What Is Oxycodone Withdrawal?
Oxycodone is a potent opioid found in common prescription painkillers, such as OxyContin and Percocet. Over time, oxycodone users develop a tolerance to the drug and they need higher doses to achieve the same effects.
Once a dependence on oxycodone has developed, quitting the drug will result in painful withdrawal symptoms. Some people relapse during oxycodone withdrawal because the symptoms are too intense. Others continue using oxycodone just to feel “normal” and avoid withdrawal.
An inpatient or outpatient treatment program and medical detox can help oxycodone users reach sobriety safely and successfully. Contact a recovery professional for help finding treatment.
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Symptoms of Withdrawal
Symptoms of withdrawal can arise within hours of the last dose. Less frequent users may experience shorter, lighter symptoms similar to the flu. Long-term, heavy users are more likely to experience symptoms similar to those of heroin withdrawal.
Common symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Muscle aches
- Increased heart rate
Because oxycodone is the active ingredient in these painkillers, the symptoms of Percocet withdrawal and OxyContin withdrawal will be very similar.
Duration of Withdrawal
The duration of withdrawal from oxycodone is different for each user. The timeline often depends on the amount, duration and frequency of oxycodone use.
Symptoms typically appear six to 24 hours after the last dose. Within the first few days, withdrawal will be at its peak. Most of the painful symptoms taper off by the end of the week. For some, intense psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms can last anywhere from a week to even years after quitting.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline
|Days 1-2||Withdrawal can begin a few hours after the last dose. Some of the first symptoms of withdrawal include muscle and joint aches, nausea and extreme sweating. Relapse is most common during this window.|
|Days 3-5||The worst symptoms of withdrawal usually occur a few days after the last dose. Muscle aches are still common, and nausea and vomiting are often present. Shaking and cramps can happen during this time.|
|Days 6-7||As the physical symptoms start to slow, the psychological ones are stronger than ever. The tail end of withdrawal leads to anxiety and depression, among other remaining physical symptoms like nausea and diarrhea.|
|Days 8+||Once the oxycodone has been detoxed from the body, many former users will feel remorse for things they did while high. The psychological impact of overcoming an oxycodone addiction should be carefully monitored to avoid drastic decisions or relapse.|
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Oxycodone withdrawal can be painful and uncomfortable. A gradual reduction of the drug is often the most comfortable and effective way to detox.
Tapering off the user’s dosage typically produces less severe withdrawal symptoms than abruptly quitting the drug.
During detox, many doctors and clinicians prescribe special medications to help with specific withdrawal symptoms. These medications work by making the brain believe it’s still getting oxycodone. This also prevents or reduces the severity of many symptoms. Common medications used during oxycodone detox include:
used to treat physical symptoms, like vomiting.
A combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone provides relief from oxycodone withdrawal symptoms without the “high” of oxycodone. It is often used during detox to alleviate the discomfort of withdrawal and reduce cravings.
A common drug used for detox and maintenance, Naltrexone is essentially the chemical opposite of opiates. The medicine blocks receptors in the brain that bind to oxycodone, dulling the drug’s euphoric effects. Continued use of naltrexone(usually up to a year after detox) can also help restore chemical balance in the brain.
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Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction
Overcoming an addiction to oxycodone is an important, often difficult journey. Memories of oxycodone use can urge a recovering addict to restart use. Relapse is most common during the initial withdrawal period.
Former heavy users are at a high risk of overdose during relapse because tolerance drops after the initial detox period. A user who was able to take a high dose before might try to take that same amount. Because the body has adjusted to not having the drug, too much of it can quickly lead to overdose.
An addiction treatment program can make this process easier and ensure the safety of the recovering addict. Find a treatment center for oxycodone addiction now.
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