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How to Detox from Oxycodone
Oxycodone is a powerful opioid drug. It is the basis for various prescription painkillers you’ll find on the market today, including Percocet and OxyContin. Like any other opiate, oxycodone is highly addictive, and causes users to develop a tolerance. This means that as time goes on, they need more and more of it just to achieve the same effects—in some ways, a marketing miracle for its producers, but a serious public health problem for everyone else.
Once a user has become dependent on oxycodone, quitting typically means painful withdrawal symptoms. In fact, the intense experience of these kinds of oxycodone withdrawal symptoms is what causes some people to relapse. Others keep using so they can still feel like their “normal” selves.
Oxycodone itself goes by more than one name, because it has been marketed as part of many different formulations:
OxyContin is by far the most well-known and popular formulation, in part because it is a time-release version of the drug. This means that it lasts longer when taken as directed. Doctors initially believed that this long-acting formulation would help stem the tide of oxycodone abuse and overdoses, but this has not been the case.
Why is Oxycodone Prescribed?
Oxycodone is generally prescribed to alleviate moderate to severe pain. Oftentimes, oxycodone extended-release tablets and capsules are prescribed to individuals who require round-the-clock pain medication. These tablets and capsules are intended for use to treat pain on an as-needed basis, and they should only be taken by individiuals who are tolerant to opioid medications.
Additionally, oxycodone may be prescribed in conjunction with acetaminophen, aspirin, and/or ibuprofen. It also should not be used by people who are dealing with asthma or breathing problems or a stomach or intestinal blockage.
Oxycodone has been shown to stop or slow down a person’s breathing, and it can be habit-forming. Furthermore, extended misuse of oxycodone may lead to addiction, overdose, or death.
Is Oxycodone Addictive?
Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid that delivers a sudden rush of dopamine to the brain. This causes a euphoric high, one that may lead to oxycodone addiction.
Sometimes, people who are prescribed oxycodone abuse the drug. These individuals search for ways to illegally acquire oxycodone after their prescriptions run out.
There are three ways that people misuse oxycodone: orally, intranasally, and intravenously. For those who want to achieve an oxy high as quickly as possible, they may chew oxycodone pills that absorb directly into the bloodstream. Meanwhile, oxycodone addicts may crush pills into a powder and snort it through the nose. Other oxycodone addicts may even crush oxycodone pills into a powder and mix it with water. Then, they will put the oxycodone mixture into a syringe and inject it directly into a vein.
Oxycodone addiction is a serious problem that cannot be ignored. The longer a person takes to address an oxy addiction, the more physical, emotional, and psychological damage that he or she may cause over time.
What is the Difference Between Oxycodone and Hydrocodone?
Oxycodone and hydrocodone may sound similar at first, but these prescription medications are very different from one another. Like oxycodone, hydrocodone is a powerful narcotic that may be prescribed for pain relief. Research indicates oxycodone and hydrocodone deliver similar pain-relieving benefits, and both prescription medications are addictive. Conversely, hydrocodone is more likely than oxycodone to lead to constipation following initial use. Oxycodone users are also more likely to experience side effects like dizziness, drowsiness, headaches, and feelings of euphoria in contrast to their hydrocodone counterparts.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Oxycodone Use?
If you’re worried that a loved one or friend may be using or abusing oxycodone, look for these signs and symptoms of oxycodone abuse:
- A need for high doses of the drug to manage the same pain symptoms (tolerance)
- Criminal or antisocial behavior to acquire more oxycodone
- “Doctor shopping,” visiting many doctors to acquire more oxycodone
- Dry mouth
- Extreme drowsiness, sometimes falling asleep in a public place
- Hoarding oxycodone
- Low blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Pinpoint pupils, or dilated pupils with overdose
- Respiratory suppression
Remember, for many people with an oxycodone addiction, it didn’t start out that way. In fact, many oxycodone abusers started by taking the drug exactly as their doctor prescribed it. Therefore, if you see signs of a problem, don’t think that the presence of a prescription means you must be wrong.
What are the Risks and Effects of Oxycodone Abuse?
There are numerous risks and effects of oxycodone abuse. Most depend on how long the person has been using, and how much.
In the short term, the effects of oxycodone are the same as those for typical opiates:
- Constipation, laxative use
- Itchiness, especially around nose and face
- Pinpoint pupils
Signs of addiction are also something to look out for, even though they are not specific to oxycodone. Some indicators of addiction include:
- Putting behaviors intended to help them get the drug before everything else
- Neglecting family, health, relationships, work, and other responsibilities
- Theft of money or valuables, even from close relatives and friends
- Avoidance of responsibility, tendency to blame other people or things for every problem
Any time you use any opiate, including oxycodone, overdosing is a risk. In fact, overdose is a potentially fatal consequence of oxycodone abuse. All opiates suppress respiration, making breathing more difficult. This is typically the cause of death in overdose cases. You’re at even more risk for an overdose when you’re using more than one substance that slows respiration or makes it more difficult, such as alcohol, a benzodiazepine, or other opiates.
Some signs of oxycodone overdose include:
- Aspiration of vomit (breathing vomit into the lungs)
- Constricted pupils that don’t react to light
- Cyanotic, or bluish appearance to fingernails and lips
- Difficult or slowed breathing
- Drifting in and out of consciousness
- Extreme sedation, can’t wake up
- Nausea and vomiting
- Passing out cold
- Respiratory arrest
- Unresponsiveness, even to painful stimuli
Long-term effects of oxycodone are also disturbing. Oxycodone is an opioid receptor agonist, which means it increases dopamine activity in certain parts of the brain. Dopamine is a crucial neurotransmitter in the brain which is linked to the reward system in the brain. Once the brain associates the dopamine activity with use of the drug, it will do what it can to repeat the experience. And although over time it’s possible to become sober, tolerance and dopaminergic changes remain.
Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms
If you are a habitual oxycodone user and you cannot get your dose, you can expect to experience oxycodone withdrawal symptoms, much like someone addicted to heroin will experience withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms appear soon after your last dose and are likely to mirror how high your doses were and how long you were taking the drug in their severity. Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms include:
- Excessive sweating
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, body aches, respiratory trouble, and chills
- Increased heart rate
- Muscle and bone pain
- Restlessness, agitation
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Vomiting and nausea
Symptoms of withdrawal for any drug with oxycodone as its active ingredient, such as painkillers like OxyContin and Percocet, will be similar.
Oxycodone Detox Timeline
The time at which withdrawal symptoms and oxycodone detox lasts is different for every user. The timeline is typically closely related to the amount of your doses, how long you were addicted, and how frequently you used. Symptoms usually begin six to 24 hours after your final dose. Oxycodone withdrawal symptoms peak within the first few days. For most users, the more painful symptoms start to lessen by the first week’s end. However, for some users, intense physical and psychological oxycodone withdrawal symptoms can last weeks or even years after the use stops.
Days 1 to 2: Withdrawal starts within a few hours of the final dose. The first oxycodone withdrawal symptoms usually include joint and muscle aches, extreme sweating, and nausea. This is the most common time for relapse.
Days 3 to 5: The worst oxycodone withdrawal symptoms typically end before this period or are ending now. During this time common symptoms include muscle and joint pain, nausea, vomiting. tremors and cramps.
Days 6 to 7: Physical oxycodone withdrawal symptoms start to taper off, but psychological oxycodone withdrawal symptoms are stronger than before. During this stage of oxycodone detox, anxiety and depression are very challenging. You may also still experience nausea and diarrhea.
Day 8 onward: The oxycodone is now clear of your body, and the physical detox is technically complete. During this period, remorse and guilt is frequent, as users consider the things they did while they were using. This period demands close supervision to help recovering patients avoid relapse and dangerous decisions.
How Long does Oxycodone Withdrawal Last?
On average, it takes between 3.5 hours and 5.5 hours for oxycodone to exit the body. It can take up to 20+ hours for any given person to completely remove any oxycodone metabolites from their body.
Oxycodone can usually be detected in the saliva within 15 to 30 minutes of an initial dosage. It may remain detectable in saliva for several days.
While oxycodone is a short acting opioid (SAO) with a relatively short half-life. Following an oxycodone dose, metabolites of oxy can be detected in the blood for up to several days after last use. Clearance of Oxycodone is mediated by dosage, the individual’s age, metabolism, kidney and liver health, as well as multiple additional factors.
Oxycodone remains in the urine and hair as well. It can be detected in a person’s urine for up to four days following initial use, and it can be detected in a person’s hair up to 90 days after consumption.
Finding an Oxycodone Treatment Program
As you can see, oxycodone detox is no simple matter. Clear Sky Recovery has an amazing track record for success and a science-based approach with a holistic range of services. Contact Clear Sky today to learn why we are your absolute best choice among oxycodone treatment programs.
Dr. Sola is one of the world’s leading experts in medically-based ibogaine treatment; he has more clinical experience with safe and effective ibogaine administration than any other M.D. in the world today.