How to Taper off Oxycodone

Oxycodone is one of several drugs classified as semisynthetic opioids. If that name isn’t quite ringing a bell, then it is possible you might recognize the popular oxycodone brand name: OxyContin. Whatever the preferred moniker, this pill is prescribed by the millions every year to treat patients with moderate and chronic pain. Cancer patients have found its use to be particularly helpful for their pain-management regimens.  

With treatment for chronic pain comes chronic use. Oxycodone is quite often used for extended periods, which opens up the possibility for misuse. In addition to this, oxycodone is the most used of all opioids for recreational purposes. The result of either medical or recreational use can be dependence and substance use disorders.

Over 14,000 individuals succumbed to prescription opioid overdoses in 2016 alone. Though this number is trending downward for prescriptions like oxycodone, the same cannot be said for more potent opioids like heroin or fentanyl. As it turns out, many individuals transition from oxycodone to these cheaper, stronger, deadlier and more readily available alternatives. This makes it all the more vital to seek treatment for oxycodone in a timely fashion.

Treatment of this kind takes many forms. Users entering a rehabilitation center will partake in a medical detoxification to purge their body of the oxycodone. Tapering off oxycodone is one such incremental detox method. Whatever one’s personal reasons for choosing to quit, an oxycodone taper schedule can put them one step closer to permanent recovery.

How to Taper Off Oxycodone | Oxycodone Taper Schedule
Learning how to taper off oxycodone is always preceded by a “why.” Beyond a person’s own reasons, there are two main justifications for why — medically speaking — tapering is a go-to method for oxycodone recovery. Tapers, first and above all else, are used because they lessen or prevent withdrawals. This is beneficial for physicians and patients alike: a comfortable recovery is more likely to be a successful one. And, in the long run, tapering is about reconditioning the body and mind to a lifestyle deprived of oxycodone. Such a process takes time, patience, commitment, and an understanding that setbacks may happen. The first time might not be the charm, as it were — but that should never be a deterrent.    So, if avoiding one is the primary reason for electing to taper, it goes without saying that an oxycodone withdrawal must be agonizing. Though the severity will always vary with each individual, opioid withdrawals are characteristically painful. This is especially the case during the first week or so for opioids like oxycodone. The first two days of the withdrawal are often the most physically uncomfortable. When a person gets past this first hurdle, they will be struck with psychological side effects 3 to 5 days in. Once the week threshold has come and gone, so too will most withdrawal symptoms. There are, of course, always exceptions for long-term prescription and high-dosage recreational users. There are myriad indicators of an oxycodone withdrawal, including:
  • Muscle aching: oxycodone withdrawals are associated with pounding soreness in every region of the body.
  • Flu-like symptoms: opioids, including oxycodone, lead to runny noses, watery eyes, profuse sweating, and fever.
  • Nausea: bouts of gagging and vomiting occur intermittently depending on how severe the withdrawal is.
  • Constipation: nausea often comes coupled with constipation and diarrhea.
  • Disrupted sleep cycles: neurological reprogramming that appears with withdrawal can also lead to insomnia.
  • Cramping and convulsions: abdominal and chest cramps may result during the worst stages.
  • Psychological symptoms: cravings, depression, anxiety, and more can arise as the withdrawal concludes.
Tapering off oxycodone can prevent these withdrawals outright.
Those using oxycodone and their families may be contemplating quitting oxycodone cold turkey. This is the most extreme and rapid detox method possible, and the most dangerous. With stopping cold turkey, the benefit of tapering disappears — withdrawals are not only present but at their absolute worst. Some individuals may feel that they have circumstances preventing medical detox, and this is understandable. However, the ability to have a successful recovery is much higher in a rehabilitation center. Especially when using an oxycodone taper schedule. Generally, physicians will err on the side of gentler, meticulous tapers. These are easier to manage, monitor, and adjust if the need arises. While tapers can reduce overall oxycodone use by 25 percent in a single day, it is often best to proceed slower than that. A more conservative schedule calls for tapers of 10 percent per week to minimize adverse effects. Whenever withdrawal symptoms present themselves, this is usually an indication that the taper is too quick. Fortunately, this can be reversed by raising the oxycodone amount back to the previous dose and progressing at a slower reduction rate from there. Tapering off oxycodone can take days, weeks, months, or even years for those with debilitating substance use disorders. Seasoned medical staff at a rehabilitation center will make the process more straightforward, structured, safe, and ultimately, easier for oxycodone users looking to make a change. Medically assisted detox care is the key to a full recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. At The Recovery Village, all medical detox programs offer 24-hour supervision and healing amenities to ensure you or a loved one can begin the road to healing safely. Call 352.771.2700 today to learn more about a medical detox program near you.   
How to Taper off Oxycodone
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