Cold turkey OxyContin

Should you stop taking OxyContin cold turkey? Not really. OxyContin can cause severe discomfort if abruptly stopped. More here on how to properly stop using OxyContin.

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Going cold turkey OxyContin?

OxyContin is one of the most effective painkillers on the market. It is also easy for the body to become dependent on OxyContin and stopping cold turkey is not recommended or necessary for OxyContin dependent users. In fact, when you learn how to treat OxyContin withdrawal symptoms, the first suggestion is to taper doses to avoid unnecessary discomfort.  So what are the risks involved with quitting OxyContin cold turkey and what are some alternatives? Here, we address cold turkey issues and invite your questions about OxyContin at the end.

Cold turkey off OxyContin

In general, opioids like OxyContin (oxycodone) should not be abruptly stopped. Instead, it’s recommended that medical supervisor gradually taper your OxyContin dose before you enter the phases of early withdrawal. Stopping OxyContin without tapering can increase the severity of the symptoms you experience and may even result in relapse. What are symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal?  Symptoms such as nausea, muscle cramps, vomiting, hot and cold flushes, anxiety and insomnia will be in full effect days or even weeks after you stop OxyContin cold turkey. Why does this happen?

When you withdraw from OxyContin suddenly, it can be overwhelming for the body. This is because after long term OxyContin use ,the body becomes physically dependent on OxyContin and needs it to function properly. But when you go cold turkey off OxyContin, your central nervous system reacts even more severely to the lack of OxyContin. You experience unncessarily intensediscomfort and withdrawal symptoms. In effect, stopping OxyContin abruptly startles the brain and central nervous system, causing it to go haywire.

If you decide to go cold turkey off OxyContin you can expect severe withdrawal symptoms such as muscle aches, sweating, agitation, anxiety, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, and abdominal cramping. You generally experience these withdrawal symptoms within hours or days after your last dose of OxyContin. OxyContin withdrawal symptoms are intense and can frighten you even though they are predictable. And it can take up to 4-10 days for the body to balance out the chemicals before you start feeling normal again.

Cold turkey OxyContin withdrawal

OxyContin physical withdrawal symptoms usually last between 7 and 10 days. However, depression and cravings can last much longer. If not treated professionally, pyschological symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal can result in relapse. Symptoms that may be experienced are fatigue, cravings, depression, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, inability to feel pressure, irritability, sleeping problems, short term memory problems, lack of interest in sexual intercourse and difficulty making decisions.

Quitting OxyContin cold turkey

If you’ve decided to quit OxyContin cold turkey, what clinical traits should be present before doing so? Those who are best suited for quitting OxyContin cold turkey should have the following characteristics:

1. Be in good health

2. No serious health conditions that can be affected by withdrawal

3. Stay away from other drugs or substances that could interfere with OxyContin

4. Strong willpower

Stopping OxyContin cold turkey risks

Still, trying to quit OxyContin addiction abruptly is not recommended. It is not necessary that you provoke an intense and severe opioid detox and risk serious health complications. Risks of stopping OxyContin cold turkey include:

  • extreme fatigue
  • immune system shut down
  • increased heart rate
  • restlessness
  • severe headaches
  • vomiting

Get off OxyContin cold turkey

Medical professionals do not recommend stopping OxyContin cold turkey. Going cold turkey off OxyContin can result in unnecessary pain and in unexpected ways. Doctors recommend that instead of quitting cold turkey, you tapered off doses of OxyContin over the course of a few weeks. Your prescribing doctor will monitor your progress and adjust doses according to the reactions of your body.

Can I quit OxyContin cold turkey?

Depending on how heavy of a user you are, quitting OxyContin cold turkey can be really dangerous. If you have been addicted to OxyContin for months then you should not quit cold turkey but instead seek help from medical professionals. It is not recommended.

Cold Turkey OxyContin Questions

If you still have questions about quitting OxyContin cold turkey, please post your questions in the comments section below. We will try to respond to all comments promptly and provide you with a personal response.

Reference sources: IJDP: The OxyContin Crisis
NCBI: The controversy surrounding OxyContin abuse: issues and solutions
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.


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  1. How about hallucinations paranoia? It’s been 4-5 days cold turkey and he’s hulucinating 24/7 sleeps about 1 hour a day first 3-4 days was all the symptoms you explain But there is no break in the halucinations and paranoia

  2. I’ve been on oxycotin for 4 yrs now. Up until last week. MY Dr. Refused to refill it since I had my last back surgery. I was talked into putting a spinal cord stimulator in my back. He informed me that I shouldn’t be in as much pain now with this thing in my back. The truth is when they done the trial stimulator. I was taking 20 mg extended release twice a day. So I thought it did help some. But I still had pain in my back . And when I do something one day I’m down for two day’s . What Dr. G did to me is inhumane. I’ve been suffering horribly. I’ve been so dehydrated that I can’t keep enough water in me. My heart literally hurts and feels like it’s going to jump out of my chest. Im afraid to go to sleep at night because I don’t know if I’ll see another day. I don’t know what to do. I’ve called Dr. G and complained of my systems. But no response. HOW long do I have to go through this. THIS is my 2nd week. I’ve lost 12lbs last week ALONE.
    Thank you for listening to my suffering. Story. I don’t wish this on my worst enemy. Sincerely Susan

  3. I have been taking OxyContin for around 10 plus years I started with fentora 400 mpg 4 times a day with 40 mg of OxyContin then drop to 200 mpg of fentora but they raised my oxy up to 60 mg 3 times a day now I’m off of the fentora because the insurance didn’t want to pay for it so the put me on 60 mg oxy and percaset 10mg 3 per day the oxy is still 60mg 3 time per day do to think that I should quit cold turkey or should I talk to my doctor I do want to get off from these pain meds

  4. I was on OxyContin 80 mg twice daily and 10/325 Percocet 8 daily for 15 yrs. I quit cold turkey and did it at home and I am 55 years old. It was not pretty, but I made it thanks to my wife

  5. I’ve been takin OxyContin 5mg and just figured out it’s tht that’s making me sic . Long story but I was given a pain patch and had adverse reaction . Couple days later same feelin and I worked out I’m adfictaed . I’ve stopped cold turkey , was really crook yesterday and am unwell today to although bearable . I didn’t no u are meant to taper and whtever j had left is gone in bin . My brain feels like it swells then goes bac down , hoping tht side effects don’t last too long

  6. I have only been on low dose targin for l week. Can I come off cold turkey and will I have some withdrawal symptoms. Was on it for pain relief.

  7. 7 years ago I was Taki g Oxycodone for 18months then I went of them cold turkey, 4 weeks later my legs stared to ache. So I stared taking nurfan plus for them to stop ache and they did … Last year I got real sick and had to go to hospital … For a week in icu … Now I have chrons …. Cause of the nurfan plus …… My Iam Taki g Yargain 20 mls twice a day … My leg don’t ache but if I stop taking nurfan plus or Yargain they ache so bad I have had test do MRI CT scan ultrasound and don’t show any thing wronge …. The DR’s and so of the pharmacy think I’am there just to get the drugs … It’s getti
    G that bad that I can’t go to my loco pharmacy and by any thing with condone in it cause the won’t sell it cause they think I’am there just to get hi of the condone drugs DUT I’am Not ……. I don’t know what to do anymore …..

  8. I tapered down from 40 mg OxyContin bid & Oxycodone 10 tid over 3 weeks down to 10 mg X 5 for 4 days. I asked my pain mgt dr for an anticholenergic but no go. Now it’s the weekend, I am wheelchair dependent, what can I expect.

  9. I have diverticulosis, and severe IBS (pretty crappy answer for we don’t know whats wrong with me.)
    Right now I I have another flare of Diverticulitis, used more oxycodone than I should have. I went to the doc and she said, sorry no more. I didn’t realize some of the things she could have given me to make it easier until I looked online. I tried to quit cold turkey before but ended up in the hospital with chest pain. I talked about coming off of the slowly, but that wasn’t as easy as I’d thought. I was taking 30 to 40 mgs a day for a couple of years.. So here i am detoxing at home by myself! It really sucks.I wish i would’ve gone to the dr for extrq help before now, I am on the end of day 3. shaking diarrhea
    I was barfing so hard it made me soil my pants. There is no way I can drive to dr. Any ideas??? I am so ill!

  10. I stoped pills cold turkey ,xanax and perks .im on month 3 of being clean and im doing alot better.i was taking pills about 8,9 months .buy now when i smoke weed i feel arm tenses up and my left lung feels very uncomfortable.when im sober i barely feel discomfort in my left lung but i still feel something.IS THERE SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH ME???? IM ONLY 20

  11. I have been perscribed oxycontin for 8 years I have never abused them or taken more than perscried , I need to have another surgery on my neck and am afraid that doctors will not be able to control my pain after surgery. I never have liked taking all this pain medication and want to get off of all of it before surgery and quite honestly want to see where my real pain level is. I want to just quit cold turkey and be done for now I feel that it has changed me , my personality and have talked to my doctor about this and he kept telling Mr no it doesn’t do that so you can see why I don’t have much faith in the doctors here. So just want to do it on my own just want to know that it’s safe to do this without being under doctors care . I’m not mentally addicted to this craps but I know that physically I am pls respond Asap as I will start this journey soon thx

  12. I was in a bad car accident with a truck UPS the Dr gave me Oxy 10 mgs it was only for 2 weeks But it was really for 1 month I didn’t understand the time release I would get flu symptoms like every 4 hrs so I didn’t take it as prescribed and he won’t give me anything I’m scared

  13. My husband has been taking oc for 15 yrs. never lost his Meds & this weekend they were lost. He’s out of his mind w/anxiety right now. The dr. That writes his Meds we see tomorrow at 1:00. 2 more wks before his Meds are due for refill. Please advise me.

  14. I have been taking oxycodone for about two years now. Started off as a recreational thing and then a year ago i started every single day. I take about 60 to 90mg a day and im sick of it. Ive tried to stop so many times and i always get desperate and go back. Cant tell u how many times ive flushed them down the toilet. Has anyone ever tried a cleansing system to clean out your system?well today is my last day and tommorow is day one where i take my life back. I don’t wanna live in this fog anymore. I dont even know what it feels like to cry or laugh anymore, im excited to see where ill be at in a week. I will post here for everyone my.journey starting tommorow.

  15. I’m elderly and have avascular neucrosis of shoulder. Also needing knee replacements, and severe arthritis. Severe pain, but I want to end 13 yr addiction to oxy contin. Tapering, cold turkey, and rehab haven’t worked. Desperate to stop. Any suggestions?

  16. I have a herniated disc L-5 S-1, lifted a basket of clothes four weeks ago. Pain and numbness down back of right leg. MRI done, waiting for all paperwork to go through so I can see a neuro surgeon. Dr prescribed Oxycodeine/Acetaminophen 5-325, I can take two but have only been taking one every four hours. I do it wake up in the night to take any, it does help the leg pain. I quit taking any today they make me feel sick, and just not right but I can function without pain. It is now late afternoon pain in leg is returning along with numbness, with headache too, feel nausea. I hate starting them again. What is your advice, I think I am headed for surgery but have no idea when, Ins has to be notified and so on. It just seems this could have been taken care of a long time ago.

  17. The above sounds like you’re promoting detox centers.
    You’re wrong oxycontin does not work for everyone! ONCE YOU START DECREASING YOUR DOSAGE YOUR BODY GOES WHACO SO YOU’RE BETTER OFF STOPPING ALL Oxycodone or Oxycontin. If you listen to your doctor you will be a junkie all your life. They want you to switch to suboxone which has very little history and the side affects unknown or they offer methodone. (really this helps, please! I quit cold turkey prescribed over 400mg of oxycontin & oxycodone for almost 5 year’s.

    Now no drug company owns me!

  18. I am on day 3 cold turkey taking 16 10s of oxycontin aday for 10 years I tryed the slow down but is bull you have tou quit could turkey YES IS HARD AND IT SUCKS BUT YOU WILL NOT DIE AND TRUST ME YOU CAN DO IT SOME DAYS I WOULD BITE 6 OR 7 TENS AT A TIME BUT I TOOK 4 AT A TIME 4 TIMES A DAY YES IM SICK AS HELL BUT YOU CAN DO IT AND IF YOU DO COULD TUKEY IS THE ONLY WAY

    1. Hello William. Well done! Stay strong, and keep up the good work. Usually, experts don’t recommend to go cold turkey, but after all, you know what’s best for you. Good luck, and please keep us updated with your prospect! 🙂

  19. Hi John, how are you feeling, did you quit?

    I have been addicted to oxycontin for like 10 years, I get 60 per month for a guy who needs to supplement his income, he sells me half of his script. Also I supplement it with Oxycondone of Hydrocodone because I take too many oxys every month. I have run out like on the day of getting them and I know it is torture. I also take benzos Valium and Xanax. I have no doctor i get everything on the street.

    I want to get off of them really bad but I don’t think I have the will power to just quit. I had a great job and was pulling down 150k per year. After all this time the Oxy’s made me get stupid and I changed jobs within my company and could not learn the new job. Eventually they talked me into quitting because I was there for 18 years and at one time I was their superstar.

    Anyway that was two and a half years ago and since my drug habit is $3000.00 per month. I have enough for about one more year and then I could sell my house but I want to work. I have been trying to start my own business but my drug problem has made that also very difficult and I have made very little money. Because of drugs I have a some criminal charges so between that and being addicted I am going to have a really hard time finding a job if I am even Employable. All my crimes were misdemenour I never had any felony convictions. I have possession of Marijuana and also possession of a controlled substance (xanax)

    My mom has a lot of money but she is hard to get along with. I want to turn to her and ask her to help me pay for rehab (my health insurance I have now sux). I don’t feel like I have the will power to quit on my own or taper down or anything else. My habit costs $3000.00 a month and I have maintained it and could possibly make it one more year at the most. I want to get this off my chest (I have even thought of suicide as a way out, but I don’t want to hurt my family like that. Plus I want to live. I have run out before and the side affects really truly suck.

  20. I am currently taking 480mg of OxyContin/Oxycodone a day. I have been taking about 325mg a day for about 4 years this past year my pain escalated after my last surgery so I have been taking 480mg range all prescribed. I do not take more than prescribed. I am tired of taking this medication and will not entertain suboxone! Tomorrow night will be the last time I take Oxycodone or OxyContin or long term pain again. I will go cold turkey starting this Thursday October 15th.

  21. Hi 40mg 2xdaily with 10,s up to 4x daily for breakthrough pain. Also lyrica 225mg 2x daily.All for approx. 2yrs. All of this really helps ! I am a 60 yr. old male. Retired telephone lineman. Actually I am happy with my results. My question is. How long will I be able to stay on these meds ? What are the long term effects ? I don’t want to stop but ; if long term use can hurt me I will. I would go to a rehab . My ins. would cover it.

  22. I have been using oxycontin and other narcotics for years now. My husband lost his job and we built up a balance with our pain management doctor so he will no longer see me I am out of medication and I am afraid of going off the drug cold turkey because I also have mitral valve prolapse and I have diabetic neuropathy besides the reason I’m taking the oxycontin for which is having four spinal surgeries. Please advise me on what I should do thank you

  23. My doctor just shut me off and now I’m cold turkey can’t sleep is what’s killing me like fire going through your body. Went to er today left me hanging

  24. i had an accident 3months ago, broke 6 vertabrae in a MBA and had a t6-t12 fusion and ive tapered down from morphine to 40mg oxycontin x4 daily then 20s 3-4 daily and now 10s 4-5 daily and i think i am addicted to the oxy,, i tried to quit 10s cold turkey for 5 days the first few days were hell, no energy, no motivation, flu symptoms, couldnt sleep, restless, back pain, etc. and i started coming good on day 5… day 6 i relapse and back on 10s again for 3weeks. without them its horrible and with them its horrible, i want to get off them but dont want to go through the withdrawls again. i need help!

  25. hi there, ive been on oxy 40mg to 20mg and now on 10mg for 3 months now after i broke 6 vertebrae in a motorbike accident (making a super fast recovery) and i want to quit so bad, but i think im addicted to them. ive tried to quit but the withdrawl state is just horrible. restlessness, cant sleep, etc. what do i do?

    1. Hi Corey. If you no longer need the pills for pain management, it is time to quit. You can start by asking your doctor or a pharmacist to help you create a tapering schedule, so you can wean yourself off the medication slowly and gradually. This will reduce the withdrawal discomfort, but you can additionally treat withdrawal symptom as they occur with the help of some prescription medications, over-the-counter meds and herbal remedies.

  26. I’ve been taking Oxycontin for nearly 10 years for chronic back pain that was being caused mostly by my being overweight. Recently, I started a diet and exercise program and started losing the weight and decided enough was enough with taking the pain medication!

    Here is the good news, at least for me… I never really gained a mental dependence to the medication. At least that is what I believe to be true and it seems to be because I was up to taking one 80mg pill (Time released) every 12 hours (160mg daily), I cut that in half (Literally since I did what I was warned not to do and cut the pill in half). There was small discomfort in the beginning but my body adjusted fairly well. Then I started taking a quarter of the pill twice daily (a total of just 40mg daily) and then one third of the pill twice a day (26.6mg) of course this is an approximation since I did try real hard to get the cut proper but you know, sometimes it wasn’t the most accurate. Anyway, today is May 13th, 2015 and it is my first day I am not going to take anything. My last does of 13.3mg was at 2 PM yesterday, it’s now almost 9:30 AM and I feel somewhat fatigued and my legs feel like “Restless Leg Syndrome”, well, more accurately I have that feeling in my feet. I suppose that is the “Anxiety” I read that I should expect. It helps to keep active and oddly enough, I seem to be a little hungry… Go figure!

    Anyway, I stopped in to see how long I could expect to feel this way and if I should have any concerns. I can’t give advice to anyone who has a mental dependence to Oxycontin but if you are like me, and are just physically addicted, then just ween yourself before the big plunge! I did it and I know if I can, anyone can! Good luck!

  27. Hello everyone, I get a feeling of happiness and sadness to see so many people quitting oxi cold turkey. I get comfort in knowing that others going through hell. I am on day three after 3 years of upwards to 40mg-120mg a day. Its hell but I moved to Europe from Toronto and I don’t know anyone here and opiates aren’t easily accessible as I tdot. The worst withdrawal symptoms are the restless leg, insomnia, cold sweats, white spots in my vision, and I get a feeling like the worst is yet to come. I’ve been taking advil and trying hard to tell my brain that this is all because of a stupid pill and not my natural behaviour. I cant wait to get the old me back..

    Good Luck everyone

  28. Been on percocet for at least 4 years. Doctor then prescribed me oxicotin 40 mg for a 1 1/2. Doc said I came up hot for street drugs. Marijuanna. Pharmacy didnt have enough oxicotin and after 4 calls to doctor no return call.So I smoked a joint. They swab tested me and saix no more meds till further notice. My pulse I at 124. My chest Hurts alot. Massive pain. Sweets. Cant sleep. Anxiety. Stressted. So I didnt call cor refill and cold turkey meds. Cant take much more. What to do

  29. I am going to have to go cold turkey after 10+ years on OxyContin! Not by choice either… A new law is requiring that I provide a marriage certificate which I don’t have so I can’t renew my state ID. Which means I can’t get my prescription filled. I suffer from osteoarthritis in my hips and lower back. The decision to take the medication wasn’t made easily and I’ve been under close supervision with my doctor the whole time. BUT now I am forced to go through the withdrawals cause now my ID has expired and it could take months to get the proper paperwork. 8 yrs ago I was able to get the ID but today I cant. I’ve got some sick time available… Guess I got to take it.

  30. Hello Kelley. Tapering down will depend on your ability to tolerate pain, as well your individual health and medical condition. A conservative taper can take 5-6 weeks, but most tapers from opioids are about 3-4 weeks long. Principles to consider are: never cut more than 1/2 at a time, aim for 25% reduction per week, seek medical supervision. Long term side effects: I’d suggest that you search Google’s academic/scholarship engine using keywords: “long term effects oxycodone” ; or restrict a basic search to government only websites;

  31. I was prescribed oxycontin due to a back injury about 8 years ago. At the time, I was a fitness instructor teaching 4-6 classes per week, plus my own workouts. The medicine helped with the pain, but it never went away and my primary care physician began upping my dose & even adding breakthrough medicine. I new that the oxycontin and oxycodone would, ultimately, make my body physically dependent, but I wanted relief from the pain. After all this time (not too mention a 5 year cancer battle, including many invasive surgeries), I still live with pain. But, I am scared of the damage I may have done, long term, to my body from taking these medicines- I never took more than was prescribed and currently take1- 60 mg oxycontin 2X daily with up to 2- 15mg oxycodone for breakthrough pain. I have 3 questions: what kind of long term effects are there from taking these medicines and what is the recommended length of time to dose down under a doctor’s supervision. Lastly, do those who dose down still feel the intense withdrawal described by others? Thank you for your feedback.

  32. I been taking 2- 40s of oxycotin a day for a year. Until last week when I went cold turkey . The first 3 days was hell, iam on day 6 now n starting to feel a lot better. Feels like my life’s getting back on track. Believe it or not my back is feeling better . Thank god I got off them ….

  33. Hi Crystal. Set up an appointment with a doctor and get examined. You can talk to him about quitting and treating the underlying risks from quitting cold turkey. The best way to safely stop OxyContin is in a detox clinic, otherwise we cannot recommend it, for your own safety.

  34. Hi. I have used Oxycontin fora year maybe 1 and a half years. Before that Perkacet for 2009, mildly at the beginning, then within a year may be two i was taking them often. I quit a few times but i always went back to them. By 2013 I was taking 16 to 20 perks a day so i started taking Oxycontin 20’s. anywhere from3-6 a day. With in this past 6-8 months I’ve moved up to about 3-4 40’s a day. I want to quit on my own so bad. I dont believe in going to get help for it cause i was the dummy to start taking them. Please give me some pointer on what to do to quit cold turky please. I need to q2uit like right now. I know the withdraws r going to be crazy but i’m going to be fine with that. So please give me a list of stuff to do. thank you. and please hurry :(…

  35. I started out taking 30 mg of Oxycotin about 2 yrs ago then I ask my doctor about getting off them completely So they lowered my dose to 20mg for about a yr and now I am taking 10mg. And have been for a while.. I just quit talking them so should I be okay and not have withdrawals. How long will this process take I just want to get off these pills for good. Thanks

  36. my nephew was incarcerated today. he had an accident about two years ago and a doctor prescribed three hundred and some pills the first visit.he is now hooked and in jail in the Milwaukee main facility.he has severe asthma.i realize breathing difficulty can be a problem when someone is suddenly taken off. opiates is there anything that can be done?

  37. Hello Kelly. Withdrawal can take a little longer to resolve in people who take OC over the long term. You might expect symptoms to persist for 7-10 days or more…check in with your prescribing doctor ASAP and track the symptoms on a calendar. Good luck, Kelly!

  38. Ive been taking oc daily for four years several months ago I reduced ultimately to about 1/4 of what my largest amount had been. Now decided to quit all cold turkey. How long will it be before I start to feel better?

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