Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, and Treatment

Opioid use disorders are becoming increasingly common, wreaking havoc on communities across the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids were responsible for 80,411 overdose deaths in 2021.

One of the most potent opioid drugs is called fentanyl. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is used to treat severe pain once a patient is tolerant of lesser opioids. Unfortunately, criminal drug manufacturers have begun creating their own version of fentanyl, referred to as illegally manufactured fentanyl (IMF). 

Whether you are abusing prescription fentanyl or IMF, you might be wondering what withdrawal is like. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms often feel like a severe flu. Your symptoms could begin within 12 hours of your last dose and last anywhere from 5 days to 2 weeks. 

The fentanyl withdrawal timeline can be hard to cope with and long-lasting, so you should always attend medical detox. These programs will treat fentanyl addiction using FDA-approved medications to manage withdrawal symptoms and prevent cravings. 

What are the Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Fentanyl is an opioid, so it will cause the common opioid withdrawal symptoms. You might feel like you have a really bad flu, experience intense cravings, and be at an increased risk of severe dehydration. The symptoms can be so difficult to cope with that they lead to a relapse without medical intervention. 

The common symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Flu-like symptoms including headaches, fevers, and runny nose 
  • Insomnia or restlessness
  • Muscle aches and pains 
  • Joint and bone pain 
  • Gastrointestinal issues like stomach aches
  • Fatigue and body weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Respiratory concerns 
  • Mental health symptoms like anxiety or severe depression
  • Cravings for fentanyl 

Long-term abuse of fentanyl will result in addiction. This means that you will experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it. Detoxing from fentanyl can be excruciating without medical assistance so you should always seek help from an addiction treatment center. 

Understanding the Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

The fentanyl withdrawal timeline varies from person to person, often due to factors like how long you were abusing fentanyl and the dose you were taking. Many people follow a general timeline that can help you understand the fentanyl withdrawal syndrome fully. 

The fentanyl withdrawal timeline is as follows:

Early Symptoms: 12 to 48 Hours

You will begin to experience symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal between 12 to 48 hours after your last dose. The severity of your substance abuse will impact how quickly you experience symptoms. Usually, the early symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal are mild, including symptoms like insomnia, muscle aches, loss of appetite, and cravings.

Peak Symptoms: 2 to 4 Days

Sometime between the 2nd and 4th day of withdrawal, your symptoms will peak and be at heir most severe. During this time, you should be receiving detox services within an inpatient or outpatient program. 

Peak symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal may include vomiting, diarrhea, adverse mental health symptoms, body aches, blood pressure issues, and strong cravings for fentanyl. Detox programs will provide medications to lessen these symptoms and prevent your cravings from becoming severe. 

End Symptoms: 5 to 14 Days 

Between 5 to 14 days, your symptoms will begin to subside. Usually, this happens over time, with many people experiencing mild symptoms by 7 days before they completely subside in the second week. Most of the physical symptoms will subside first, leaving you to cope with insomnia, anxiety, and depression. 

It is possible to experience lingering mental health symptoms for longer than 2 weeks. You could develop a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Medical detox and addiction treatment programs will use evidence-based treatments to help you cope with PAWS. 

How is Fentanyl Withdrawal Treated?

Fentanyl withdrawal is usually not life-threatening, however, dehydration can become fatal without treatment. In other words, you should never attempt to overcome fentanyl withdrawal without professional help. 

During a detox program, your history of fentanyl addiction will be assessed. The medical team will come up with a treatment plan based on your needs. Once your treatment plan is created, you will begin the detox process. 

Detox programs use a combination of medical monitoring and medications to treat fentanyl withdrawal. Nurses will regularly check your vital signs and promptly treat any abnormalities, like a spike in blood pressure. In addition, doctors will prescribe FDA-approved medications to manage your symptoms of withdrawal. 

The medications commonly used to treat fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Suboxone 
  • Methadone
  • Lucemyra 
  • Clonidine 

These medications will be given on a tapering basis. As your symptoms lessen, so will the dose of the medication you are on. Eventually, you will no longer need the medications when you overcome fentanyl withdrawal. 

Once your withdrawal symptoms have subsided, you will either transition into an inpatient fentanyl rehab center or an outpatient treatment program. These addiction treatment centers help you address the root causes of your addiction and develop important relapse-prevention skills. 

Get Connected to a Fentanyl Detox Program

If you or a loved one suffers from fentanyl addiction, it’s time to seek help. The first step in overcoming an addiction is a medical detox program. At The Living Room, we offer both medical detox and outpatient care.

Contact us today to learn more about how fentanyl detox works and begin your journey of recovery. 

Send Us a Message

We're Here To Help!


Start a Conversation

More than anybody, we understand that reaching out for help can be difficult. If you have any questions about our programs, services or the recovery process itself; please connect with us now. We are here to provide guidance and support… every step of the way.

Scroll to Top