid and tablet forms, and may be taken with or without food.
  • They also have similar side-effects, precautions, and interactions.
  • Percocet contains oxycodone while Norco contains Hydrocodone
  • Percocet is considered more potent and is more affordable
  • As compared to Norco, Percocet has a higher rate of misuse
  • Norco is more frequently associated with breathing problems as a side-effect than Percocet.
  • Percocet tablets come in 4 different colors while Norco come in 3.
  • Norco tablets are oblong while Percocet tablets can be oblong, oval, or round.
  • Percocet is less frequently prescribed than Norco in the US.
  • Unlike Norco, Percocet has a tablet with a 2.5/325 mg dose.
  • The FDA approved Percocet in 1976 while Norco was later approved in 1997.
  • Vintage Pharms manufactures Percocet while Watson Pharmaceuticals manufactures Norco.

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References :

[0]Anderson, James Lee. Percocet Tablet: Treats Moderate to Moderately Severe Pain. USA: Create Space Independent Publishing, 2015. Print. 

[1]Kenakin, Terry. A Pharmacology Primer: Techniques for More Effective and Strategic Drug Discovery. San Diego: Academic Press, 2014. Print. 

[2]Ng, Rick. Drugs: From Discovery to Approval. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2015. Print. 

[3]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/deanslife/1269480139

[4]Image credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/deanslife/1359287762

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