Process of Detoxing from Oxycodone

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Oxycodone is a narcotic pain killer and is most commonly prescribed for moderate to severe pain. It is highly habit forming and can lead to addiction mainly due to the fact that it is an opioid [1].

Oxycodone can be taken individually but is also the main ingredient in combination drug prescription pain relievers. Prescription opioids are the most commonly abused drug and about 75% of those who abuse narcotics, chose oxycodone, or hydrocodone, and 45% of this group prefer oxycodone [1].

Oxycodone blocks pain receptors and produces a euphoric feeling by altering dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is one of the messengers between the brain and central nervous system which tells the brain that it is happy and relaxed. When an individual takes oxycodone, respiration, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature slows down [2].

Understanding the Detoxification Process

Oxycodone was first introduced to help control severe to moderate pain. It interrupts the body’s ability to receive pain signals. Serious addiction can occur when the opioids corrupt the pain receiving pathway [3]. Oxycodone dependence is described as unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that occur when an individual does not get a usual dose of oxycodone [1].

It is not used to achieve a high but it is to relieve pain for which prescribed. Many individuals who struggle with addiction show signs of pathological preoccupation with getting the drug, using it to experience intoxication or euphoria and experiencing withdrawal symptoms when trying to stop.

Man experiencing detoxThe detoxification process can last approximately a week, and can include irritability, agitation, depression, insomnia, thoughts of suicide, anxiety, inability to concentrate, diarrhea, sweating, body aches, runny nose, headaches, high blood pressure, and irregular heartrate [2].

Withdrawal symptoms occur when the drug is stopped and the brain attempts to re-regulate itself [2, 3]. Withdrawal symptoms typically start within 8-12 hours of taking the drug and peaks around 72 hours. A gradual reduction of the drug is the most effective way to detox from Oxycodone.

During the detox process, medical providers may prescribe medications to help with certain withdrawal symptoms and work by tricking the brain to think it is receiving oxycodone. Some of these medications used during the Process of Detoxing from Oxycodone are Clonidine, Suboxone, and Naltrexone [5].

Methadone can also be used to help with the detoxification process, which can aid in less severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is classified as an opiate, which can result in a transfer of addictions [3].

Utilizing a Detox Program

When beginning a detox program from Oxycodone, it is imperative to do so under the supervision of medical personnel who are trained in the detoxification and withdrawal symptoms.  The Process of Detoxing from Oxycodone can typically occur within a week.

Withdrawal symptoms can be treated with a variety of medications and mild symptoms can be managed with over the counter medications [5]. If individuals are experiencing nausea, vomiting, and/or diarrhea, it is necessary to drink way and rest as dehydration can affect and intensify withdrawal symptoms [5].

Days 1 and 2 are most often the most difficult days to get through during the process. It is also when the most relapses occur. Noticeable symptoms are muscle aches, and pain. Muscles while on Oxycodone, forget what it is like to not be numbed from a drug so the feeling can be excruciatingly painful.

Many individuals also have increased sweating, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Anxiety is also common coupled with panic attacks. Some individuals also experience runny noses or cold like symptoms. Days 3-5 eating and keeping solid food down are difficult and typically goosebumps, shivers, abdominal cramping, and vomiting are all common. Day 6 and after seem to be easier, but some persons continue to have difficulty with eating, nausea and anxiety [4, 6].

Follow Up Care After Detox

Once a person has detoxed from Oxycodone, counseling and psychiatric therapy can begin to look at the underlying issues for the person’s addiction. Many individuals find that post-recovery oxycodone is extremely accessible and need to continue work on daily triggers and potential relapses [4].

Relapse after detox can increase the risk for a potentially life-threatening overdose due to the brain and body not being able to tolerate the same levels as it could prior to rehab. According to the Centers for disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 15,000 Americans die each year from prescription pain reliever overdose [3].

Man happy with detoxIn conclusion, the Process of Detoxing from oxycodone can be relatively quick, but very painful and medically dangerous process without the help of experts and professionals within the field of prescription pain reliever detoxification.

The detox and withdrawal process can take about a week to complete, but the emotional and mental health ramifications can take months if not years to address. Working to find the appropriate facility as well as a strong support system is imperative for managing withdrawal from Oxycodone.

Community Discussion – Share Your Thoughts Here!

What tips do you have for someone detoxing from Oxycodone?

Image of Libby Lyons and familyAbout the Author: Libby Lyons, MSW, LCSW, CEDS, is a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS) who works with individuals and families in the area of eating disorders. Mrs. Lyons works in the metropolitan St. Louis area and has been practicing in the field for 11 years. Libby is also trained in Family Based Therapy (FBT) to work with children-young adults to treat eating disorders. Mrs. Lyons has prior experience working with the United States Air Force, Saint Louis University, Operating Officer of a Private Practice, and currently works with both Saint Louis Behavioral Medicine Institute within their Eating Disorders Program and Fontbonne University



The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 18, 2017.
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About Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC

Jacquelyn Ekern founded Addiction Hope in January, 2013, after experiencing years of inquiries for addiction help by visitors to our well regarded sister site, Eating Disorder Hope. Many of the eating disorder sufferers that contact Eating Disorder Hope also had a co-occurring issue of addiction to alcohol, drugs, and process addictions.