OxyContin, the brand name for the powerful narcotic oxycodone hydrochloride, is used to treat moderate to severe pain. OxyContin works by affecting the brain and changing how the human body feels and responds to pain. However, OxyContin is one of the most abused prescription drugs in the US because it can produce a euphoric effect at high doses.

It is commonly confused with oxycodone, the main ingredient in OxyContin. OxyContin differs from pure oxycodone because it contains a time-release feature to help people manage their pain more efficiently during a 24-hour period. However, people who abuse OxyContin often crush the pills and snort them, bypassing the time-release effects of the drug.

People addicted to OxyContin who abruptly stop taking the drug experience what is known as OxyContin withdrawal. The withdrawal process happens because the body is attempting to function without the drug in its system. Withdrawal symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, anxiety, and blurry vision.

On the street, OxyContin is known as “Blue,” “Oxy,” “Hillbilly Heroin,” “Kicker,” “Oxycotton,” “40,” for a 40-milligram tablet and “80,” for an 80-milligram tablet. The federal government classifies OxyContin as a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning the medication has high potential for abuse.

The Dangers of Quitting OxyContin Cold Turkey

Like most opioid drugs, OxyContin carries a high risk of dependence even if taken as prescribed. Sometimes, people who realize they are addicted to the medication may decide to quit and stop using the drug abruptly–known as “going cold turkey.” However, withdrawal from OxyContin without medical supervision can be painful and dangerous. Severe symptoms include anxiety, hot flashes, insomnia, and muscle pain. In the first 24 hours, flu-like or cold symptoms may develop, but will surpass after 72 hours.

Those in acute or severe withdrawal may also suffer from a reduced appetite, shakiness, and heart palpitations. These symptoms often encourage heavy users to resume taking OxyContin to alleviate the side effects, but at the cost of continuing the addiction. Because of its powerful effects, OxyContin should be tapered off or detoxed from with medical supervision.

Seeking Help for OxyContin Withdrawal

If you, or a loved one, struggle with an OxyContin addiction, then please call our 24-hour helpline at (855) 619-8070, and one of our agents will assist you with any questions you may have. You can also search for facilities in your area using our Find a Rehab search.

OxyContin Withdrawal Warning Signs and Symptoms

OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms

The signs and symptoms vary in each stage of withdrawal. For example, someone with a milder addiction may not suffer from hallucinations or severe pain that often accompanies the more severe withdrawal phase. Below are the symptoms to be aware of if you suspect you or a loved one are suffering from withdrawal.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Brain fog
  • Depression
  • Dysphoria
  • Fatigue
  • Involuntary leg movement
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking/sweating

Once a dependence on the drug has been established, which doctors say can happen just after a few weeks of use, it can be difficult to stop. There is no one way or best way to withdraw from OxyContin.

The severity of withdrawal for the addicted person will vary according to age, genetics, medical history, daily use habits, and environment, among other things. These factors influence how long withdrawal lasts and how severe those symptoms are.

If three or more of the symptoms occur within the first 24 to 48 hours after the last dosage of OxyContin, contact 911 immediately.

OxyContin Withdrawal Timeline

OxyContin Withdrawal Timeline

Duration of Withdrawal

The duration of withdrawal differs for each user. Depending on the age, duration of the addiction, pre-existing medical conditions, and the number of pills abused, an addicted person can suffer from withdrawal for seven or more days. The initial stages of withdrawal are usually when the worst symptoms are felt. After the first five to seven days, symptoms reduce or lessen as the body begins to adjust back to its normal state.

  • Days 1 to 3

    The first two to three days are considered among the most challenging of withdrawal; it also is the period when users are more susceptible to relapse. Withdrawal symptoms may begin to set in anywhere within 24 hours after the last dose taken begins to wear off. This is when users in withdrawal may experience abdominal cramps, flu-like symptoms, and increased irritation. This stage of discomfort can last for a few days.

  • Days 4 to 7

    After the first 72 hours of withdrawal, symptoms continue as the person abstains from using the drug. An inability to sleep, shakes and intense cravings for the drug are experienced during this time.

  • Week 2

    Symptoms start to subside and even out as the body becomes normalized during the second week of withdrawal. Sleep patterns may start to improve, but abdominal pains diarrhea and nausea and vomiting may occur.

  • Week 3+

    Users start to feel better physically, but may still find themselves managing anxiety, depression and other psychological effects, such as Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS), as a result of long-term abuse of the drug.

OxyContin Detox and Treatment

oxyContin Withdrawal Treatment and Detox

For many people, withdrawal is an uncomfortable experience and will require professional treatment to successfully stop using the drug. In some approaches, detoxification, which rids the body of OxyContin, is the first step. Other medicines may accompany this process to help ease other symptoms and manage and reduce symptoms.

Before starting treatment, clients are given an assessment to help determine which program would be best suited to their recovery needs. During detox, clients are monitored by medical professionals who monitor their health, progress, medicine intake, and more. The length of detox can vary and depends on each individual’s situation.

Here are some medications commonly used during detox to help ease discomfort:

  • Methadone or Buprenorphine: As a milder opiate, these drugs are used to treat opiate addiction by blocking pain, discomfort, and other common withdrawal symptoms. Addicts suffering from a severe addiction may rely on these drugs for a long period to stop withdrawal symptoms, which is known as methadone maintenance.
  • Clonidine: This sedative is used in detox to treat anxiety, hypertension, and high blood pressure.
  • Chlorpromazine (Thorazine): An antipsychotic, this drug is used for opiate withdrawal to treat mental or mood disorders, anxiety, and restlessness.

Treatment Options after Detox

After detox, clients can also start a recovery program where they can relearn coping skills and strategies to manage the issues that started them to use drugs. Recovery programs include the following options:

  • Residential Rehabilitation Programs: This option requires clients to live at a secure center for a period while they undergo treatment, typically for about 30 days. The facility offers a structured environment that promotes health and wellness for the client in recovery.
  • Outpatient Treatment Programs: These programs allow more flexibility for clients who need a less-structured schedule because they have responsibilities to their family, a job or their education. This program also allows people to maintain more control over their schedule as well as their privacy.
  • Mental Health Dual-Diagnosis Treatment: Dual-diagnosis addresses and offers mental health care as well as substance abuse treatment for the client. If the client meets the criteria for a mental health disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, among others, they might want to consider dual-diagnosis treatment.

Seeking Help for Addiction

If you are struggling with an OxyContin addiction or withdrawal, our 24-7 hotline can help connect you to the best detox and treatment facility in your area. Call us today at (855) 619-8070 to receive the assistance you need when making the crucial decision to receive help. The severe physical effects caused by opioid abuse can lead to a relapse, overdose, and death. Suicidal thoughts and depression should be treated immediately and effectively so don’t wait. Call us today and start your path to a new life in recovery.

OxyContin Withdrawal Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about OxyContin Withdrawal
  • What is the difference between OxyContin and Oxycodone?

    Oxycodone is an opioid pain medication that is found in OxyContin. Though both are used to treat pain, they have distinct differences. OxyContin has a time-release feature that releases the medication in the body in 4- to 6-hour intervals throughout the day. Since OxyContin is stronger, it allows the patient to take less of it, but it’s more addictive.

  • What is the recommended daily dosage to take without getting addicted to the pill?

    The initial recommended dosage for patients who are not opioid dependent is 10mg orally every 12 hours. But depending on your medical condition, it is best to consult with your physician so they can prescribe the recommended dosage to treat your pain.

  • What are the long-term effects of OxyContin addiction?

    The long-term effects of withdrawal can lead to a person depending on opioid treatment for the rest of their lives or severe pain. Many addicts rely on methadone maintenance to block withdrawal symptoms, but the biggest risks are overdose or developing a heroin addiction.

  • How can I get my loved one off OxyContin?

    The best way to help a loved one with an addiction is to convince them to enter a detox or treatment program. Also, you may be enabling the addiction by giving them money and other resources, therefore, cutting off those resources may convince your loved one to seek help. If you suspect a loved one is suffering from addiction, call our hotline today.

  • Can Oxy withdrawal kill you?

    Withdrawal from OxyContin is rarely fatal, but there are medical conditions that can develop from OxyContin withdrawal. These conditions can be:

    • Cardiac arrest, stroke, seizure
    • Respiratory problems
    • Drop in blood pressure

OxyContin Statistics:

  • According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), of the 20.5 million Americans age 12 or older that had a substance use disorder in 2015, 2 million had a substance use disorder involving prescription pain relievers, and 591,000 had a substance use disorder involving heroin.
  • It is estimated that 23% of individuals who use heroin develop an opioid addiction, according to ASAM.
  • Opioid addiction is driving the drug epidemic, with 20,101 overdose deaths related to prescription pain relievers, and 12,990 overdose deaths related to heroin in 2015, according to ASAM.