Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline, Symptoms, and Treatment - ARISE

According to the CDC, overdose death rates involving synthetic opioids (primarily fentanyl) rose from 57,834 in 2020 to 71,238 in 2021.[1]

Fentanyl is an extremely dangerous synthetic opioid drug that is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. This drug is commonly used as an adulterant in other illicit drugs found on the street, causing thousands of people to die from accidental overdoses each year.

While most people accidentally ingest fentanyl, some individuals begin abusing the drug when they develop a tolerance for heroin. Despite their tolerance for potent opioids, abusing fentanyl still poses a high risk of overdosing because as little as 2 to 3 milligrams of fentanyl is enough to cause fatal consequences.

If you are addicted to fentanyl, you will experience symptoms of withdrawal upon discontinuing the drug. The fentanyl withdrawal timeline varies from one person to another, but most people begin feeling better in less than two weeks. Fentanyl withdrawal must be treated by a professional medical detox center that can provide you with medications to soothe your symptoms and prevent cravings.


Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal

The withdrawal symptoms you experience and their intensity will depend on your personal health factors and your substance abuse history. For example, your body weight, preexisting health level, mental health condition, and how often you were abusing fentanyl all play a role in the severity of your withdrawal symptoms. Additionally, what type of detox treatment you partake in plays a pivotal role in your withdrawal experience.

The symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal include:

  • Flu-like symptoms (runny nose, headache, fever)
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle aches and cramps
  • Stomach pain and gastrointestinal issues
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Weakness and lethargy
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate and changes in blood pressure
  • Respiratory issues
  • Mental health issues like anxiety and depression

Without medically-assisted detox, your fentanyl withdrawal symptoms could become intense, painful, and severe. People who attempt to detox at home often end up relapsing because they have not received the proper coping mechanisms and tools needed to maintain sobriety, but an opioid detox center can keep you comfortable and safe.

The Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

While the fentanyl withdrawal timeline varies from person to person, symptoms typically subside after two weeks maximum. The road to recovery is greatly influenced by your physical and mental health status as well as the treatment options you take advantage of. If you attempt to detox at home, you are more likely to experience a lengthy and severe form of fentanyl withdrawal.

Days 1-2

Sometime between 12 to 48 hours after your last dose, you will begin experiencing symptoms of withdrawal. The early symptoms are usually mild in severity. You can expect to experience insomnia, flu-like symptoms, loss of appetite, and muscle pain during this stage of withdrawal.

Days 2-4

Between the 2nd and 4th after your last dose, you will enter the acute withdrawal phase. This is when your symptoms will be at their most severe. Typically, people experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, mood swings, body aches, and strong cravings for fentanyl.

Days 5-14

The physical symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal will begin to subside between 5 to 14 days after your last dose. However, some of the psychological symptoms may continue to occur. These symptoms may include restlessness, anxiety, depression, insomnia, and irritability.

Unfortunately, the psychological symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal often lead people to relapse when they do not have professional help. This is why attending a medical detox program is so important.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

While fentanyl withdrawal usually lasts 1 to 2 weeks, some individuals may have prolonged symptoms known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This condition can continue to cause symptoms of withdrawal for several weeks and even months. Most of the symptoms of PAWS are psychological, often including anxiety, depression, mood swings, insomnia, lethargy, and exacerbated symptoms of preexisting mental health conditions.

How Does a Medical Detox Program Treat Fentanyl Withdrawal?

While fentanyl withdrawal is not considered life-threatening, it does pose a high risk for relapse. Relapsing on fentanyl after a period of abstinence is extremely dangerous, as many people attempt to take the dosage they were using previously, leading to fatal overdoses. Because of this risk, you must attend a drug detox center that can address your symptoms and help you stay sober.

During medical detox, medical professionals will provide you with FDA-approved medications to soothe your withdrawal symptoms and prevent you from experiencing cravings for fentanyl. This keeps you safe, comfortable, medically stable, and motivated to recover throughout the entire process.

FDA-approved medications for fentanyl withdrawal include:[2]


FDA-Approved Medications for Fentanyl Withdrawal


  • Buprenorphine (Sublocade)
  • Buprenorphine and naloxone (Suboxone and Zubsolv)
  • Methadone (Dolophine and Methadose)
  • Lofexidine (Lucemyra)

In addition to medications, your vital signs will be monitored consistently and you will have access to 24/7 mental health support. Once you complete detox, you will transition into further care, either in an inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment program.

Start Your Recovery at a California Fentanyl Detox Center

If you or a loved one suffer from fentanyl addiction, it’s time to seek help. Fentanyl addiction poses an extreme risk of suffering from a fatal overdose as the drug is highly potent. Attending a medical detox program can put you on the track to long-term sobriety and an overall higher quality of life.

Arise Treatment Center’s drug and alcohol detox program in Vista, California provides a complete medically-supervised approach to opioid withdrawal and recovery. Rather than trying to beat fentanyl addiction on your own, let the professionals at Arise Addiction Treatment Center help you. Contact us today to get started.


  1. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/nchs_press_releases/2022/202205.htm
  2. https://nida.nih.gov/research-topics/trends-statistics/infographics/medications-opioid-overdose-withdrawal-addiction


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