What are OxyContin withdrawal symptoms?

Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms include joint/muscle aches, nausea, accelerated breathing, and sweating. More on why OxyContin symptoms occur and how you can treat them here.

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Thinking about detoxing from Oxycontin (oxycodone)?

Whether you want to learn more about treatment for OxyContin addiction or detoxing from OxyContin, read on here.  We review which Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms you can expect during detox, as well as how long they last. Plus a section at the end for your questions about how to treat OxyContin withdrawal.

Why do Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms occur?

Oxycontin is an opioid slow-release pain killer that can relieve pain for up to 12 hours at a time. In fact, OxyContin is considered a strong narcotic with a high potential for abuse and dependence. But why do you experience Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms at all?

Withdrawal symptoms occur when people who have been using OxyContin daily for more than a few weeks suddenly stop taking OxyContin or dramatically reduce their dosage. Oxycontin binds to opioid receptors in the brain. Over time, OxyContin alters the brain chemistry to the point the brain becomes normalized on the drug and produces withdrawal symptoms when you terminate use of Oxycontin. As you continue to use OxyContin, your body slowly adapts to the prescence of oxycodone. Because oxycodone depresses the central nervous system, the body reacts by “speeding up” certain processes to keep everything in balance. In essence, withdrawal symptoms are simply the “sped up” functions of the body which become noticeable when you stop taking OxyContin.

What are symptoms of Oxycontin withdrawal?

Oxycontin can cause unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Like most opioids, Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms manifest much like the flu: chills, sweats, and fatigue are all common during OxyContin withdrawal. These symptoms usually appear a few hours after your last dose has worn off. There are several other symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal that will also affect you as your body is trying to return to normalcy. Symptoms of Oxycontin withdrawal can include the following:

  • accelerated breathing
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • extreme dissatisfaction with life
  • fast heart beat
  • joint pain and aches
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • restlessness
  • runny nose
  • sleep disturbances
  • sweating
  • vomiting
  • watering eyes
  • yawning

Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms: How long?

How long Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms last depends mainly on how you were using OxyContin. In fact, the time it takes for OxyContin withdrawal symptoms to subside will fluctuate. People who take OxyContin as prescribed usually get through the worst symptomsin the first 5-7 days after last dose. Those who abuse or have developed a dependency to Oxycontin can expect to experience a longer term of withdrawal. For the most part, the longer or the higher doses of Oxycontin you take, the longer and harder it is to withdraw from Oxycontin. Most OxyContin withdrawal symptoms peak in the first 72 hours after last dose. But protracted withdrawal symptoms such as insomnia, depression, and anxiety can persist for weeks or months after last use.

Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms treatment

Because of the high dependency rate attritubed to oxycodone, OxyContin withdrawal can be intense and severe. It is always recommend that this process is MEDICALLY SUPERVISED and monitored. In fact, if you think you may be addicted to OxyContin,seeking a rehab or detox clinic to treat OxyContin withdrawal symptoms. This support can greatly increase the likelihood that you avoid relapse. It also takes into consideration the psychosocial aspects of withdrawal.

Overall there are two main forms of Oxycontin withdrawal treatment:

1. Supportive care/tapering

2. Doctor prescribed medication

1. Supportive care and tapering for Oxycontin withdrawal – It isn’t recommended that you suddenly stop taking Oxycontin. Instead, experts recommend that you slowly taper OxyContin doses over the course of several weeks. While each doctor will create an individualized schedule for you, opioids are generally tapered at 10% every few days, and about 25% per week. You should never reduce by 50% or more at one time. Seek supportive medical care for OxyContin withdrawal so that a doctor can monitor you and assess how long and at what doses withdrawal is best. You don’t have to be alone in the withdrawal process.

2. Doctor prescribed medication – Several medications with potential benefit can be prescribed during Oxycontin withdrawal. Clonidine is prescribed to reduce anxiety, agitation, muscle cramps, and sweating in patients. Some physiciansrecommend Naloxone or Buprenorphine to block opioid effects without causing euphoria. Other doctors might start you on methadone in cases of OxyContin abuse. Or, antidepressants may be prescribed to treat underlying issues of depression or anxiety. Medications physicians prescribe for opioid withdrawal vary, so be aware of your body, what you think it needs, and what work best to help treat OxyContin withdrawal symptoms during detox.

Oxycontin Withdrawal questions

Don’t see what you’re looking for? Still have another question about Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms? Please ask any question you have regarding Oxycontin below. We are happy to respond to you personally, and will try to answer your questions ASAP. And if we don’t know the answer, we will refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: PubMed Health: Oxycontin
National Drug Intelligence Center: Oxycontin Fact sheet
Daily Med: Oxycontin drug info
National Institute of Drug Abuse: The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence
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. Hi Denise. It depends on your current dose. OxyContin doses are usually decreased by about 20%-25% every week until the last possible dose is fully eliminated from the sysem. If you don’t want to feel withdrawal symptoms during the tapering process, it is not recommended that you decrease your dose of OxyContin by more than about 10% a day. But you can also go as slow as decreasing 10% off of your current dose each week. This process allows you to slowly rewire the communication between neurons with minimal withdrawal complications.

  1. Seeking help. I’m on 60 oxycontin 3xa day and percocet 10 4 times a day breakthrough. My pain clinic tells me hey we are going to wheen you down over time to take 120 per day. They tell me this is not helping you and making your pain worse. Okay I’m a paraplegic with chronic pain broken back etc…and have taken my meds and these past two months have only gotten worse. I don’t know if I should seek another Dr. Or what the best thing to do at this point. Any help would be appreciated…

    1. Hi, Michelle. It seems to me that your pain doctors don’t hear you. I suggest you talk with them openly about your situation. If this don’t help, maybe the best way is to find new doctor.

  2. I take 240mg of OxyContin per day and it doesn’t control my pain. I was on methadone but it began to affect my heart. If I discontinue the OxyContin what can replace it without the same opioid addiction?

    1. Hey Lynn. Did you speak with your doctor about drug replacement? I think this might be a good idea in your case. Every drug affects each person differently, so maybe you need a stronger one, or a combination of two. I hope you find a medication that works well for you really soon!

  3. My hubby has supposedly been clean for 18 days he shows very little signs of withdrawal symptoms he did however drink the first three days to get through the worst part he says he does have trouble sleeping and still stays up 20hours a day. is this behavior normal he does seem to be happier and his eyes are brighter and occasionally a smile on his face but I still wonder if he is using

  4. I am a 75 yr old female addicted to Oxycontin due to osteoarthritis. A pain doctor in US prescribed them 8 yrs ago and I am now up to 120mg per day. I am able to go through the evening and night for as many as 15 hours without taking due to pain. I plan on cutting down by 25% per week, good idea?

    1. Hello Sandra. The general dose decrease is 25% from the dose you are currently taking and staying on that dose for a week (or two), then another 25% creased, and so on. But, if you get uncomfortable and severe withdrawal symptoms you can taper down 10% every week. It may be slower, but you can manage the withdrawal effects better and lower the intensity. Are you thinking about any other ways to manage the pain after detox?

  5. Been off 6 years 4/16/15. From one hand to other and up my spine. Feels like I am being shocked . Also a withdrawal symptom . After 10 months , I started Xanax ? I do have back and neck damage. Any input would be awesome !!!

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