Oxycontin Withdrawal and Detox

In the UK, the number of powerfully addictive pills for pain relief has more than doubled in the last decade. When OxyContin was introduced two decades ago, Purdue Pharma advertised it as a prescription painkiller that reduces pain for 12 hours – twice as long as traditional painkillers that wore off after six hours.

People with moderate to severe pain didn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night to take drugs and Purdue Pharma reaped over $30billion in profits. Sadly, they masked a dangerous side effect, as the drug didn’t last 12 hours in many patients. When patients complained, the company told doctors to prescribe stronger doses. Such potent doses of an opiate drug increased the possibility of addiction, overdose and even death.

According to addiction experts, taking OxyContin at 12-hour intervals is the perfect recipe for drug dependency and addiction. If the effects of OxyContin don’t last 12 hours in your body, you might suffer an acute return of the pain, as well as withdrawal symptoms. This is a dangerous combination by any standard and a big motivating factor to increase your dose without your doctor’s knowledge.

People who abuse oxycontin do it for the euphoric feeling and release the drug offers. Others have become so addicted to prescription painkillers that they can’t imagine a life without them. OxyContin is often referred to as ‘heroin’s cousin’, because it targets the same opioid receptors in the brain. Prescription pills like Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Dilaudid, Heroin and OxyContin flood the brain with dopamine to induce a powerful ‘high’ that encourages you to keep using.

When you attempt to stop using, you suffer withdrawal symptoms, because your body and brain has adjusted to performing basic functions with the help of OxyContin.

What Is Oxycontin Withdrawal?

Opioid drugs are very addictive and ASAM stated that most people who suffer from heroin addiction also suffer from opioid addiction and vice versa. Opioid drugs interrupt the organic production of norepinephrine, blocks pain sensations, reduces body temperature, induces drowsiness and slows your blood pressure, heart rate and respiratory functions.

When you’re exposed to high doses of oxycodone, your body begins to build a tolerance. You’ll then increase regular doses without consulting your doctor to feel the pain-numbing effect which leads to drug dependence. Most people who are drug dependent become addicts after using prescription painkillers for a long time. Once your body adapts and you become addicted, it will be almost impossible for you to stop using drugs without help from a rehab clinic.

Causes of OxyContin Withdrawal

OxyContin is so powerful that you could become addicted within a few weeks of using the drug. The cravings during withdrawal are the major reason why many addicts never seek help or complete addiction treatment. The active ingredient in Oxycodone is synthetic morphine, which is also found in Percocet and Percodan.

When your body adjusts to the presence of opioids, it changes the way it performs daily tasks and cognitive function. As the levels of dopamine drop, you increase your dose as well as the risk of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms manifest, because the body and brain aren’t receiving chemicals they’ve grown accustomed to. Depending on the length of use, regularity of use and other addiction risk factors, reactions to withdrawal are different across individuals.

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The Phases of OxyContin Withdrawal

Hillbilly Heroin (as OxyContin is often called) is a narcotic opiate doctors prescribe for patients dealing with severe, unrelenting pain that requires 24-hour relief. While patients with chronic pain call it a ‘miracle drug’, dependence can make it difficult to stop using, even after the injury has healed or the pain subsided.

Symptoms of OxyContin are similar to other opioid painkillers, but more severe depending on how you abused the drug and the dosage taken. The phases of OxyContin withdrawal are the early and late symptoms. Early symptoms start within 12 hours after your last oxycodone dose, while late symptoms manifest after 24 hours.

Risks of Withdrawal

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) describe two types of withdrawal; acute and protracted withdrawal. The risk of acute withdrawal manifests in physical health issues such as muscle aches, fever, diarrhoea, insomnia, muscle pain and extreme fatigue. Protracted withdrawal leads to mental health problems such as anxiety, hallucinations and depression.

You take a big risk with your physical health when you go through withdrawal without professional help. In some cases, quitting ‘cold turkey’ is deadly, especially when you experience severe withdrawal symptoms. For long-term users, people with dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders and other mental health issues, withdrawal symptoms can affect you in a different way to many other individuals.

The severity of the withdrawal symptoms might push you to use drugs as a means of treating your existing condition, which only worsens the situation. A rehab or detox centre provides all the resources to detect existing mental health disorders and manage your withdrawal in a safe environment. Withdrawal from OxyContin is not pleasant, but it subsides eventually. Rehab facilities also provide a network of support through other recovering addicts and healthy mechanisms that minimise the pain of withdrawal and encourage a drug-free life.

Oxycontin Withdrawal Symptoms: What to Expect

When you decide to get help for OxyContin addiction, your major fear is the severity of the withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience. In fact, it’s the fear of withdrawal that alienates addicts from rehab and detoxification centres. The severity of withdrawal varies amongst drug users. If you’re not a long-term user or you sought help after you built a tolerance to OxyContin, withdrawal takes about five days and the pain is manageable.

For long-term users and people with physical or mental health disorders, addiction damages your mental health and increases the severity of withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) will be used to help manage painful withdrawal symptoms.

During the withdrawal process, your brain and body gets rid of OxyContin chemicals and re-learns to perform basic functions such as sleeping, eating, moving, feeling and thinking without drugs influencing your actions. You have to go through withdrawal if you want to overcome your addiction.

Timeline of OxyContin Withdrawal

OxyContin comes in extended release format to slow down the ‘rush’ of the drug and tamper the ‘high’effect in your system. When taken orally, the medication effects start wearing off within 12 to 24 hours after the last dose.

When you take the drug in any form that isn’t oral (such as crushing it to snort or dissolving it in water to inject the drug), withdrawal symptoms manifest within four to eight hours after the last dose. Late symptoms show 24 hours after early symptoms have dissipated and the first full day is usually the hardest for most individuals.

Acute phase: Acute phase of OxyContin withdrawal starts 24 hours after your last drug usage and lasts two to three days. This is where you experience physical withdrawal symptoms such as fever, gastrointestinal cramps, muscle aches, general malaise and a runny nose.

Protracted phase: Most individuals only experience the acute phase of withdrawal. However, for long-term users, the situation is different because the brain has functioned with opioids for a long time. Psychological symptoms feel intense and you’ll notice you’re anxious, restless, unable to sleep, experiencing panic attacks and depression.

Extinction phase: Two weeks after your last dose of OxyContin, you’ll enter the extinction phase. During this period, physical symptoms clear up, as well as most of the psychological symptoms. Long-term users might still experience cravings, depression and anxiety, even months after they have stopped abusing drugs, as the brain continually seeks homeostasis. However, as time passes, the symptoms abate.

Factors Influencing Withdrawal and Detox

There is no scientific method to predict the severity of withdrawal or how you might respond to detox. Some people respond well to detox with minimal discomfort during withdrawal and others go through severe pain during the same period. However, some factors lead to more severe withdrawal symptoms. They include:

Age: older people go through a more severe withdrawal than young people with substance use disorder. Older people have probably been using for a long time, which entails a longer detox period because of the large buildup of oxycontin in the body. They are also more susceptible to sickness and abusing other substances to increase the potency of the ‘high’.

Period of use: when you start using drugs at an early age, the chemicals that disrupt natural brain function have had ample time to seize full control from you. The longer the period of drug use, the harder it is for you to stop. Sudden cessation triggers major changes in opioid receptors that increase the severity of withdrawal.

Presence of mental health issues: A dual diagnosis of opiate misuse and mental health disorder creates an unpredictable withdrawal. Many people with mental health disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression and anxiety abuse OxyContin and mix them with other substances – such as heroin and alcohol – to increase the ‘high’ effect and self-medicate. Drugs only increase psychotic behavior if you have mental health problems. This makes it difficult for your medical team to distinguish between withdrawal effects and mental health symptoms.

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OxyContin Detox Process

When OxyContin was released in 1995, it was lauded as a breakthrough drug in the treatment of moderate to severe pain. The narcotic analgesic binds to opioid receptors in the central nervous system to change your body’s perception of pain. It also triggers dopamine neurotransmitters – the part of the brain associated with feelings of pleasure.

During OxyContin detox, professional treatment is based on tapering off gradually, instead of sudden cessation or ‘cold turkey’. The patient is also given Methadone or Clonidine to manage painful withdrawal, and in some cases undergo therapy to treat psychological withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from opioids is very dangerous, soit is often advised that youenroll at a medical detox facility, where a team of experienced medical professionals will help to make the withdrawal as comfortable as possible.

How to Safely Detox from OxyContin

When you’re addicted to drugs, there is a chemical change that happens in your brain. After a while, your brain is accustomed to the presence of Oxycodone, which it considers to be the new normal. When you quit Oxycodone, the brain reacts in a volatile manner because it is not receiving a regular supply of OxyContin anymore. The reaction manifests in physical and mental withdrawal symptoms, which are extremely unpleasant.

The safest way to detox is to enter a medical detox centre. During the detox process, your body expells all harmful chemicals that fuel addiction, and period is determined by the length of drug use and amount of oxycontin in your bloodstream. According to the NDIA, the goal of detox isn’t just to stop abuse of drugs but to prepare you for the hard work involved in counselling and therapy.

Addiction specialists suggest that the safest way to detox is in a medical facility such as a rehab centre, detox centre, hospital or clinic. These places provide access to medical doctors, nurses and healthcare professionals who ensure you stay safe throughout the detox process.

Is Home Detox Safe?

There are over 12 million people in the US alone battling opioid addiction from prescription painkillers such as Hydrocodone, Oxycodone and Hydromorphone. Most people develop substance dependency after using narcotic painkillers for a long time. When you stop using opiates, you’ll experience painful withdrawal symptoms.

If you’re thinking about going through the withdrawal process without medical intervention, it is important that you know what to expect. It can be extremely difficult, although that is not to say it won’t be successful. Don’t pressure yourself by attempting to quit cold turkey, especially if you’re a long-term user. Taper off gradually by reducing the amount you consume and the regularity of usage in order to reduce painful withdrawal symptoms.

There are some over-the-counter drugs you can purchase such as Loperamide, Dimenhydrinate and Meclizine. However, do not use them longer than the recommended dosage, as you are at risk of substituting one addiction for another. Generally, home detox is not advised. Everyone reacts differently to withdrawal and the only way to stay safe or avoid ending up in the emergency ward is to detox at a medically-supervised facility.

Addiction treatment should be personalised to fit your addiction needs. Drug detox kits are generalised for everyone. It doesn’t consider the presence of dual diagnosis, co-occurring disorders, polydrug use problems or other unique issues you might be experiencing. Psychotherapy – an integral part of the addiction treatment – isn’t included with home detox. If you truly desire to maintain sobriety from drugs, enroll as an inpatient or outpatient at an opioid rehab centre.

Medically Supervised OxyContin Withdrawal Detox

Medically supervised opioid withdrawal is the administration of medication to reduce discomfort and pain from oxycontin withdrawal symptoms. Medication used in the treatment of withdrawal symptoms include buprenorphine and Methadone – both opioid agonists.

The primary aim of medically supervised detox is to help you transition safely and successfully to medication-assisted therapy. Detox doesn’t guarantee freedom from addiction, it only rids your body of toxins, and should be followed by a treatment plan in order to address the underlining issues that led to your drug use.

The most effective treatment for OxyContin withdrawal is to prescribe long-acting oral opioids to relieve withdrawal symptoms and taper off drug use until the body and mind has readjusted (to the absence of opioids).

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Medications Used During OxyContin Detox

Adrenergic agonists like Tizanidine or clonidine are used to treat anxiety and signs of autonomic hyperactivity. Insomnia is treated with sedative drugs like Benzodiazepines. Loperamide is used to treated nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. You’ll also need sports drinks to stay hydrated. Naproxen (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agent) is used to mitigate pain, although it’s not as effective as Buprenorphine or Methadone.

Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms happen because of rapidly low drug levels after long-term exposure to opioids. Other opioids that do not produce addictive effects or euphoric ‘highs’ can be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms and wean you off Oxycodone. Such drugs include:

Methadone: This is one of the most efficient detox medications available, and has a half-life of 15 to 40 hours. Your condition is first stabilisedwith a dose that reduces withdrawal without the sedative effect of opioids. The dose gradually reduces as withdrawal symptoms dissipate. Methadone lessens drug cravings, alleviates withdrawal and doesn’t produce the euphoria associated with drug usage. It is highly restricted and should only be administered by a medical professional.

Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that can be prescribed on its own or with Suboxone.  According to the NDIA, there’s a low chance of becoming addicted to this drug. Buprenorphine reduces cravings, withdrawal symptoms and serves as a plateau to prevent relapse and drug overdose.

Naltrexone: Naltrexone latches onto opioid receptors to numb the effect of opiate drugs that make you feel high. It also mitigates against relapse, because the rewarding effects of euphoria, pleasure and bliss aren’t there anymore. One injection can last for a month and you won’t experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using naltrexone. However, you’ll have to complete the detox process before using naltrexone or it would send you into acute withdrawal.

Withdrawing from Oxycontin Treatment Methods and Options

Opiate withdrawal can be life-threatening in some situations. Symptoms of diarrhoea, vomiting and dehydration can lead to low blood pressure. If you’re abusing oxycontin, it’s essential to detox in a medical environment where 24/7 care is provided. This mitigates against harmful side effects from withdrawal symptoms.

For people experiencing severe or acute withdrawal pain, the National Institute on Drug abuse lists several medications that help reduce discomfort from withdrawal symptoms. They include methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Medically assisted detox can be carried out at an outpatient or inpatient treatment centre. Some inpatient detox centres provide rapid detox treatment to eliminate the most severe symptoms while you’re under general anaesthetic. At an outpatient detox facility, you’ll attend detox daily to receive treatment under the supervision of your medical doctor. However, inpatient treatment remains the most-effective for long-term recovery.

Drug treatment for withdrawal

Detoxing from oxycontin is an intense process for every addict looking to recover and live a full and healthy life. Within 6-12 hours after your last dose, you’ll experience early withdrawal symptoms like sweating, agitation, dilated pupils, muscle pain and insomnia. These symptoms – while not life threatening – are very uncomfortable and painful. It necessitates the provision of medical and psychiatric care when you’re detoxing from opioids.

The medical team will provide medication to treat each symptom as it happens. For example, if you took drugs to escape a violent, traumatic event that happened in your past, you might try to hurt yourself during withdrawal. A medical doctor will treat physical injury before prescribing addiction treatment.

Most people started using opioids for pain relief, post-surgery pain or cancer patients. When you stop using oxycontin, the pain returns, in addition to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms you were already experiencing. Your medical team will be aware of your medical history and provide drugs that treat symptoms of pain without the risk of addiction.

The medication you’ll be given during opioid detox alleviate unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and help to manage drug dependence. Currently, methadone and buprenorphine are the only drugs approved by the FDA for OxyContin detox.

Guided Oxycontin therapy

People battling OxyContin addiction usually have mental health problems that require psychological intervention. Detox alone isn’t enough to treat drug dependence or prevent relapse. The most important part of any addiction recovery programme is therapy for substance use disorders. A few therapies for OxyContin addiction include:

CBT: During therapy sessions, you’ll work with your therapist to uncover the reasons for your addiction and understand how your negative thought patterns and behaviour fueled drug usage. After identifying the problem, your therapist develops a plan to help you address critical issues and learn positive behaviours, thoughts and actions that promote sober living. CBT is also useful for treating depression, personality disorders, dual diagnosis, anxiety and other mental health problems.

Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): Guided meditations have proven useful to reduce stress and promote emotional and physical health. MBSR is a therapeutic model that uses mindfulness to tune your feelings, thoughts and behaviour to the present moment. You become aware of all unconscious thought beneath the surface that encourages drug use and learn how to change your thought process.

Motivational interviewing: There’s always pressure on you to recover immediately when you enter rehab. This unnecessary pressure leads to resistance, tension and stress that prevents you from making any real progress. Motivational interviewing is more relaxed than other therapy models. The therapist guides, but all decisions on the best approach to follow lie with you. By making your own decisions, you’ll feel in control of your addiction journey and learn more about your addiction.

Group therapy: Group therapy is an integral part of addiction treatment. If you enrol at a detox facility, the group sessions are led by certified addiction specialists and psychologists who use evidence-based techniques to help you. You’re more likely to open up and talk about your addiction journey when you’re surrounded by other people experiencing the same problems. It’s a non-judgmental environment where you’ll learn to rebuild communication skills, gain a network of sober friends and learn from the experiences of others.

Live a Sober Life Again

Opioid narcotics like Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Codeine, Morphine and Oxycontin are pain relieving medications. While they function as advertised, there’s a high risk of becoming dependent on painkillers – even after the pain has subsided. People who develop drug dependence on opioids will notice symptoms of withdrawal when they try to quit.

It is mostly the fear of withdrawal that prevents people from seeking help for OxyContin addiction. However, when you consider the benefits of sober living, it motivates you to get help for your addiction.

When you become sober, you’ll notice that your relationships with others improve greatly, your memory is fully-restored, you look healthy, your finances improve and you have more energy.

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Preventing relapse

The first six months after rehab are the hardest for any addict. It’s important that you enrol at a long-term rehab centre to improve your chances of abstinence. Relapse happens when you use drugs after getting sober, but it’s possible to prevent a relapse.

When you re-enter society, it is imperative that you remove yourself from any environment that led to your drug use. If your friends encouraged you to use drugs, delete their contact details and make new, sober friends. Avoid old hangout spots where drugs are shared or bars and nightclubs where it was easy to buy drugs.

Attending meetings regularly and connecting with peers in recovery who have the same sobriety goals, is a great way to stay busy and focused. Create a relapse prevention plan to guide your actions and consider a sober living home if you want to transition slowly.


How Long Do OxyContin Withdrawals Last?

Duration of OxyContin withdrawal depends on several factors, such as the length of use, amount consumed, age, dual diagnosis and other socio-environmental factors that influence drug usage. For mild to moderate OxyContin users, withdrawal lasts between 7-10 days. For long-term users, it takes up to two weeks or longer, depending on the severity of substance addiction.

Are there Remedies to Deal with It Naturally?

There is insufficient evidence on the effectiveness of home remedies. However, many recovering addicts testify that alternative medicine like Chinese herbal medication, massage therapy, steam rooms and acupuncture have effectively reduced withdrawal symptoms. Examples of Chinese medications include U’finer, ginseng and Tai-Kang-Ning.

What Causes Insomnia During Post-Acute Withdrawal?

When you abuse drugs, the production of dopamine in the brain reduces, because OxyContin provides excess dopamine – more than any amount the brain would naturally generate. During withdrawal, the brain is learning to create dopamine on its own, without the help of drugs. Insomnia is a result of psychological symptoms of addiction such as tension, depression and anxiety.

What Recovery Programme is Right for Me?

There are hundreds of rehab programmes in the UK and it’s sometimes overwhelming finding the right match. Look for a recovery programme that provides medical detox, has a range of therapy options and aftercare support. Ensure the programmes are suited for you and ask about the credentials and expertise of their medical staff. You’re going trust them with your life,so ensure they’re up to the job.

When does it get better?

You don’t have to be afraid of withdrawal and detox. Withdrawal will be uncomfortable, but after the physical symptoms reduce, you’ll start to feel better. On some days, the cravings will hit you hard, but with each day that passes, it’s easier to avoid triggers and cope with temptations and cravings.

Are There any Home Remedies for Getting Clean Safely?

While it’s not safe to detox at home, you can buy a drug detox kit to complete the process. Some require you to take specific supplements for months and others will ask you to make a radical lifestyle change.

Can You Die from OxyContin Withdrawal?

If you detox at a medical centre, it’s highly unlikely you’ll die from Oxycontin withdrawal. The only time you’re at risk of death is when you attempt to quit ‘cold turkey’ without any professional guidance.

Can Medications Help?

Yes. Medications like methadone and buprenorphine have proven effective in reducing discomfort you experience during withdrawal.

What is OxyContin Withdrawal?

OxyContin withdrawal is the process of eliminating all traces of it from your body. You’ll experience withdrawal symptoms like headaches, body pain, runny nose, fever, body tremor and nausea, as your body slowly learns to function without drugs.

Is Oxycontin Withdrawal Dangerous?

When conducted within a medically-supervised environment, oxycontin withdrawal isn’t dangerous. Your medical team is always on hand to monitor you for severe symptoms and provide medication to manage the process. However, if you’re a long-term user and decide to detox at home without slowly tapering off, the sudden change might be dangerous for your physical and mental health.

Can I Find Help?

You don’t have to go through withdrawal on your own. Addiction Helper offers a 24/7 addiction helpline dedicated to help you recover from drug addiction. When you contact our helpline, one of our experienced addiction counsellors will listen to you and proffer advice on the best way to get clean without putting your life at risk.

If you want to avoid the unpleasantness of a seven to ten day detox, we can also suggest rapid detox centres that complete the process under eight hours. Whatever your detox needs, we’ll find a match from our network of medically-supervised detox centres throughout the UK.

Do I Really Need to Detox from Oxycontin?

Nearly every drug addict thinks they can quit on their own, or that they have it under control, until they’re too far gone. Don’t wait until oxycontin addiction destroys your mental health, relationships and life in general. Detoxing from OxyContin is a mandatory step you must follow on the route to full recovery from addiction.

Are there ways to prevent or reduce withdrawal symptoms?

Rapid detox programmes cut the detox process from five to seven days to just eight hours. You’ll be under anesthetic the entire time, as doctors intravenously remove all traces of oxycontin from your bloodstream.

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