OxyContin is a powerful, time-release and brand-name version of the opioid drug oxycodone. Oxycodone and other opioids are used to relieve pain that’s moderate to severe, and they’re available only by prescription.
Opioids like OxyContin are Schedule II drugs in the U.S. meaning the federal government believes there is a high risk of both psychological addiction and physical dependence associated with their use. Someone can become dependent on OxyContin even if they’re using it as prescribed, requiring an OxyContin detox for the drug to leave their system.
Often the terms addiction and dependence are used interchangeably, but they have meanings that differ from one another. Addiction is a disease of the brain where the use of OxyContin or opioids is compulsive and no longer in the control of the individual. Dependence is more a physical scenario.
The brain and the entire central nervous system become used to the presence of OxyContin or other opioids. If someone stops using opioids suddenly when a dependence has formed, they may go through withdrawal. Opioid withdrawal can be very uncomfortable and difficult.
Even when someone is using OxyContin by prescription and as instructed by their doctor, a dependence may form. For a mild dependence, a doctor may suggest the patient gradually taper down their dosage of OxyContin until they stop altogether. This can reduce or eliminate withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of OxyContin Withdrawal
Drug withdrawal is the body trying to stabilize and return to a sense of normalcy after becoming dependent on the presence of substances. In this case, that substance is OxyContin. Symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal can be both psychological and physical.
As with addiction, opioid withdrawal can be classified as mild, moderate and severe. The severity of OxyContin and opioid withdrawal symptoms can vary depending on individual body chemistry, how long the drug was used, and how much of it was used.
OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Teary eyes and runny nose
- Sleep disturbances
- Abdominal pain
- Dilated pupils
- Changes in vision
- Raised blood pressure
OxyContin Withdrawal Timeline
The OxyContin withdrawal timeline can vary for different people. However, the withdrawal period usually begins within the first 24 hours after the last dose of the drug is taken. Since OxyContin is a time-release drug, it may take a little longer for withdrawal symptoms to appear.
Later and more intense symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal and detox usually begin within around 48 hours after the last dose is taken.
For most people, the OxyContin withdrawal timeline will last for no more than a week, at least in terms of acute symptoms. However, there may be some lingering symptoms requiring long-term treatment in some cases. Most of the long-term symptoms tend to be psychological.
Effective Addiction Treatment
Addiction is a chronic, but treatable disease. The treatment models for addiction are similar to what you might see with other chronic diseases such as diabetes. For example, with diabetes, while there isn’t a cure, there are treatments that manage the symptoms of the disease. A person can be considered in remission if treatment is effective.
It’s similar with addiction. Addiction rewires the brain, and there are psychological, social and physical components of the disorder. While there isn’t a magic cure, going to a facility, or participating in a rehab program is the treatment that allows people to manage addiction. When someone is abstaining from OxyContin and other substances, they are considered to be in remission from the disease of addiction.
According to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are certain things that an OxyContin facility should offer patients, for treatment to be the most effective:
- Addiction to drugs like OxyContin change both the function and the structure of the user’s brain, and this needs to be considered during treatment.
- Everyone is going to require individualized treatment, and there’s not one particular addiction treatment protocol that’s right for every person. If someone is matched with the right type of OxyContin facility and approach for their needs, they’re much more likely to have favorable outcomes.
- Treatment needs to be easily available. This is important when considering something like an intervention. Treatment options need to be offered quickly and easily to the person struggling with OxyContin addiction.
- A person is more than their OxyContin addiction, and treatment should address all of their needs.
It’s essential that a person remains in treatment for enough time. The best treatment outcomes usually come from people receiving treatment for at least three months, although not all of this needs to occur in an inpatient facility.
- Behavioral therapy is usually the foundation of addiction treatment, and sometimes medications may be used when necessary.
- Treatment plans should be changed and altered as the needs of the patient evolve.
- Addiction is often something that is seen with other co-occurring mental illnesses and these need to be treated also.
Complications of OxyContin Withdrawal
OxyContin withdrawal and detox aren’t as dangerous as withdrawal from certain other substances like alcohol and benzodiazepines. There aren’t usually deadly complications of OxyContin withdrawal, but instead, the primary focus of detox is to help keep the person comfortable as they go through the process.
Nausea and vomiting are two symptoms that are most likely to lead to complications if any occur. Vomiting can lead to dehydration or asphyxiation in some cases. Diarrhea can also lead to dehydration. Someone experiencing vomiting or diarrhea may need fluid treatment to replace electrolytes.
Treatment of Symptoms
There are different ways to treat the symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal. One way is to receive outpatient treatment from your doctor. Another option is inpatient OxyContin detox. An inpatient OxyContin detox usually is part of a rehab and addiction treatment plan.
Some of the medications that may be given to a patient as they go through OxyContin withdrawal and detox can include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen can help the mild symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal such as aches and pains.
- Loperamide is a medicine often used to help with diarrhea.
- Hydroxyzine is a medicine that can be given to patients to help ease nausea.
- Clonidine is a medication that’s used to help treat a variety of withdrawal symptoms.
- In some cases, a person may require sleep aids.
- Medications to treat psychological symptoms and disorders may be given to someone who’s going through OxyContin withdrawal and detox.
Suboxone and methadone are two drugs that are sometimes included in detox programs and options. Suboxone is a combination drug containing buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a weak opioid. Naloxone is an opioid blocker. The medication can help reduce symptoms of opioid withdrawal and reduce the length of the withdrawal period.
Methadone is a long-term treatment option for people with opioid dependencies. Methadone is an opioid itself, so it’s not always a good option. Many people end up using methadone for many years, and the concern is that they replace one dependence with another.
Oxycontin Relapse Risks
While there aren’t many acute complications that are big concerns with OxyContin detox, there is a concern if a relapse occurs. When someone stops using OxyContin for a period of time in an attempt to detox, if they do relapse it can be dangerous or deadly.
Often overdoses occur because someone stops using opioids, then relapsed on the same dose they took previously. Their system can no longer tolerate the high dose.
OxyContin Detox Centers
For many people dependent on OxyContin, a professional detox program is the best option. A detox center, also known as a medical detox facility, provides a safe environment. During detox, patients are monitored 24/7. This reduces the risk of any complications.
Patients can also be provided with any necessary medications and psychological treatments.
Many inpatient rehabs have a medical detox program that’s part of treatment. A patient will start in the detox center, and then once OxyContin has left their system and they are stabilized, they can move into addiction treatment.
Since a medical detox provides a high level of care and supervision, it lowers the risk of a relapse.
If you’d like to learn more about Oxycontin detox programs and options, contact our OxyContin withdrawal hotline today.