Oxycodone Withdrawal and Detox

Oxycodone withdrawal occurs due to a dependence on the drug and is experienced soon after you stop using it. Withdrawal refers to a set of symptoms that appear during detox, as your body is being purged of addictive substances. This process is usually uncomfortable and you might even find it painful, but it is an essential step quitting oxycodone abuse and addiction. Also, withdrawal can be dangerous, so going through detoxification at a medical facility is generally recommended. There, a doctor and medical team will take the necessary precautions to make you as comfortable as possible, whilst monitoring your signs to ensure a safe detox.

A gradual reduction of oxycodone is often the most comfortable and effective way to detox. By tapering you off your regular dosage, you may experience less severe oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, instead of abruptly halting usage. Some special medications are prescribed by doctors and clinicians during detox to help you cope with certain symptoms of withdrawal. Such medications work by making your brain feel as if it is still getting oxycodone, so that the most severe symptoms can be controlled.

If you’re undergoing detox, you should consider doing so at some type of medical facility. Although oxycodone detox is not usually risky, it can be dangerous in certain circumstances. Medical supervision is beneficial in such cases, and helps you avoid relapse or return to drug use after a period of sobriety. The medical team at Addiction Helper is experienced in guiding patients through detoxification and withdrawal, and can help you get the right detox and treatment to assist your recovery from oxycodone abuse.

What Is Oxycodone Withdrawal?

Oxycodone is a powerful opioid found in OxyContin, Percocet and other common prescription painkillers. After a period of prolonged use, you can develop a tolerance to the drug, and require higher doses to achieve the same desired effects. Once you have become dependent on oxycodone, stopping use will cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. During oxycodone withdrawal, it is possible to relapse because of the severe symptoms, or to simply continue using the substance to maintain your ‘normal’ feeling and prevent withdrawal.

The duration of oxycodone withdrawal is different for each person, with the timeline dependant on the amount, frequency and duration of oxycodone usage. Withdrawal symptoms generally begin to show up six to 24 hours after the last dose and may peak within the first few days. Many of the more painful symptoms of withdrawal may fade by the end of the week. If you’re a less frequent user, your symptoms may appear shorter and lighter, and similar to the usual flu-like symptoms. However, for heavy users, the symptoms are much more similar to those of heroin withdrawal. These intense physical and psychological symptoms can last anywhere from a week to months after you quit.

Common symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal include: runny nose, teary eyes, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, anxiety, depression, sweating, coughing, diarrhoea, accelerated heart rate, muscle aches, shaking and so on. An inpatient or outpatient treatment programme and medical detox can help you safely and successfully undergo oxycodone withdrawal and control the symptoms that occur.

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Causes of Oxycodone Withdrawal

Oxycodone withdrawal occurs when you abruptly stop or decrease your intake of the drug. When it comes to addiction, your brain works like a spring which gets pushed down by drugs. These drugs supress the production of neurotransmitters like noradrenaline in the brain. When you quit consuming the drugs, it’s like removing the weight from the spring, causing a rebound and producing a range of withdrawal symptoms.

Narcotic drugs include a variety of different substances used for treating severe pain and other issues. Oxycodone also falls under this category and its withdrawal symptoms are not generally considered to be fatal or potentially dangerous. However, you may experience some intense physical and emotional discomfort. In addition, you may also be at risk of self-harm, such as suicide attempts or accidents as a result of poor judgement.

Phases of Oxycodone Withdrawal

Withdrawal for most prescription opioids (including oxycodone) follow a similar path, divided into three phases. The first phase is known as acute withdrawal and can start within hours after your last dose of oxycodone, because of the sudden absence of endorphins, combined with the release of a chemical called noradrenaline in excessive amounts. You may experience some of the common oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, including vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhoea, nausea, insomnia and depression during this phase. These symptoms generally reach their peak around the third day and begin to gradually lessen and taper out during the next seven to ten days.

During the second phase, your body begins to detoxify and produce its own naturally occurring endorphins, which have been depleted during oxycodone abuse. This second phase of recovery from oxycodone addiction can last as long as two weeks. As your body adjusts, you may experience symptoms such as dilated pupils, sudden chills, leg cramps, gooseflesh skin, vomiting and abdominal cramping.

The third and final stage may feel like the last days of a serious case of flu, with lingering aches and pains. Even though your body has partially recovered, you may still feel some psychological symptoms in the absence of the ‘high’ produced by the oxycodone. It is quite common to experience mild to moderate depression, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia and a general malaise. This phase is the least severe, but the longest of oxycodone withdrawal, lasting anywhere from one week to two months.

Risks of Withdrawal

There are a number of health risks associated with oxycodone withdrawal, which makes it inadvisable to try to withdraw on your own. You might want to undergo detox on your own, thinking it will help you stay clean, but research shows that is not always the case. You are a lot more likely to relapse if you go through detox on your own than someone who enters a medical or holistic detox and continues with treatment afterwards. The health risks and consequences of withdrawal are serious, as both physical and psychological problems can occur in the process.

There is always a risk of withdrawal whenever you use drugs for a prolonged period of time. Taking drugs for a couple of days can cause a physical dependence to quickly set in for some people, while it might take as long as a few weeks for others. If you’re using opiates, you could be at risk of withdrawal once you stop.

To counteract the risks of withdrawal, an addiction treatment centre will monitor your blood pressure and pulse rate, because in the process of trying to regain equilibrium, your heart is doing a lot of extra work. There is even more stress on your heart because of anxiety, which is one of the main symptoms of withdrawal. Other physical symptoms of withdrawal such as bone and joint aches, body tremors and skin irritation may also be present.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms: What to Expect

There is very little difference between having the flu and the physical effects of oxycodone withdrawal. You may experience goose bumps, chills, body aches, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, tremors, and so on. Excessive yawning, sweating and being teary can also be expected. When you become physically dependent on oxycodone and stop taking it, additional side effects which are more severe may occur, such as high blood pressure, trouble breathing and irregular heart rate. Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms are not commonly fatal, though some dangerous complications may arise, which make medical supervision of the withdrawal process essential.

Substance abuse and addiction results in a chemical change to your brain. In time, your brain becomes used to the presence of oxycodone and considers it a normal substance. Therefore, in the sudden absence of oxycodone, your brain will react and such volatile reactions present themselves in the form of withdrawal symptoms. Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and may be difficult to deal with without medical assistance.

The physical symptoms you can expect in oxycodone withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal cramps, muscle pain and body aches
  • Chills and goose bumps
  • Diarrhoea
  • Restlessness, fatigue, yawning and insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Tearing, runny nose and headaches

The emotional and psychological symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal may include:

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Mental ‘fog’

Timeline of Oxycodone Withdrawal

Oxycodone withdrawal generally begins within eight to twelve hours from your last use, and peaks in the first 72 hours. Your symptoms may subside in about a week, but strong cravings and some psychological effects may persist longer. Detox can begin while the drug is still active in your body, before withdrawal symptoms start. In medical detox, you will be given 24-hour monitoring five to seven days, your vital signs are constantly checked and severe withdrawal symptoms may be controlled with medications. The actual length of withdrawal depends on whether you have a personal or family history of addiction, the amount of oxycodone you consume, how long you’ve been using and whether you’ve become heavily dependent.

Days 1-2: withdrawal may begin a few hours after your last dose. Some of the first withdrawal symptoms to appear include extreme sweating, nausea and muscle and joint aches. There is a high chance of relapse occurring in the first few days.

Days 3-5: the most severe symptoms of withdrawal tend to occur a few days after your last dose. You may still experience muscle soreness, nausea and vomiting. Also, cramps and shaking may start during this time.

Days 6-7: your physical symptoms begin to taper off, giving way to stronger psychological ones. Towards the end of withdrawal, you may experience strong feelings of anxiety and depression in addition to physical symptoms like nausea and diarrhoea.

Day 8 and beyond: after your body has been completely detoxed from oxycodone, you may feel remorse for some of your actions whilst under the influence. You will need close monitoring at this stage to prevent drastic decisions or a relapse.

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Factors Influencing Withdrawal and Detox

You might be ready to take the leap into healing from an oxycodone addiction, but worried about having to face severe withdrawal symptoms. There is no way to predict how severe your symptoms will be, as everybody is different in the way their bodies respond to stimuli. Certain factors influence withdrawal and detox and may determine your experience during the process. They include:

  • Old Age: if you’re older, you may have used oxycodone for a longer period, which means you’ll have a build-up in your system that can make withdrawals last longer.
  • Longer usage history: young or old, the longer you engage in drug abuse, the more your brain and body will adapt. This in turn makes it more difficult for it to adapt when you abruptly cease taking the substance.
  • Co-occurring disorders: your withdrawal symptoms can become highly unpredictable when you have a dual diagnosis of a mental health disorder and an oxycodone addiction.
  • Lack of support: a strong support system is one of the key elements of an efficient recovery programme. This support is usually made up of your family and friends. However, if you lack a basic support system, your experience of oxycodone withdrawal and detox may be more difficult. It’s easier to go through withdrawal when you know someone else who cares about the outcome.
  • Negative outlook: having a negative attitude towards your treatment and detox will affect the way your detox proceeds. If you go into detox thinking you’ll have a terribly difficult time and convinced that you’ll relapse, the chances are you might.

Oxycodone Detox Process

The oxycodone process can last about a week and may include suicidal ideation, sweating, inability to concentrate, runny nose, headaches, anxiety, body aches, irregular heart rate, depression, agitation, headaches, diarrhoea, high blood pressure and irritability. These withdrawal symptoms occur when you stop using the drug and your brain tries to re-regulate itself. Starting within 8-12 hours of taking the drug, your withdrawal symptoms peak around 72 hours. The most effective method of detoxing from oxycodone is by gradually reducing doses.

During your detox process, doctors may prescribe medications that work by making your brain think it is getting oxycodone. Some of the medications provided during your detox process may include Clonidine, Suboxone and Naltrexone, and they are very effective in helping with certain withdrawal symptoms that occur in the detox process. Even though it is classified as an opiate and may result in a transfer of addictions without proper care taken, Methadone can also be used in the oxycodone detox process. It helps in ensuring you experience less severe withdrawal symptoms.

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How to Safely Detox from Oxycodone

Oxycodone detox should always be performed under the supervision of a prescribing doctor. Typically, to detox from oxycodone, you stop taking the substance gradually, by reducing your regular amount and frequency of dosage until you completely quit. You may experience some persistent or intense symptoms of withdrawal, which can be managed with medications such as clonidine. In addition, supplemental medications like antidepressants can be used to manage sleep disturbance and irritability, while antiepileptics may be helpful for neuropathic pain. If you experience more severe symptoms when you stop taking oxycodone, seek help at a detox clinic.

When you no longer need to treat pain using oxycodone hydrochloride tablets, your dosage should be gradually discontinued over a period of time to avoid opioid abstinence syndrome or oxycodone withdrawal. For instance, your doses of oxycodone can be lowered by 25% to 50% per use with close monitoring for withdrawal signs and symptoms. In certain cases, experts have recommended even slower tapering and reducing dosage by 10% per week, so that your body can tolerate the detox with minimal adverse effects. If you begin to develop signs and symptoms of withdrawal, 10% might be too much, and you should raise it to your previous level and reduce more slowly. You can do this by lengthening the interval between decreases, lowering the amount of change in dose (or both).

Home Detox

It is possible to detox at home, because it is a natural process that can be performed by the body. You may choose home detox because you are sceptical about rehabs or for financial reasons. However, home detox poses certain risks including dehydration, the risk of relapse and other potentially fatal withdrawal symptoms.

Detoxing from oxycodone usage is generally not life-threatening and you may be able to quit ‘cold turkey’. Some of the symptoms you can expect include diarrhoea, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, body aches and restless legs syndrome. The most severe withdrawal symptoms may linger for three to five days, but it depends on how much of the substance you’ve ingested. With time, your brain will heal and your opioid receptors may regain proper functioning.

Instead of going cold turkey with your home detox, you may choose to taper off oxycodone. This method depends on how much oxycodone you‘ve been using and the length of time you’ve been using it. You’ll need a friend or family member to help you during your home detox. If you are tapering off, swallowing the medication with water is recommended instead of snorting, chewing or injecting the oxycodone. It should also be taken on a strict schedule, which is why you need a friend to help you maintain it and monitor your dosage of oxycodone each time.

Medically Supervised Oxycodone Withdrawal or Detox

A medically supervised oxycodone withdrawal or detox can improve your health and support your participation in a rehab programme. Gradual tapering of opioids is provided for you on an inpatient basis, in addition to round-the-clock medical monitoring. During withdrawal, methadone and buprenorphine pharmacotherapy offer similar outcomes, but buprenorphine is usually preferred because of its lower chances of sedation and respiratory depression. After your condition has stabilised for three to five days, your dose is then reduced over a period of two or more weeks.

However, medically supervised oxycodone withdrawal by itself cannot offer you long-term recovery. It may even increase the risk of overdose if you’ve lost your tolerance to the drug and resume usage. The most effective approach will include a combination of education, self-help groups and motivational enhancement and counselling sessions in inpatient or outpatient programmes. A comprehensive approach can help you change your perception of oxycodone, realise that change is possible and take steps towards stopping old behaviours associated with drug abuse and replace them with healthier behaviours.

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Medications Used During Oxycodone Detox

During your medically supervised detox, your doctors may prescribe certain mediations to help reduce or completely eliminate oxycodone withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine and Naloxone are regularly prescribed for withdrawal. Buprenorphine is an opioid and can help with reducing your withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It may also contribute to helping you stay committed to your treatment. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, and if you take it diligently, it can block out the pleasurable effects of oxycodone in the event of a relapse. In addition, it can reduce the risk of an overdose if such a situation occurs. Suboxone is also a frequently prescribed medication during detox, because it contains both naloxone and buprenorphine.

Clonidine is a medication for blood pressure, but has been found to lessen the intensity of certain withdrawal symptoms. It can alleviate muscle aches, anxiety, cramping, cold sweats and agitation.

Trazodone is another drug that helps with withdrawal symptoms, especially when you have trouble sleeping.

Gabapentin has been discovered to effectively control withdrawal symptoms when combined with the opiate blocker, naltrexone.

Over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) and other pain relievers have also been recommended by doctors to decrease discomfort.

Detoxification Programmes

Inpatient Detox

If you’re suffering from an oxycodone addiction, you may benefit from a stay at an inpatient facility. At an inpatient oxycodone rehab, you’ll be placed in a safe and isolated environment, where professional counsellors assist you through each step of the treatment process. Inpatient treatment provides a safe environment to detox from oxycodone, and keeps you away from the temptation and triggers that can cause you to relapse.

Outpatient Detox

If you’re unable to complete an inpatient detox programme, outpatient detox offers a number of options that may work for you instead. It includes the nonmedical approach of relieving withdrawal symptoms holistically through the use of meditation therapy, acupuncture, vitamin therapy and yoga. Outpatient detox also includes methadone clinics, and suboxone may be prescribed by your doctor. Methadone and suboxone are both opiate narcotics and can easily be overused and misused, just like oxycodone. Therefore, while substituting one drug for the other, care should be taken, and it should be for a short period of time.

IV Therapy Medical Detox

This is considered the best method of oxycodone detox. Your physician is in charge and supervising therapy. Since intravenous therapy is being used, your doctor can easily adjust your medication safely and effectively, and with fast response. Any withdrawal symptoms which occur will be addressed, so that you will be kept comfortable and be able to complete your detox process.

Treatment for Withdrawal

One of the methods of treating withdrawal is by weaning you slowly off the drug. This means lowering the amount of the drug you take on a daily basis. By doing so, you can minimise the oxycodone symptoms you experience. In almost any case, oxycodone withdrawal can be managed at an inpatient treatment facility, as the symptoms can be successfully managed using medical interventions.

Some prescription medications can be used to help you cope with withdrawal. In other cases, such drugs can also be continued into your rehab and recovery aspects of treatment. Two of these drugs are methadone and buprenorphine, which are man-made opioids that can help to stop your oxycodone cravings. There are also other drugs that can help you successfully break an addiction to oxycodone – Naloxone and Naltrexone. They both work by preventing your system from feeling the effects of oxycodone.

Withdrawing from Oxycodone: Treatment Methods and Options

The road to recovery can be long and difficult, but you can successfully navigate it. The first step is to decide to get sober, followed by a choice of methods you want to use to achieve your goal. An inpatient rehab offering medical detox is usually a highly effective option to get treatment, whether you have a mild or severe oxycodone addiction. After your medical detox, the next step is learning to live free of oxycodone by getting treatment for your psychological addiction to the substance.

During the early stages of your recovery, you need a structured, controlled environment that inpatient rehabs can provide. With residential treatment, you can undergo counselling and therapy, without the triggers that can lead to relapse. You may be required to stay for a 30, 60 or 90 day programme, depending on the severity of your addiction. There are a number of therapeutic treatment methods and options to help you break a mental addiction to oxycodone, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)
  • Individual therapy
  • Family counselling
  • Group therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Drug treatment for withdrawal

One of the major benefits of undergoing oxycodone detox at a professional detox centre or rehab facility is that you have access to doctors who can prescribe and administer pharmaceuticals. Withdrawal symptoms can be painful, uncomfortable, and may result in you relapsing. However, drug treatment for withdrawal can make you more relaxed and ease the discomfort of detox.

From prescription withdrawal medications to over-the-counter medications, there are several different drugs your doctor can administer to help with the symptoms of withdrawal. Some options your doctor may use in detox include:

  • Clonidine, which is effective in reducing muscle aches, anxiety, cramping, agitation, runny nose, and sweating. However, clonidine does not reduce your oxycodone cravings.
  • Suboxone, which is used to treat opiate withdrawal. It combines Buprenorphine and Naloxone to satisfy your brain’s cravings for oxycodone, while preventing more cravings and misuse of the drug. Similar medications that can perform the same function include Zubsoly, Bunavail and Subutex.
  • Naltrexone, which stops the euphoric effects of opioids. The drug is however not effective in treating opioid cravings.

Guided Oxycodone therapy

At an addiction treatment programme, you can receive comprehensive care that incorporates medical intervention, support groups, alternative therapies and the appropriate lifestyle changes to effectively treat oxycodone addiction. You’ll find professional staff members to give you guidance through every step of the withdrawal and detox process, ensuring that once completed, you’ll come out a changed person.

Once you’ve undergone oxycodone withdrawal treatment, rehab and recovery, you will have acquired a strong support system and the skills to live life without oxycodone. Guided oxycodone therapy ensures that at the end of treatment, you can integrate back into society as a clean and sober person.

Live a Sober Life Again

Getting back your life and regaining control over it is the biggest benefit you can get from undergoing detox and treatment for an oxycodone addiction. The mental and physical sickness from a drug addiction can be debilitating, and has the tendency to control your life. After you successfully undergo a withdrawal and detox programme, you can start the journey to living a sober life and put an end to the negative effects of addiction. Furthermore, getting professional treatment is the best way to stop the continuous cycle of craving oxycodone and other addictive drugs.

Relying on your willpower and discipline to quite oxycodone use is a losing proposition, as your rational thought and discipline are weakened by your addiction. The most effective route is to acknowledge that you need help, and commit to getting free and being able to live a sober life again.

Preventing relapse

Even though relapse is most common during the initial stage of withdrawal, you may become tempted to return to drug use at any other time in recovery. Ongoing treatment or aftercare is key to preventing relapse and maintaining a sober lifestyle. Sober living homes offer a safe, trigger-free environment, allowing you to work or attend school, as you work on your recovery. Recovery support groups also exist to provide support for you, such as SMART Recovery or 12-step groups like Narcotics Anonymous, where you’ll be expected to work through the stages, find a sponsor and attend meetings consistently.

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Find a treatment centre

Oxycodone addiction recovery is a challenging task that should not be taken lightly. The process can be made easier with the help of an addiction professional to ensure safety and full recovery. No matter where you live, how long you’ve struggled with oxycodone addiction, there is a treatment centre that can help you find your way back to a drug-free way of life.

If you need any help finding a withdrawal and detox programme for yourself or someone you love, contact a treatment support specialist at Addiction Helper. We can answer your questions about treatment, insurance and payment, and help find a local oxycodone programme that is suitable to your needs.


How Long Do Oxycodone Withdrawals Last?

Oxycodone withdrawals usually starts four to six hours after your last dose of the drug, peaks within 72 hours and may resolve in seven to ten days.

Are there Remedies to Deal with It Naturally?

Recommended remedies include naturally occurring anti-inflammatories such as turmeric, fish oil, passion flower, asparagus root and green tea.

What causes insomnia during post-acute withdrawal?

Some of the most common causes of insomnia are anxiety, stress and depression. These are also symptoms you may experience which cause insomnia during post-acute withdrawal.

What Recovery Programme is Right for Me?

Many inpatient treatment programmes design treatment to the individual needs of their patients, so if you choose one of such programme, your needs at each point in recovery will be attended to.

When does it get better?

After you have completed withdrawal and detox, you also need to enter into rehab to complete your treatment, so that you can begin living a better, drug-free life.

Are There any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

In addition to taking pain medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and Tylenol, staying well hydrated with water and getting plenty of rest will be helpful.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Oxycodone?

Generally, the longer you have taken oxycodone, the more likely you have built-up a tolerance. This means your detox process will take longer than someone who’s taken it for a shorter period of time.

Can You Die From Oxycodone Withdrawal?

Although it’s true that oxycodone withdrawal symptoms are hardly fatal, they can be extremely brutal without proper addiction treatment.

Can Medications Help?

Medications can make it easier for you to avoid relapse, maintain your sobriety, or cope with withdrawal symptoms.

What Is Oxycodone Withdrawal?

It refers to a set of symptoms that appear during detox, while your body is being cleansed of any oxycodone present in the system.

Is Oxycodone Withdrawal Dangerous?

While detoxing from oxycodone, you may experience nausea and vomiting. If you are asleep when vomiting takes place, you could breathe it into your lungs, which is highly dangerous.

Can I Find Help?

Oxycodone withdrawal may be scary and difficult, but you do not have to go through it alone. Contact us at Addiction Helper to speak to a professional rehab support advisor for help.

Do I Really Need to Detox From Oxycodone?

Yes. Detoxification can prevent uncomfortable or deadly consequences as a result of abruptly stopping oxycodone use, and can help you get clean.

Are there ways to prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms can be prevented or reduced with methadone or buprenorphine -medications prescribed during medical detox.

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