Fentanyl Withdrawl and Detox

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that is highly addictive, but the fentanyl withdrawal and detox process are similar to other opioids.

According to recent SAMHSA data, the number of people with opioid use disorder is declining in the US, but fentanyl and other synthetic opioids remain a deadly threat.

Understanding Fentanyl Withdrawal

Any use of fentanyl raises the following risks:

Tolerance to fentanyl builds rapidly. Like with other opiates, tolerance can quickly develop. This means you will need to take more fentanyl to achieve the same effects, or you will need to take the drug more frequently.

Once physical dependence sets in, you will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer in your system. These symptoms typically start around 12 hours after the last dose, lasting for a week or so.

NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) defines addiction as a chronic and relapsing condition involving more than physical dependence. Despite clearly adverse outcomes, fentanyl addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking and drug-taking behaviors. For someone with a fentanyl addiction – clinically described as opioid use disorder – obtaining and using the substance becomes the primary driver in life.

The appropriate treatment for fentanyl addiction depends on the scope and severity of the problem.

Like any opioid use disorder, the treatment for fentanyl addiction depends on the severity of the problem. The same applies to fentanyl withdrawal and detox.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

With an opioid withdrawal, the first withdrawal symptoms usually present from 8 to 36 hours after your last dose of the drug.

The onset of fentanyl withdrawal hinges on the dosage being used as well as the frequency of use.

Once symptoms start manifesting, fentanyl withdrawal typically unfolds according to the following timeline.

Day 1 of fentanyl detox

Fentanyl is a short-acting opioid like heroin and codeine. With a long-acting opioid like oxycodone extended-release tablets, withdrawal symptoms appear from 24 to 48 hours after the last dose. This means withdrawal symptoms usually present anywhere from 8 to 24 hours after the last dose.

During the first day of fentanyl withdrawal, you may experience any or all of the following:

Day 2 of fentanyl detox

The second day of fentanyl detox sees a continuation of the above withdrawal symptoms, as well as the following adverse effects:

Day 3 of fentanyl detox

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms will typically peak on the third day of detox. This applies to all short-acting opioids.

The most acute symptoms during this acute phase of opioid withdrawal include:

You can also expect the symptoms to persist during the third day of fentanyl detox.

Day 4 of fentanyl detox

As the most acute phase of fentanyl withdrawal is complete, the following symptoms may linger:

Day 7 of fentanyl detox

After a week of fentanyl detox, all withdrawal symptoms should start to subside. It may take longer for sleep patterns to normalize. It is also commonplace for fatigue to linger and spells of depression.

In the event of PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome), symptoms can persist for several months after discontinuing the use of fentanyl. The most common effects of PAWS are as follows:

How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Last?

While fentanyl detox typically lasts for between 5 and 7 days, some people find withdrawal occurs in more or less time than this.

Every detox is unique, so it is vital to undergo a thorough evaluation to determine how long you will need for fentanyl detoxification.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Fentanyl

Taking opioids long-term, even when taken as directed with a prescription, quickly causes your body to become desensitized to opioids’ pain-relieving and rewarding effects. Tolerance quickly builds, requiring you to increase the amount or frequency of fentanyl doses to generate the same effects.

Sustained opioid abuse triggers changes in the function of some nerve receptors in the brain. With your nerve receptors becoming dependent on opioids, this altered brain chemistry causes the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms in the absence of opioids.

From prescription opioid painkillers through to heroin and fentanyl, opioid withdrawal symptoms are broadly similar, including:

Opioids and opiates are not typically associated with full-blown psychosis. Some people undergoing fentanyl withdrawal may experience hallucinations, delusions, or other psychotic symptoms.

To prevent the occurrence of psychotic symptoms while also minimizing some of the other unpleasant side effects of fentanyl withdrawal, seek medical assistance and consider a medically supervised detox.

Fentanyl Detox

The fentanyl detox process involves safely removing toxic substances and toxic metabolites from the system.

With fentanyl withdrawal, detox is generally performed in a licensed medical detox center or substance abuse treatment center.

Detox can take place in a standalone capacity or as the precursor to residential rehab. With around-the-clock medical care and mental health support, all complications of fentanyl withdrawal can be monitored and minimized.

Medications can help alleviate many of the more intense opioid withdrawal symptoms, and some medications can also reduce the cravings you will experience for fentanyl during detox.

How Long Does it Take to Detox from Fentanyl?

If you’re still wondering how long it takes to detox from fentanyl, this depends on the following variables:

Fentanyl detox will last from 4 to 20 days or more after the last use of fentanyl.

Fentanyl Rehab at California Prime Recovery

Fortunately, despite its strong abuse profile, fentanyl addiction typically responds favorably to an evidence-based combination of medications and psychotherapies.

During fentanyl detox, medications can streamline the intensity of the withdrawal process. At the same time, counseling and talk therapy sessions will help you identify what triggers you to use opioids like fentanyl despite the negative consequences.

At California Prime Recovery, we provide the following outpatient services for substance use disorders like fentanyl addiction:

For most cases of fentanyl addiction, the structure and support of a PHP work best. This is the most intensive form of addiction treatment outside of residential rehab.

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Alyssa Mueller


Alyssa Mueller is an Associate Clinical Social Worker. She holds a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Community Mental Health from California State University of Fullerton as well as a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies with an emphasis on intercultural and interpersonal communication from California State University of Long Beach. Compassion, empowerment and unconditional positive regard are the foundations of her clinical practice, Alyssa has a passion for helping others and her priority is to hold space for clients to feel heard, to feel safe and to find fulfillment and self-love on their recovery journey. Alyssa specializes in addiction treatment, self-esteem building, mindfulness practices, grief and loss, trauma informed care, and self-compassion as well as individual and family therapy. She has extensive experience working with high risk populations in various clinical settings such as partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, outpatient treatment, schools, and community outreach. Alyssa uses a client centered and holistic approach to address the client as a whole person in order to help them to feel empowered and facilitate their confidence and independence.

Charee Marquez

LMFT - Clinical Director

Charee has worked in the recovery field for 10 years.Charee is dedicated to supporting and inspiring clients to live a healthy lifestyle filled with meaning and purpose.Charee has extensive clinical experience within the recovery field in both inpatient and outpatient settings.She specializes in working with individuals and families affected by the disease of addiction however she has also clinical experience in assisting individuals,couples and families in working through a variety of concerns,including: depression,anxiety,relationship & communication issues,substance abuse,grief & loss,trauma, life transitions, and many others.Charee works with each client to specialize their treatment plan with what works best for the client in a compassionate and effective way. She emphasizes the strength of every individual client and fosters an environment of personal growth and internal healing from a mind, body and spiritual approach.Charee received her Bachelor of Arts from Seton Hall University, Majoring in Psychology and Minoring in Women and Gender Studies, in addition to her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from the University of Southern California.

Stephen Carmel

Founder & CEO

I began my journey to recovery back in 2011 when I moved to California from New York.Along wiht my recovery and beginning a new way of life,I began to develop a heart for others struffling with sobriety.My journey to California was filled with many trials and lessons learned, but most of all, personal growht.I truly believe i would not have found success if I didn’t come to California.I started CPR as a way to work with people in recovery on a daily basis and it evolved into something much more beautiful. I have also come to realize that my own personal happiness and recovery depends on being involved in the lives of people in recovery. Helping others recover is a cornerstone of many 12 step programs, as it is here. Giving back to those still suffering, is the only way not to lose what you have gained. It is the paradox that we live by every day.