Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline & Detox

Last Updated: January 8, 2024

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Fentanyl withdrawal can be challenging to overcome on your own, but recovery is possible with help.

If you or a loved one struggle with fentanyl and are thinking about quitting, you may have questions about withdrawal. Fentanyl withdrawal can seem overwhelming, especially if you are tempted to try to do it on your own without medical support. However, withdrawal can be manageable, especially when you have medical assistance to guide you through it. Understanding the fentanyl withdrawal process and the importance of medical detox is key to a successful recovery.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms occur when your brain and body have become used to the drug and you suddenly stop taking it. Your body then struggles to acclimate to being fentanyl-free, and withdrawal symptoms occur during this detox process.

Withdrawal symptoms are common when you quit fentanyl. Symptoms can be both physical and psychological. Certain factors can influence the severity of your withdrawal symptoms, including how long you have been addicted to fentanyl addiction and how much fentanyl you use regularly.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

Many different physical withdrawal symptoms can occur when you stop taking fentanyl. Although not everyone will experience all withdrawal symptoms, symptoms can occur at any point during fentanyl withdrawal and include:

  • Enlarged pupils 
  • Runny eyes and nose
  • Sweating 
  • Goosebumps
  • Yawning
  • Muscle aches 
  • Sleep problems
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Diarrhea

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms can be psychological as well as physical, with a person’s emotions heightened by changes in their brain chemistry that can occur during addiction and withdrawal. People commonly experience psychological withdrawal symptoms like agitation and anxiety when quitting fentanyl. Some people may also experience other mental health symptoms, including depression.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Everyone’s fentanyl withdrawal experience is unique, and the timeframe for fentanyl withdrawal can vary from person to person. However, a general fentanyl withdrawal timeline is:

  • Within 12 hours of the last fentanyl dose: Onset of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms
  • Within 1 to 2 days of the last fentanyl dose: Peak of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms
  • Within 3 to 5 days of the last fentanyl dose: Improvement and resolution of fentanyl withdrawal symptoms
  • Within weeks to months of the last fentanyl dose: Protracted fentanyl withdrawal symptoms may occur in some people. These symptoms include anxiety, depression and insomnia. They typically improve over time.

Professional Fentanyl Detox vs. At-Home Fentanyl Detox

Detox is the process by which your system is cleansed of fentanyl after you quit the drug. Detox can occur in either a medically supervised fentanyl detox setting or an at-home setting. Although you may be tempted by an at-home detox, it can be riskier than a professional fentanyl detox.

At-Home Detox

Quitting fentanyl cold turkey at home is inexpensive. However, they have a big downside. Medically supervised programs are safer and more effective than a cold turkey detox and are linked to higher completion rates. Professional fentanyl detox programs can help wean you off fentanyl safely, helping you avoid complications like potentially fatal dehydration. 

When withdrawal symptoms emerge during an at-home fentanyl detox, they can be hard to manage. This can lead to relapse, increasing your risk of an overdose.

Medically-Assisted Detox

A medically-assisted fentanyl detox program offers you the support of round-the-clock access to doctors and nurses who are fentanyl recovery experts. By managing your withdrawal symptoms as they occur, a medically-assisted detox can increase your chances of long-term sobriety from fentanyl and decrease the chances of complications. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with methadone or buprenorphine-based products can help manage withdrawal symptoms and control cravings. 

Same-Day Admission for Fentanyl Detox in Indianapolis

At The Recovery Village Indianapolis Drug and Alcohol Rehab, we are ready to support you in your fentanyl recovery journey as soon as you choose to quit. As such, we offer same-day admissions for fentanyl detox so that you can get the care you need as soon as you want to.

FAQs About Fentanyl Withdrawal and Detox

Questions are common when a person is undergoing withdrawal from fentanyl and include:

What is fentanyl withdrawal?

When you take fentanyl regularly, your brain and body become used to its presence and begin to expect it. Suddenly quitting the drug can then disrupt this balance, leading your body to need to quickly acclimate. Withdrawal symptoms occur as this re-balancing takes place.

How can I cope with fentanyl withdrawal symptoms?

The best way to cope with fentanyl withdrawal symptoms is to seek medical advice. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for fentanyl withdrawal is the gold standard of care. In MAT, methadone and buprenorphine-based products are prescribed to help ease your withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings, increasing your chances of recovery.

How long does fentanyl stay in your system?

Fentanyl can linger in the body for much longer than the effects of the drug can be felt. A urine test can detect fentanyl between one and three days after the last dose, while blood tests can find fentanyl anywhere from 3 to 12 hours after the last use. A 1.5” hair sample can show if fentanyl was used up to 90 days after the last use.

Can I detox from fentanyl at home?

While you may be tempted to try an at-home fentanyl detox, it is important to only do this under medical supervision and only if your doctor advises it. In an at-home detox, withdrawal symptoms cannot be quickly treated, which increases your risk of complications like potentially fatal dehydration. You may also be tempted to quit detox and start taking fentanyl again, which can increase your risk of overdose.

What is medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD)?

In medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder, medications are used alongside other interventions like therapy to help you overcome your opioid addiction. The first-choice medications that experts recommend for MAT are methadone and buprenorphine-based agents. These medications can be continued indefinitely to help you maintain sobriety if medically appropriate.


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Darke, Shane; Larney, Sarah; Farrell, Michael. “Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal.” Addiction, August 11, 2016. Accessed January 2, 2024.

Gupta, Mohit; Gokarakonda, Srinivasa B.; Attia, Fibi N. “Withdrawal Syndromes.” StatPearls, April 29, 2023. Accessed January 2, 2024.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. “Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition).” January 2018. Accessed January 2, 2024.

ARUP Laboratories. “Drug Plasma Half-Life and Urine Detection Window.” October 2023. Accessed January 2, 2024.

Gryczynski, Jan; Schwartz, Robert P; Mitchell, Shannon D; et al. “Hair Drug Testing Results and Self-reported Drug Use among Primary Care Patients with Moderate-risk Illicit Drug Use.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, May 17, 2014. Accessed January 2, 2024.

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