Fentanyl Withdrawal: Symptoms, Detox & Treatment

Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid involved in a significant number of fatal opioid overdoses.1 In addition to being highly addictive, withdrawal from fentanyl can be very uncomfortable.2

This page will explain fentanyl withdrawal and its symptoms, how withdrawal can be medically managed, and fentanyl addiction treatment options near Miami, Florida.

What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Fentanyl withdrawal may involve several characteristic opioid withdrawal symptoms that emerge when someone stops using the drug abruptly or significantly reduces how much they use after prolonged or heavy use.1,3

Withdrawal occurs when the person has a physiological dependence on fentanyl, meaning their body has become accustomed to the presence of the drug and needs it to function normally.4

Because opioid withdrawal is so distressing, people may find themselves continuing to use drugs like fentanyl to prevent its onset or ease its severity—with such continued use becoming a roadblock to recovery efforts.4

As a relatively short-acting opioid, fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can begin within 6 to 12 hours after the last dose, peak within 1 to 3 days, and gradually subside after 5 to 7 days. Withdrawal symptoms may last weeks or months, in some people.3

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can include:3

  • Insomnia.
  • Yawning.
  • Muscle aches.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Fever.
  • Sweating.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Runny nose.
  • Dysphoria (lack of satisfaction or state of unease).

Not everyone who goes through fentanyl withdrawal has the same experience. Various physiological and psychological factors can impact the severity—the number and intensity of symptoms—of fentanyl withdrawal.2

Can You Quit Fentanyl Cold Turkey?

When physiological opioid dependence is a factor, quitting fentanyl cold turkey, or attempts at managing its withdrawal without medication, are not advised. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, though generally not life-threatening, can be very painful.4

For someone struggling with fentanyl addiction, quitting cold turkey can also present a risk of strong cravings, continued use, or relapse to mitigate the onset of severe opioid withdrawal.4

Rather than quitting fentanyl cold turkey, supervised medical detoxification (or detox) can help reduce the risk of overdose and relapse while making withdrawal as comfortable as possible.4

Fentanyl Withdrawal Management

Fentanyl withdrawal management, also referred to as medical detox, involves medical supervision as the body clears itself of the influence of the drug while specific medications are administered to help manage withdrawal symptoms.2

Medications for Fentanyl Withdrawal

Various medications that may be used to manage fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Methadone. Methadone is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for fentanyl detoxification and withdrawal management. It is an opioid receptor agonist that can reverse opioid withdrawal symptoms.2
  • Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist approved by the FDA as an opioid detoxification agent. While methadone can only be dispensed by licensed treatment centers, buprenorphine can be dispensed at a doctor’s office.2
  • Clonidine. Though not specifically approved for it, clonidine has long been used off-label to manage opioid withdrawal and may be useful for some fentanyl withdrawal symptoms. Unlike methadone and buprenorphine, clonidine is not an opioid agonist medication.2
  • Lofexidine. Pharmacologically similar to clonidine, lofexidine is also a non-opioid medication. However, it is FDA-approved to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms. Originally used to treat high blood pressure, it is effective in helping alleviate symptoms that accompany opioid withdrawal.7

In addition to being used to manage fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, methadone and buprenorphine are also used in the treatment of opioid use disorder (OUD).6

These medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) are often prescribed along with behavioral therapy as ongoing treatment to help manage cravings and, in turn, help reduce the risk of relapse.1,6

Fentanyl Detox Near Miami, Florida

If you or someone you love are struggling with fentanyl addiction or OUD, Recovery First Treatment Center, an inpatient rehab near Miami, offers several treatment options that can help, such as fentanyl detox.

Our compassionate team’s expertise includes treatment of co-occurring mental health conditions and evidence-based addiction treatment approaches in individual and group therapy modalities. These services are available at all levels of addiction treatment, including medical detox, residential, and outpatient rehab programs.

Recovery First Treatment Center also conducts specialized addiction treatment programs tailored to Veterans, first responders, and healthcare professionals.

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