A 2017 study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that about 18 million of the people surveyed had misused prescription drugs at least once in the past year. OxyContin is a prescription drug that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is twice as strong as morphine and has a high potential for drug abuse. People who stop taking OxyContin can experience several symptoms of withdrawal. Here are the signs to look out for and the treatments that can help.
OxyContin Withdrawal Symptoms
Lukasz Junger, PMHNP, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and assistant medical director of Mountainside Treatment Center, tells WebMD Connect to Care that withdrawal symptoms may vary from person to person. You may experience some of the possible symptoms and not others, and you may experience some symptoms more or less intensely than others.
Junger says typical symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal include the following:
- Upset stomach
- Excessive sweating
One dangerous withdrawal symptom is “an increased desire to use the drug again, knowing that it will temporarily stop these withdrawal symptoms,” Junger says.
In addition to physical symptoms, other possible symptoms of OxyContin withdrawal may affect your brain. Anton Bizzell, MD, president and CEO of The Bizzell Group, tells WebMD Connect to Care that mental symptoms of Oxycontin withdrawal can include the following:
- Mood changes
- Altered sleep patterns
Treatments That Help
One way to treat OxyContin withdrawal symptoms is medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
“OxyContin withdrawal symptoms can be treated and stopped with specific medications, such as Suboxone,” Junger says. Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, cancels out the effects of any opioid, helps reduce cravings for the opioid and control withdrawal symptoms.
Junger says other medications that can help with OxyContin withdrawal symptoms include trazodone, hydroxyzine, loperamide, and ibuprofen — depending on the symptoms present.
“Some medical professionals will prescribe low, tapering doses of methadone to alleviate serious withdrawal symptoms,” Jenna Liphart Rhoads, PhD, medical advisor at NurseTogether, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
Taking drugs as prescribed, starting with the lowest dose possible, and sharing any concerns with your doctor may reduce your chance of becoming addicted to a prescription drug and experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Don’t Wait. Get Help Now.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, WebMD Connect to Care Advisors are standing by to help.
Editor's Note: Many advocates have moved away from the term "abuse" in an effort to destigmatize addiction and conditions related to it. However, those experiencing addiction who are interested in locating treatment may encounter the term occasionally.