Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms Duration

Fentanyl, which is a Schedule II drug that can be prescribed in medical situations, is also one of the most potent opioids available. It’s intended to be prescribed to patients with chronic pain, particularly from cancer, who are already tolerant to other opioid pain medicines. Fentanyl, like other opioids, is extremely addictive, and there is a high potential for abuse.

With abuse comes dependence, and that leaves many people wondering what is the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms duration and timeline?

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms Duration
So what causes fentanyl withdrawal?

It’s the same general idea as what happens with other opioids. First, people take fentanyl, whether as instructed by a doctor, or illicitly. Their brain is flooded with dopamine as the drug binds to their opioid receptors, and it activates their brain’s reward centers. This creates a euphoric rush. The brain then wants to continue seeking whatever it is that created this feeling, so there is in a sense positive reinforcement to continue using and abusing the drug.

As this goes on, a person will build what’s called a tolerance to the drug. When this happens, there is the need to take increased fentanyl doses to get the same effect, such as the euphoria. This is incredibly dangerous with any drug but in particular, fentanyl, because it can be 100 times more potent than morphine.

Over time as you continue to use fentanyl your body gets used to it, and then there’s a physical dependence. You don’t necessarily have to show signs of being addicted or even having psychological cravings to be physically dependent on any drug, including fentanyl. In fact, people often develop a physical dependence when they’re using this drug in a prescribed way.

Before looking at the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms duration, a bit about fentanyl withdrawal in general.

Symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can include:

  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Chills, fever or goosebumps
  • Coughing
  • Exhaustion
  • Cognitive problems
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Aches and pain
  • Adnominal cramps
  • Gastrointestinal problems including diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
  • Irritation
  • Mood problems
  • Cravings

People going through withdrawal often experience what can feel like depression or a void of feelings as well, because of how the opioid impacted their dopamine and neurotransmitters responsible for how their brain experiences pleasure. This can last longer than many of the other side effects of withdrawal from fentanyl.

So, if you want to know the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms duration, it varies depending on the individual, but the following are some general things that someone can expect:

  • Withdrawal symptoms from opioids including fentanyl usually begin anywhere from 12 to 30 hours after the last dose is taken.
  • With a fentanyl patch, since it’s an extended release medicine, this can be longer. Withdrawal would usually start within about a day of removing the patch.
  • Some of the early signs of withdrawal from opioids can include the anxiety, insomnia, muscle aches and runny nose.
  • Anywhere from two to four days after the last dose of fentanyl is when the peak effects of withdrawal are often seen. This is when the symptoms are most likely to involve the gastrointestinal system and may include nausea and vomiting.
  • Within about a week, most of the symptoms come to an end, although as was mentioned above, people can experience emotional issues for a while after they stop using fentanyl. These are often called post-acute withdrawal symptoms, and they may occur for a few months after stopping fentanyl.
Weaning or tapering off fentanyl can be beneficial. It may extend the overall period of withdrawal, but it reduces the severity of the withdrawal symptoms a person may experience. Tapering off fentanyl should be done in a medically supervised environment, and a physician will create a plan to slowly lower doses of fentanyl until a person can stop completely.

This can also help alleviate some of the risks of withdrawal from fentanyl such as aspiration, dehydration, and relapse.

To conclude and answer how long is the fentanyl withdrawal symptoms duration, the acute symptoms usually last around a week, while the post-acute symptoms may persist for a few months, depending on the individual and their level of fentanyl use.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms Duration
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