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  • Oxycodone Withdrawal | Timeline, Symptoms, Detox, & Treatment Options

    young women with hear head in her hands

    Oxycodone is a potentially habit-forming opioid that can result in physical dependence. Its most well-known prescriptions are Oxycontin and Percocet, but it has many other forms. 

    If a person dependent on oxycodone attempts to stop taking it, they will likely experience withdrawal symptoms.

    Oxycodone is a potent drug, and physical dependence can start developing within a few days of the first dose. If oxycodone use continues, dependence and eventual withdrawal symptoms may get more severe over time.

    Generally, acute withdrawal symptoms will fade about one week after the last dose. Oxycodone cravings and general anxiety, however, can persist for months or even years.

    Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline

    Symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal can start within a few days, even under proper drug use guidelines. Withdrawal symptoms tend to worsen the longer a person was on oxycodone.

    Opioid withdrawal primarily affects the central nervous system, including the brain. Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms start with drug cravings, and progress into stomach cramping, runny nose, and other physical symptoms.

    Severe withdrawal symptoms can come after prolonged oxycodone use, and may include:

    • hypertension (high blood pressure)
    • goosebumps on the skin
    • increased heart rate
    • excessive sweating
    • nausea and vomiting
    • anorexia

    Oxycodone withdrawal is not life-threatening on its own. However, its potential to cause long-lasting cravings can be damaging over a long period of time. 

    Drug cravings, anxiety, and sleep problems caused by oxycodone can last for years after the last dose, severely affecting your mental health.

    Even if you are afraid of withdrawal symptoms, attempting to come off of oxycodone is beneficial in the long run. Otherwise, you or a loved one may be suffering from oxycodone withdrawal for years.

    Withdrawing From Oxycodone At Home

    It is possible to quit oxycodone at home. You can save both money and time by quitting this way. However, at-home rehab from drug addiction has its own risks.

    Quitting drugs at home usually has a higher chance of relapse. You will be closer to triggers that can cause you to start taking drugs again. If you do not have a stable support group at home, including your family and friends, there will be less incentives and motivators to quit.

    How Long Does Oxycodone Withdrawal Last “Cold Turkey?”

    “Cold turkey” refers to attempting to quit a drug or substance all at once, instead of over time. If you attempt to quit oxycodone cold turkey, you will probably experience acute withdrawal symptoms for about a week after your last dose.

    Even after enduring a week of withdrawal symptoms, you may not be completely clean of the drug. Drug cravings, sleep problems, and general anxiety can persist for years. It’s easy at any point to relapse back into oxycodone use by giving in to your cravings or anxiety.

    Other methods can help you quit oxycodone without suffering through the worst withdrawal symptoms.

    Oxycodone Withdrawal Treatment Options

    Generally, quitting oxycodone in a controlled environment will increase your odds of success. Treatment centers offer inpatient and outpatient programs that surround you with tools and resources that minimize the chances of relapse. 

    Ultimately, some addiction cases cannot be properly managed without constant professional care.

    Detoxification Programs

    Although detox programs don’t treat addiction or physical dependence, they can help monitor the severity of opioid or opiate withdrawal symptoms. 

    At a detox program, you’ll have access to medical staff who can supervise you and provide medication to alleviate the most uncomfortable symptoms. After detox, you may be referred to a medication-assisted treatment program.

    Medication-Assisted Treatment

    One way to avoid the worst of the oxycodone withdrawal process is through substitution. Suboxone is one prescription drug that can be substituted to treat an existing opioid addiction. 

    Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, and attempts to reduce the effects of opioid medications. These substances bind to the same opioid receptors as oxycodone, which prevents reactions from the brain that would otherwise cause withdrawal.

    Clonidine and methadone are other substances prescribed for opioid addiction treatment. The medication that will help you the most may depend on several health factors.

    Tapering Off Oxycodone

    Gradually decreasing your opioid doses over time is a safer, more comfortable way to stop opioid use. This is known as tapering off. Tapering off oxycodone is less risky than quitting cold turkey.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a monthly decrease of 10 percent in opioid doses for people struggling with long-term opioid use. For shorter-term opioid addiction, a weekly 10 percent reduction of oxycodone doses may work.

    Along with other treatments such as mental health support and drug rehab programs, tapering off oxycodone can be accomplished with minimal withdrawal symptoms.

    Contact us today to learn more about opioid withdrawal and possible treatment programs.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Pocket Guide: Tapering Opioids for Chronic Pain
    Merck Manual Professional Version - Opioid Toxicity and Withdrawal - Special Subjects - Merck Manuals
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Commonly Used Drugs Charts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
    National Institute on Drug Abuse - Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on April 13, 2022
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