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Oxycodone Withdrawal

Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller in the opioid class. If you take the drug for long periods and quit abruptly or dramatically reduce your dose, you can experience withdrawal symptoms. In severe cases, opioid withdrawal can be life-threatening.

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Your oxycodone withdrawal timeline will vary by the type of medication you took. Immediate-release versions cause withdrawal that lasts about 10 days, while extended-release versions can cause symptoms for 20 days.

We’ll help you understand what a typical oxycodone withdrawal timeline looks like, and we’ll explain why treatment is crucial.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Timeline

Oxycodone is a prescription painkiller, and like many drugs in its class, it comes in two forms.

Immediate-release (IR) capsules are made to push active ingredients into your system quickly. Short-acting medications like this are used for acute pain.

Extended-release (ER) tablets linger in your body longer and are designed to release a steady amount of medication for an extended period.

This comparison table can help you understand the oxycodone withdrawal timeline differences between these two medication classes:

 Immediate ReleaseExtended Release
When do symptoms start?8-24 hours after last use12-48 hours after last use
When do symptoms peak?Day 3Day 4
When do symptoms end?Day 10Day 20

This initial phase of opioid withdrawal is called acute opioid withdrawal and is characterized by flu-like symptoms. It is typically what people mean when discussing opioid withdrawal.

When acute withdrawal passes, people can enter a lingering form of withdrawal that involves depression, anxiety, and cravings. Researchers say these symptoms can last for 30 days or longer.

Signs of Oxycodone Withdrawal

Opioid withdrawal, including withdrawal from oxycodone, is typically described as causing “flu-like” symptoms as well as significant opioid cravings. 

A person going through opioid withdrawal can expect symptoms like these:

  •       Bone pain
  •       Muscle aches
  •       Changes in body temperature
  •       Enhanced pain sensitivity
  •       Insomnia
  •       Watery eyes with dilated pupils
  •       GI distress, including stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  •       Unusual or fast heart rate
  •       Weakness
  •       Yawning
  •       Anxiety
  •       Depression
  •       Irritability
  •       Stress

Opioid withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening. Severe vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration and organ failure.

Without medical and psychological support, relapse is highly likely during acute opioid withdrawal. People often return to opioid use simply to make the withdrawal symptoms disappear.

Common Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Critical Care for Oxycodone Withdrawal

It’s important to enroll in a treatment plan and get help for oxycodone withdrawal. Your team can use medications to ease physical and psychological discomfort, making the process easier to tolerate. Since you’re more comfortable, you may be less likely to relapse to drugs.

If you’ve tried to detox by yourself and you experience these symptoms, get help right away:

  • Severe, persistent vomiting
  • Severe, persistent diarrhea
  • Irregular or unusual heartbeat
  • Intense muscle spasms or twitching

If you haven’t started the detox process for oxycodone yet, experts recommend talking to your doctor first. Explain that you want to stop taking OxyContin and will need help to do so safely. Together, you can determine the most effective care for your health and future.

Opioid Misuse Treatment Options

A number of medications can be used to treat the symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal. Loperamide can help with diarrhea and promethazine can be used to treat nausea and vomiting. Ibuprofen can be used for any myalgia (muscle pain) a person experiences. The drug clonidine is sometimes used if a person going through withdrawal experiences an increase in blood pressure.

It is usually recommended that a person who has opioid use disorder (addiction to opioids) receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This type of treatment, explained in more detail later, involves the use of medication to reduce withdrawal symptoms and lessen the likelihood that a person will seek out opioids, usually by reducing their opioid cravings. 

These medications should be combined with other types of drug therapy and counseling, notably cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It will also be important to work with a treatment professional on the skills needed to develop a strong support network, often (but not always) by getting family and other loved ones involved in your treatment. 

While many people view withdrawal as one of the hardest parts of overcoming addiction, it isn’t the only part. You will need to identify what draws you to use oxycodone in the first place and find healthier ways to channel the negative feelings that may have caused you to become dependent on drugs.

MAT Explained

There are two primary medications used to treat opioid use disorder as part of MAT programs: methadone and buprenorphine. Methadone and buprenorphine are not used together, although a person may switch between these treatments if one proves ineffective for their needs.


Methadone is often a surprising choice to non-experts, as methadone itself is a full opioid agonist with significant addiction potential if misused. However, when carefully used as prescribed, it can allow a person to proceed in recovery without experiencing withdrawal symptoms or significant opioid cravings. 

Methadone can also only be administered at specialized sites by professionals, meaning it would be difficult for a patient prescribed methadone to misuse it even if they wanted to. This also makes it a less convenient option than buprenorphine.


Buprenorphine, which is often combined with the drug naloxone in medications such as Suboxone, is another MAT option that shares some similarities to methadone. Buprenorphine can similarly help reduce a person’s opioid cravings, but unlike methadone, it is a partial opioid agonist. Broadly, this means it has similar but lessened effects to the types of opioids people typically are at risk of misusing. 

Buprenorphine also acts chemically in such a way, especially when combined with naloxone, that it doesn’t have significant abuse potential. Patients can pick up buprenorphine from a pharmacy like other prescription medications, making it a very convenient alternative for people who can’t regularly go out to get methadone at dedicated clinics.

Comprehensive Treatment

Again, medication isn’t sufficient on its own to treat opioid use disorder. Both methadone and buprenorphine must be combined with traditional oxycodone addiction treatments, such as talk therapy, as part of a comprehensive care plan to address opioid use disorder.

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Medically Reviewed By Dr. Alison Tarlow

Dr. Alison Tarlow is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the States of Florida and Pennsylvania, and a Certified Addictions Professional (CAP). She has been a practicing psychologist for over 15 years. Sh... Read More

Updated March 20, 2024
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  9. Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms, a Consequence of Chronic Opioid Use and Opioid Use Disorder: Current Understanding and Approaches to Management. (January 2020). Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics.
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