Withdrawal from Oxycodone

Oxycodone is one of the most commonly used prescription painkillers that belongs to a family of drugs known as opioids. It is used to relieve moderate to severe pain over a short period of time. Opioids like oxycodone are highly addictive, and are derived from the opium plant, but can be man-made. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, over 11.5 million Americans misused prescription opioids in the last year.

Over time, opioids change the chemical balance of the brain and can result in drug tolerance. This means that over time they need a larger and more frequent dose to achieve the same effects. Prolonged use of opioids leads to dependence, which means a person will experience painful withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit abruptly.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

When a person is dependent on oxycodone and stops or reduces their intake of the medication it can result in painful withdrawal symptoms. Finding out what oxycodone pills look like at this stage is helpful to prevent relapse. In the early stages of withdrawal, oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include feeling sick, anxiety, increased tearing, insomnia, sweating, runny nose, heat pounding, yawning, agitation, feeling cold, twitching, and muscle aches. As time goes on a person can experience diarrhea, dilated pupils, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and goosebumps. Eventually though, the opioid will be out of your system.

How long does it take to withdraw from oxycodone? Depending on whether or not a person is using the immediate-release formula or extended-release formula, withdrawal from oxycodone typically begins 8 to 24 hours after the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms reach their peak between 36 to 72 hours, and typically the symptoms lessen within 5 days. The duration of oxycodone is typically 4 to 10 days. Recovery from addiction is not a quick fix. People may even experience fatigue, feeling unwell, insomnia, and irritability for 6 to 8 months after abstinence from the drug. Relapse can also happen at any point after a person withdraws from the medication.

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Treating Oxycodone Withdrawal

How to stop taking oxycodone without withdrawal? The best way to treat an oxycodone withdrawal is through a medical detox at a rehabilitation clinic that will implement a slow taper off the medication. A slow taper combined with medications, ensures that a person will not experience withdrawal symptoms within the opioid withdrawal timeline. Medical detox provides support from trained medical professionals who will constantly check vitals and provide medications to lessen and prevent withdrawal symptoms. Medical detoxes also incorporate trained mental health professionals who will provide counseling services to help you get to the bottom of your addiction. This type of detox can be performed at rehab clinics or in a hospital setting. In an inpatient environment, a person will spend 24 hours a day and 7 days a week in the facility. If symptoms are severe, a regular hospital is the best place to go to ensure you are given the best treatment to get through your withdrawal.

Opioid Tapering

How long is the withdrawal from oxycodone? That answer to that question is, it really depends. The best way to detox from opioid-like oxycodone is through a slow taper. A slow taper involves gradually reducing a person’s oxycodone dosage until they are able to no longer take oxycodone, and not experience any withdrawal symptoms. People who have a long history of taking oxycodone require a longer taper period to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

How to wean off oxycodone? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), developed a guide for tapering off opioids. The guide recommended that taper plans are individualized to minimize opioid withdrawal symptoms. Typically, people start by decreasing their dosage by 10 percent per month if a person has been taking the drug for over a year. If a person has been taking oxycodone for only a couple weeks or a month then a decrease of 10 percent per week could work for them. Also, the CDC mentioned that it is important to never abruptly stop using or attempt to reverse the taper during the process. During an opioid taper, a person’s doctor will regularly monitor their vitals, request urine samples, introduce other pain therapies, and prescribe medication to help manage withdrawal symptoms.

Oxycodone Detox

An oxycodone detox typically involves the use of medications to reduce withdrawal pain and behavioral therapy. Medications that are used during medical detox to ease the symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal are methadone, lofexidine, and buprenorphine. These medications are used to block opioid receptors in the brain that opioids. They are very useful for treating opioid dependence because they do not cause a euphoric effect like opioids. These medications restore balance to the brain, allowing it to heal so a person can focus on recovering from their addiction.

Combining behavioral therapy and medications is considered the best way to treat substance abuse. Behavioral therapy is typically used during an oxycodone detox to help change a person’s attitudes and behaviors related to opioid use, develop healthy life skills, and helps them stick with other forms of treatment, such as medication. According to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, behavioral therapy increased treatment retention and increased a person’s willingness to use naltrexone.

Addiction to opioids has a chronic relapsing nature. Long-term care is often needed to prevent relapse. Naltrexone is a medication that is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for use after a person has detoxed from oxycodone. Naltrexone works by reducing cravings in order to prevent relapse from occurring. Additional aftercare can be received from self-help groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Smart Recovery, spiritual and faith-based groups, and outpatient counseling or at inpatient clinics.

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Professional Help

Withdrawing from opioid-like oxycodone can be extremely difficult and even painful. If you or someone you love is suffering from an oxycodone addiction, finding a high-quality rehab can provide a comfortable and relaxing environment to help with the withdrawal process. Finding a rehabilitation clinic can greatly ease the withdrawal pain, provide support to complete treatment, and help you get back to a healthy life.


Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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