Oxycodone is a strong prescription opioid painkiller. Users of this drug typically develop a tolerance to it if they take it for some time and will need higher amounts to get the same effects. Once someone becomes dependent on Oxycodone and they try to quit using the drug, it results in potentially painful and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
It is common for some people to relapse during the withdrawal process due to the severity of the symptoms. Others will keep using Oxycodone to avoid these withdrawal symptoms and feel “normal”. The best way to conduct an oxycodone detox successfully and safely is to seek help in an outpatient or inpatient rehab center with a medical detox program.
A doctor might prescribe opioids to help a patient overcome a few days of extreme pain after a traumatic injury or surgery. Opioid painkillers are also used to treat chronic non-cancer and cancer-related pain when other treatments have proven unsuccessful.
If you have been taking Oxycodone for less than two weeks, it is essential to stop using it as soon as the prescription runs out, if not before. Ask your physician if you are unsure about when to stop taking your medications.
Anyone using Oxycodone or any other opioid painkiller for longer than two weeks might need to stop taking them as soon as possible to prevent severe consequences. Common indications that you need to stop taking Oxycodone include:
- Significant side effects.
- Behaviors related to addiction or abuse.
- Reduced pain relief from the same dose over time.
Do not attempt to quit using Oxycodone alone because opioid withdrawal symptoms can be severe and dangerous. When it is time to stop using this medication, make sure you ask for assistance from your doctor to develop a medication withdrawal schedule or a taper. This taper will help you gradually reduce the dosage of Oxycodone you are taking until it is safe enough to quit altogether.
Depending on the dosage of Oxycodone you have been taking and the duration you’ve been taking the drug, it can take months or weeks to safely and gradually reduce your intake and get off the medication.
Stopping oxycodone use can be challenging, but it is still possible. Your chances for success will be higher if you collaborate with your healthcare team and your doctor, learn other coping mechanisms for pain, handle your symptoms, and plan a taper schedule.
What Does A Safe Oxycodone Detox Taper Involve?
The right duration for an opioid taper will differ with each person and the specific medication you are using. Your physician will prescribe an oxycodone taper schedule addressing your medical needs while reducing your health risks during the process.
During the oxycodone taper, your doctor will do the following to ensure everything goes safely:
- Prescribe other drugs to help you deal with withdrawal symptoms and signs such as mood disturbances, appetite and sleep problems.
- Introduce other pain management therapies as necessary
- Speak to your family members, pharmacist, or other healthcare providers to get any information that can help with the drug taper (with your permission, of course)
- Ask for blood or urine samples to check for the amount of Oxycodone and any other substances within your system.
- Monitor your temperature, blood pressure, and pulse regularly.
It is best to follow your oxycodone withdrawal plan precisely as instructed by your doctor – this involves knowing when and how to take your medication during the oxycodone taper. Even though you might be eager to achieve your sobriety goal, the body still needs time to get used to the reduced amount of Oxycodone and then proceed to none.
Reducing your current dosage gradually during oxycodone detox helps the process go well while easing the discomfort experienced as you stop taking the medication. This time during the treatment will allow you to gain new skills for managing pain and other chronic symptoms.
Medication-Assisted Treatment During Oxycodone Detox
Attending an opioid treatment program can be particularly beneficial for people with a history of chronic oxycodone relapse. Such a treatment program is known as Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) which commonly involves using drugs such as Suboxone or Methadone.
Given that oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can be severe, an oxycodone taper can help to alleviate these symptoms by gradually reducing the dose over time during medical detox. During a medically-managed detox, the patient’s healthcare team will employ other medication to trick the brain into believing it is getting Oxycodone when it’s not. This strategy also helps minimize the severity of most withdrawal symptoms.
Medications used during an oxycodone detox include Clonidine, which helps to ease irritability, restlessness, anger, agitation, and anxiety as the user goes through the most uncomfortable and intense withdrawal phase. Suboxone is a drug made from buprenorphine and naloxone, which can help to reduce cravings and withdrawal pain.
The oxycodone withdrawal symptoms will differ based on each person. The withdrawal symptoms during an oxycodone detox can be severe if one has other mental or physical health problems. It is even more critical for people suffering from co-occurring health conditions to have medical supervision throughout the detox process.
Some oxycodone users might experience a chronic relapse during the detox or rehabilitation process. Vivitrol or Naltrexone can be helpful in such cases. This medication is an opiate blocker that keeps the person from getting high when using any opiate drug, in this case, Oxycodone. Naltrexone can be administered as a monthly shot or in pill form.
Even after completing one’s rehab treatment program, there is always the possibility of relapse into oxycodone use. This is why it is best to have a recovery treatment plan as you transition into the world outside detox and rehab.