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Fentanyl Withdrawal Signs and Symptoms (Detox Timeline)

Fentanyl addiction is a multifaceted problem that may affect a person's body and mind. Fentanyl, a potent opioid, affects how the nervous system processes chemical information by binding to and activating specific receptors.

What is Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Although fentanyl and similar synthetic opioids have legitimate medical uses, they are also produced and consumed illegally.

Because of its strength, fentanyl may be very addictive. As a result, it is one of the medications most often associated with fatal overdoses in the USA.

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Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal

The severity of withdrawal symptoms experienced by those who have developed a fentanyl addiction and attempt to stop using the medication or dramatically lower their dosage may experience:


  • Abdominal discomfort and feeling sick.

  • Headache.

  • Dysrhythmias

  • Joint or skeletal stiffness.

  • Inflammation.

  • Apnea.

  • Stress.

  • Raise in internal temperature.

  • Shivering.

  • Chills.


While fentanyl withdrawal is rarely fatal, it is exceedingly unpleasant, and the intensity of symptoms varies on how much was taken, for how long, and whether or not the user has any preexisting physical or psychological conditions or issues.


The withdrawal process from opioids may be dangerous for certain people. For example, severe dehydration may result from detoxifying at home or without medical supervision, resulting in high blood salt levels and, worst-case scenario, cardiac arrest if continuous vomiting and diarrhea are left untreated.

Returning abusers of fentanyl who have been abstinent have a significant danger of overdosing on the drug because of their diminished tolerance to its effects.

Medically Reviewed:


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Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Factors That May Increase the Risk of Fentanyl Withdrawal

Fentanyl's rewarding properties, like other opioids, make its abuse more probable, both in its illegal and legal guises. Fentanyl binds to opioid receptors in the brain, located in the regions responsible for processing pleasure and mood.


Long-term fentanyl usage is associated with the development of tolerance, which results in the requirement for higher doses of the drug to produce the same effects.


Individuals who abuse fentanyl often report developing a tolerance to the drug, which results in them needing increasingly greater dosages to get the same effects. Fentanyl addiction may develop in certain users over time.


When someone develops a dependency on a substance, their body has adapted physiologically to having that substance present; as a result, they experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to reduce or stop using the drug.


Someone with a high degree of physiological dependency may drink excessively or use drugs compulsively to stave off the unpleasant effects of quitting.


Researchers have shown that fentanyl withdrawal is complicated by some variables that might lead to more severe symptoms and even more bouts of withdrawal. A few examples of them are:


  • Quantity, frequency, and duration of fentanyl usage.

  • The mode of delivery.

  • Combination usage of fentanyl and other drugs is referred to as "polysubstance use."

  • Root causes related to physical and psychological health.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

The length of time fentanyl was used, the amount consumed, and the frequency of usage all have a role in the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and their initiation and longevity.


Withdrawal symptoms often begin between 8 and 24 hours following the last dose of short-acting opioids like heroin and prompt versions of drugs like fentanyl, tramadol, and hydrocodone. These effects often worsen between 2 and 3 days after the last dosage and last for at least one week, sometimes longer.

Drugs like methadone and buprenorphine may aid in reducing the severity of withdrawal from opioids. If you or someone you know is ready to receive assistance for an opioid use problem, talk to your doctor about your choices.

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Detoxification and Therapy for Fentanyl Withdrawal

Detoxification, also known as professionally controlled withdrawal, protects a person's safety and comfort during the process of the body eliminating fentanyl and other narcotics.


Because detox is seldom adequate for long-term sobriety, medical detox from opioids is commonly the initial step of a more comprehensive therapeutic approach.


Opioid abuse therapy differs from patient to patient depending on factors such as the degree of the disease and the patient's specific requirements. Still, all treatments aim to meet the patient's many needs by combining:


  • Evidence-based behavioral therapy

  • Individual counseling

  • Group counseling

  • 12 step groups

How Long Does It Take To Get Over Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Depending on how long and severely someone has been dependent on fentanyl, withdrawal may last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The mode of administration also has a role, as does the dosage and the number of times it is taken.


Short-acting opioid withdrawal symptoms might linger for up to a week. Long-acting opioids and extended-release fentanyl formulations may cause withdrawal symptoms that last up to 2 weeks. It's impossible to generalize since everyone's problems are unique.


Treatment for substance abuse disorders, including detox and withdrawal, is carefully individualized at expert rehab facilities.

Fentanyl Detoxification Drugs

Risk-free, efficient methods are available for treating withdrawal symptoms and curbing drug cravings.


Doctors may prescribe medication not just to assist with the discomfort of withdrawal but also to aid in the long-term management of impulses, sobriety from legal and illegal opioids, and decreased overdose potential. Some examples of these drugs are:


  • Methadone, an opioid agonist, activates the same brain receptors as fentanyl but does not have the same psychoactive effects. When used as directed, methadone alternatively prevents relapse and reduces withdrawal symptoms.


  • Buprenorphine, like fentanyl, an opioid agonist, binds to and temporarily activates opioid receptors, reducing withdrawal symptoms and suppressing urges.

Another therapy that has been shown to aid with fentanyl withdrawal and was authorized by the FDA is lofexidine hydrochloride.


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How Does One Go Through Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Weakness and difficulty during fentanyl withdrawal are common. As opposed to the positive feelings often connected with drug use, this subjective experience is unpleasant. While fentanyl's illegal usage produces sensations of euphoria and exhilaration, coming off of it may bring a wide range of unpleasant physical and mental symptoms.

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How Does One Go Through Fentanyl Withdrawal?
Fentanyl Detoxification Drugs
Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline
Detoxification and Therapy for Fentanyl Withdrawal
How long does it take to get over fentanyl withdrawal?
What is fentanyl withdrawal?
Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal
Factors that may increase the risk of fentanyl withdrawal

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