Fentanyl is an incredibly powerful opioid drug. It is due to its strength that it is so frequently prescribed, as it is primarily for individuals who have already developed a tolerance to other opioid medication and still need a method of continuous pain management (for example, it is often prescribed to cancer patients). Despite its effectiveness at pain relief, using fentanyl outside of the boundaries of its initial prescription can very easily lead to dependency and addiction. At that point, it is difficult to simply stop using fentanyl, and it can even be quite dangerous. Read on for more information about fentanyl withdrawals.
If you have a dependency to fentanyl, then the first withdrawal phase will happen roughly 12 or so hours after your last dose, and could last a couple days. During this period, a person is liable to suffer from mental effects like anxiety, irritability, and potential feelings of depression. In addition, some of the physical effects that start to occur are body cramps and aches, and a watery nose and eyes (similar to the effects of allergies, but far more intense).
After this initial period, other withdrawal symptoms are likely to build up over the course of 5 or so days. During this time, the cramps will continue to flare up, and digestive tract issues are liable to occur, such as diarrhea and vomiting. A consistent feeling of nausea is also common, among other things.
Quitting fentanyl cold turkey can have tumultuous results, depending on how much of a dependency has been built up. Trying to suddenly stop using the drug outside of a medically-supervised environment can have highly negative effects, and can even result in death. Relapses after trying to quite fentanyl are especially dangerous, due to the fact that a person will likely take a dosage that their body is longer used to, which can lead to an overdose.
Because of the dangers of fentanyl withdrawal, it is critical to begin recovery in at a licensed drug detoxification center that can help wean a person off of the drug in a safe, medically supervised environment. After seeking detoxification, a person can safely transition to a longer-term rehab program to heal their addiction.