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Tylenol vs. Percocet: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Harlon Moss || Updated on October 27, 2023
Tylenol (acetaminophen) is a pain reliever and fever reducer, while Percocet combines acetaminophen with the opioid oxycodone for stronger pain relief.

Key Differences

Tylenol, also known as acetaminophen, is a common over-the-counter medication used for pain relief and fever reduction. It is considered safe when used as directed and is often recommended for mild to moderate pain or fever.
Percocet, on the other hand, is a prescription medication that combines oxycodone, an opioid pain reliever, with acetaminophen. It is used for more severe pain and has a higher risk of dependency and side effects due to the opioid component.
Tylenol works by reducing the production of prostaglandins, substances in the body that cause pain and inflammation. It is generally considered safe for a wide range of people, including children and pregnant women, when taken at recommended doses.
Percocet, due to its opioid component, works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, altering the perception of pain. It is typically prescribed for short-term use due to the risk of addiction and other serious side effects.
In summary, while Tylenol is a mild pain reliever suitable for various minor pains and fevers, Percocet is a stronger painkiller used for more intense pain, but with added risks due to its opioid content.

Comparison Chart

Main Ingredient

Oxycodone and Acetaminophen


Over-the-counter for mild pain/fever
Prescription for severe pain

Pain Relief

Mild to moderate
Stronger, for severe pain

Risk of Dependency

Higher due to opioid

Common Side Effects

Rare at recommended doses
Nausea, constipation, addiction risk

Tylenol and Percocet Definitions


Acetaminophen-based medication.
Tylenol is often used to reduce fever.


Has potential for addiction.
Doctors monitor Percocet use due to addiction risks.


Fever reducer.
The doctor recommended Tylenol for the child's fever.


Used for severe pain relief.
Percocet was necessary for his intense back pain.


Over-the-counter pain reliever.
She took Tylenol for her headache.


Prescription pain medication.
Percocet was prescribed for post-surgery pain.


Non-opioid painkiller.
Tylenol is safe for mild pain management.


Opioid-containing analgesic.
Percocet's effectiveness comes from its opioid component.


Common household analgesic.
Tylenol is a staple in many medicine cabinets.


Combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen.
Percocet combines two pain relievers for stronger effect.


A tablet containing this drug


An analgesic for mild pain; also used as an antipyretic; (Datril and Tylenol and Panadol and Phenaphen and Tempra and Anacin III are trademarks of brands of acetaminophen tablets)


Is Percocet stronger than Tylenol?

Yes, Percocet is stronger and used for more severe pain.

Is Tylenol safe for children?

Yes, when used in appropriate doses.

What is Tylenol?

Tylenol is an over-the-counter pain reliever containing acetaminophen.

Is Percocet available over-the-counter?

No, it requires a prescription.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is a prescription painkiller containing oxycodone and acetaminophen.

Can Percocet interact with other medications?

Yes, particularly other CNS depressants.

Can Tylenol be taken with other medications?

Generally, yes, but always check for interactions.

Can Percocet affect mental alertness?

Yes, it may cause drowsiness.

Should Percocet be taken with food?

It can be, to reduce stomach upset.

Is Tylenol effective for headaches?

Yes, it's commonly used for headaches.

Can Tylenol cause liver damage?

High doses or prolonged use can.

Are there risks to taking Percocet?

Yes, including addiction and other side effects.

Can Tylenol be taken during pregnancy?

Generally yes, but consult a doctor.

Can Tylenol treat severe pain?

Tylenol is generally used for mild to moderate pain.

Can Percocet lead to addiction?

Yes, due to its opioid content.

Can Tylenol reduce fever?

Yes, it's effective for fever reduction.

Is Tylenol an anti-inflammatory?

No, it's primarily an analgesic and antipyretic.

How long can Percocet be used?

Usually prescribed for short-term use.

How often can Tylenol be taken?

As directed, usually every 4-6 hours.

Can Percocet cause side effects?

Yes, like nausea and constipation.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

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