How Long Does It Take To Detox From Fentanyl?

Drugs & Alcohol
Published: 03/4/2024 | Author:

Wooden blocks spelling out 'DETOX'

Fentanyl stands out as one of the most potent synthetic opioids available today. It’s a prescription drug designed to manage severe pain, particularly after surgery or for cancer patients. But, how long does it take to detox from Fentanyl?

The substance’s potency, estimated to be about 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine, has also made it a drug of concern in the realm of addiction and illicit use. Fentanyl acts quickly, offering immediate relief from pain, but this also contributes to its high risk of dependence and overdose.

In the context of addiction, fentanyl’s strength means that tolerance can develop rapidly, leading individuals to consume higher doses to achieve the same effects, which significantly heightens the risk of overdose.

Illicitly manufactured fentanyl, often mixed with other drugs or misrepresented as other opioids, further exacerbates this risk, making it a central figure in the opioid epidemic.

How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Last?

The process of withdrawal from fentanyl can vary significantly from person to person, influenced by several factors including how long and how much of the drug was used, personal health, and whether other substances were used in conjunction.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Like all drugs in this classification, withdrawal symptoms normally appear from 8 hours to 36 hours after the last dose. With extended-release oxycodone and other long-acting opioids, by contrast, withdrawal symptoms present from 24 hours to 48 hours after the last use.

Early Symptoms: Withdrawal symptoms can surface within hours after the last dose, reflecting fentanyl’s rapid exit from the body.

Peak Symptoms: The most challenging withdrawal symptoms usually arise within the first 36 to 72 hours after the last dose.

Tapering Symptoms: Post-peak, symptoms gradually lessen over 7-10 days. Physical symptoms largely subside within a week, though psychological effects may linger longer.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Those who are addicted to fentanyl and stop using it can have severe withdrawal symptoms that begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken. These symptoms include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goosebumps
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Severe cravings

How To Manage Fentanyl Detox

For those who have taken fentanyl for more than a two week period, they should consider speaking with their doctor. Their doctor should be able to help a patient plan for withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be severe and medical supervision can help minimize them during detox. Medications can also help someone who is detoxing.

The Role of Medication in Recovery

While medications can significantly aid in managing withdrawal symptoms and cravings, they are most effective when used as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes counseling, behavioral therapy, and support groups. This holistic approach addresses not only the physical aspects of addiction but also the psychological and social factors, providing a solid foundation for long-term recovery.

Medications to Assist Fentanyl Detox

Several medications have proven effective in assisting individuals through the detoxification phase, addressing various symptoms, and reducing the risk of relapse. Commonly used medications in fentanyl detox are the following:

Methadone: A long-acting opioid that can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms by affecting the same brain targets as fentanyl, without producing the same high. Methadone treatment is closely regulated and must be administered under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Buprenorphine: Often used in combination with naloxone (Suboxone), buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that can alleviate withdrawal symptoms without the euphoric effects associated with opioids. Its use helps to reduce cravings and can make the detox process more manageable.

Clonidine: A non-opioid medication that can help alleviate some withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, agitation, muscle aches, sweating, and runny nose. Clonidine works by blocking certain brain signals, reducing the severity of these symptoms.

Naltrexone: After the detox process, naltrexone may be used to maintain sobriety. It blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of opioids, helping to prevent relapse. It’s available in oral form or as a monthly injection (Vivitrol).

Supportive Medications: To address specific symptoms, additional medications may be prescribed, such as anti-nausea drugs (e.g., ondansetron), antidepressants for mood stabilization, and sleep aids to combat insomnia.

Navigating the detoxification process and the varying timeline of withdrawal symptoms underscores the importance of professional medical supervision. Withdrawal from fentanyl can be particularly challenging due to the drug’s potency and the severity of withdrawal symptoms.

Medical professionals can provide medications to ease symptoms, monitor for complications, and offer emotional support, making the detox process safer and more manageable.

If you or someone you love is experiencing a substance use disorder, help is available. Call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) today to learn about your treatment options.

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