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Fentanyl Withdrawal: Symptoms, Medications & Detox

Fentanyl is an extremely potent opioid with a high potential for addiction and dependence. Intense and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms associated with its discontinuation can make it especially difficult to quit.1

This page will cover what fentanyl withdrawal is, fentanyl withdrawal symptoms, and what to expect in a fentanyl detox program.

What Is Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Fentanyl withdrawal is a characteristic set of symptoms that emerge when a person abruptly stops or drastically lowers the amount of fentanyl they use after heavy or prolonged use.1,2

Over time, a person’s body adapts to the presence of a substance like fentanyl; this is called physiological dependence. Without the substance, the body is unable to feel and function normally. Withdrawal symptoms manifest when a person who is physiologically dependent on a substance stops or reduces their use.1,3

Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms may include:1,2

  • Anxiety.
  • Irritability.
  • Muscle and bone pain.
  • Insomnia.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Fever.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Yawning.
  • Goosebumps.
  • Runny nose or watery eyes.
  • Uncontrollable leg movements.
  • Severe cravings for fentanyl.

How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Last?

Most people who are physiologically dependent on short-acting opioids like fentanyl start to experience withdrawal symptoms within 6 to 12 hours of their last dose. In some cases, the symptoms may manifest in as quickly as a few hours.1,2

Acute withdrawal symptoms from short-acting opioids tend to peak within 1 to 3 days of the last dose and typically subside over 5 to 7 days.2

However, for some people, more chronic withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, mood changes, and insomnia, can last for weeks or even months.2

Some factors can influence the onset and length of the opioid withdrawal timeline, such as:4

  • How long you have been using opioids.
  • How much you typically use per day.
  • How long you usually go between opioid doses.

Detox for Fentanyl Withdrawal

Medically supervised detox can help manage fentanyl withdrawal symptoms and keep you as safe and comfortable as possible. During medical detox, a team of medical professionals provides 24-hour monitoring and support.4

In this setting, doctors and nurses continually assess your needs, monitor your progress, and administer necessary medications to help manage your withdrawal symptoms.4

Typically, both comfort medications as well as proven medications designed to aid in the fentanyl withdrawal process are used.4

Fentanyl Withdrawal Medications

Specific medications that can be used to manage fentanyl withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Methadone. A long-acting opioid receptor full agonist, methadone binds at and restabilizes opioid receptors to ease opioid withdrawal symptoms and cravings or urges to use opioids.4
  • Buprenorphine. An opioid receptor partial agonist, buprenorphine only partially activates opioid receptors. It is FDA-approved for use during opioid withdrawal to ease the symptoms of withdrawal, including cravings for opioids.4
  • Clonidine. A medication approved to treat high blood pressure, clonidine has been used off-label since 1978 to manage some opioid withdrawal symptoms.4
  • Lofexidine. FDA-approved for use during opioid withdrawal, lofexidine is a non-opioid medication capable of reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms.5

Fentanyl Withdrawal Treatment in Texas

If you or someone you care about is seeking treatment for fentanyl withdrawal in Texas, American Addiction Center’s Greenhouse Treatment Center is here to help.

Our inpatient rehab near Dallas offers services at multiple levels of addiction treatment, including medical detox, inpatient or residential addiction treatment, outpatient rehab, and sober living options or aftercare.

In addition to providing medical detox for fentanyl withdrawal, Greenhouse recognizes the importance of medication combined with behavioral therapies to promote long-term remission from fentanyl use disorder.1

Our highly experienced clinical team delivers evidence-based therapies to support sustained recovery.

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