OxyContin is a brand name for a specific painkiller formulation using oxycodone and ingredients to control the prescription painkiller’s release over several hours. This opioid medication was designed to treat chronic pain requiring full-day management, so people who take this drug as prescribed only need to take their dose once or twice per day instead of several times per day. Arthritis, cancer, and other chronic pain conditions may all lead to an OxyContin prescription.
Because OxyContin is so potent, however, the drug has contributed to the severe opioid epidemic that the United States and much of the world struggle with. Although consuming this drug orally means the time-release aspects of the drug work, people who are opioid-naïve may be able to get high by taking the pills by mouth. People who struggle with higher-dose, longer-term opioid addiction are more likely to crush and snort OxyContin, leading to a rapid, intense high similar to heroin.
Detoxing from OxyContin requires medical supervision to manage symptoms. While opioid withdrawal is not physically dangerous, it can be uncomfortable, and people who attempt to detox without help are at a substantial risk for relapse and overdose.
OxyContin and the Withdrawal Timeline
- Early stage
- These are the initial physical symptoms after the person’s body metabolizes the last of the opioid out. The half-life of OxyContin is about 4.5 hours, so the early withdrawal symptoms associated with this phase will begin 8-12 hours after the final dose of the drug. These initial withdrawal symptoms include cravings, anxiety, and physical symptoms that feel like a cold or the flu.
These physical symptoms include:
- Muscle aches
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Excessive yawning
- Involuntary twitches
- Dilated pupils
The early symptoms will likely last for 1-3 days.
- The middle phase of the opioid withdrawal process involves a peak in the intensity of symptoms. These begin anywhere between the second and fourth days of withdrawal and then begin to gradually subside. Psychological symptoms may become more intense, too. Withdrawal symptoms during this period include:
- Other stomach issues
- Slightly elevated blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature
- Mood swings from anxiety to depression
- Later stage
- After a week to 10 days, the person will feel better. After peak symptoms, these will gradually subside until physical symptoms disappear. Psychological symptoms like cravings, depression, anxiety, and nervousness may take longer to go away. If these symptoms do not dissipate in another week, they may be related to a mental health condition, so speak to a therapist or addiction specialist about the experience.
Get Help Overcoming OxyContin Abuse
Although there are few life-threatening symptoms from opioid withdrawal, it is important to get medical help to safely detox from OxyContin. People who have underlying heart conditions or a risk of seizure disorders may trigger these problems, but more than that, people who do not get supervision for the detox process are at a great risk for overdose.OxyContin is a powerful drug that can cause an intense euphoria, and it is highly addictive. Without help to detox from OxyContin, a relapse back into opioid addiction could lead to death when the person consumes too much of the drug.