Misuse can create a dependence on the drug as a person’s body adjusts to carfentanil’s presence in the system.

Like with any opioid, becoming physically dependent on carfentanil can lead to withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped. That is because your body begins to expect the drug’s presence when it is physically dependent on it, leading to adverse symptoms when the drug is not taken.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms

Carfentanil withdrawal symptoms are similar to withdrawal symptoms from other opioids. Typical opioid withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hot and or cold flashes
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Watery eyes and nose
  • Diarrhea

Carfentanil Withdrawal Timeline and Symptom Duration

Typically, opioid withdrawal symptoms can begin anywhere from eight to 48 hours after the last dose. Carfentanil has not been extensively studied in humans, so little data is available on a withdrawal symptom timeline.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms of Carfentanil

Due to the severity of withdrawal symptoms, it is always recommended to seek a treatment facility to undergo a carfentanil detox under medical supervision.

Carfentanil Detox

Someone struggling with a carfentanil use disorder should never try to go “cold turkey” and abruptly stop carfentanil intake or try to detox at home. Medically-assisted detox is the safest and often the most effective way to detox from carfentanil addiction.

The detox process involves three main steps.

  • Evaluation: Medical and clinical team members examine the client and discuss the extent of their addiction, including the duration of misuse, what side effects they typically experience. An individual treatment plan will be created based on the client’s specific needs.
  • Detoxification: During detoxification, the body is cleansing itself of all the toxins and substances that contributed to the substance use disorder. During medical detox, professionals monitor and support the client to make the process as safe and comfortable as possible.
  • Transition to next step of treatment: Following detox, clients often transition to an inpatient rehab program, or to outpatient rehab if their addiction is less severe.

Carfentanil Medications

There are medications that can help alleviate withdrawal symptoms during detox. Medication-assisted detoxes should only be administered by medical professionals. A carfentanil detox may include the following medications or treatments:

  • Medically-supervised, 24-hour observation: This type of detox is recommended by The Recovery Village, as it is the safest way to detox. Receiving treatment in the presence of medical professionals ensures that the patient is monitored for any dangerous complications that may occur during detoxification.
  • Methadone maintenance: Methadone is an opioid that is used to alleviate opioid withdrawal symptoms and reduce any opioid cravings.
  • Clonidine and buprenorphine use: These medications are typically used to treat some of the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and help ease cravings.
  • Oral or intravenous fluids: The ingestion or injection of fluids is commonly used to treat dehydration or electrolyte imbalances during detox.

Whether or not an individual receives any of these medically-assisted medications depends on what type of detox or rehab facility they choose and their particular needs.

Carfentanil, like other opioids, can become addictive very quickly, so it’s crucial to get help for yourself or a loved one before it’s too late. The Recovery Village is committed to helping those with substance use disorders get the individualized care they need not only to recover, but to thrive.

Erica Weiman
Editor – Erica Weiman
Erica Weiman graduated from Pace University in 2014 with a master's in Publishing and has been writing and editing ever since. Read more
Jessica Pyhtila
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Jessica Pyhtila, PharmD
Dr. Jessica Pyhtila is a Clinical Pharmacy Specialist based in Baltimore, Maryland with practice sites in inpatient palliative care and outpatient primary care at the Department of Veteran Affairs. Read more
Sources

World Health Organization. “Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings.” 2009. Accessed September 12, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.