Fentanyl Withdrawal: Symptoms, Timeline, and Overdose

fentanyl withdrawal timeline
What are the Symptoms of Fentanyl Withdrawal

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid medication prescribed to treat severe pain, typically after surgery. It is also sometimes used to treat chronic pain. Unfortunately, because of its potency, fentanyl can be easily abused. When misused, fentanyl can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. And, when someone tries to quit using fentanyl, they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

If you or someone you know is struggling with fentanyl addiction, it is important to seek professional help. Withdrawal from fentanyl can be dangerous and should always be done under the care of a medical professional.

What Are the Symptoms of a Fentanyl Withdrawal?

If you try to stop using fentanyl or lower your dose too quickly suddenly, you may experience withdrawal symptoms ranging from mild to severe. The symptoms may manifest in the following cases:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Chills
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Increased body temperature
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Muscle or bone pain

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity but typically include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, cold sweats, muscle aches, and increased heart rate. While not typically life-threatening, the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable. The severity of symptoms depends on the amount, duration, and type of opioid drug used and any underlying physical and mental health conditions.

Opioid withdrawal can cause severe dehydration, leading to elevated blood sodium levels and potentially heart failure. If someone quits using opioids for a while and then starts again, they are more likely to overdose because their body is no longer used to the drug.

Understanding the Timeline of a Fentanyl Withdrawal

Withdrawal from fentanyl can be severe and uncomfortable, including anxiety, agitation, muscle aches and pains, sweating, increased tear production, runny nose, gastrointestinal upset, and insomnia. These symptoms typically begin within a few hours to a few days after the last dose of fentanyl is taken and can last for several days to a week.

Short-acting opioids cause withdrawal symptoms eight to 24 hours after the last use. These symptoms peak 36 to 72 hours after the last dose and usually last seven to ten days but may last for a few weeks. Methadone and buprenorphine are two types of medication that can help ease the symptoms of acute opioid withdrawal. If you or someone you care about is ready to seek help for an opioid use disorder, talk to your healthcare provider about your options.

What Are the Causes and Risk Factors of a Fentanyl Withdrawal?

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid drug that can lead to misuse and addiction. The drug binds to the body’s opioid receptors, which are found in areas of the brain that control pain and emotion. Prolonged use of fentanyl can cause tolerance and dependence.

In other words, dependence refers to the body’s adaptation to a substance. When an individual cuts back on their substance use or stops using it entirely, withdrawal symptoms occur. With severe dependence, a person may continue to use the substance to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms compulsively.

How Long Does Fentanyl Last in the Body?

Fentanyl is a short-acting opioid, which will create effects and stay in the body for less time than long-acting opioids. The effects of fentanyl will depend on how you use it and how much you use it. Generally, the drug will start working within 30 minutes, and the effects can last up to three days.

The method of administration of a drug can have a significant impact on the effects of the drug as well as its potential for addiction. Smoking or injecting a substance directly into the bloodstream allows it to reach the brain very quickly, resulting in a more intense high. This also increases the risk of developing an addiction to the drug.

When a drug is absorbed through the mucous membranes in your mouth or nose, it enters your bloodstream more slowly than if it were injected. Swallowing a drug is the slowest method of administration because it must first pass through your stomach and intestine before it reaches your bloodstream and then your brain.

How long fentanyl stays in the body usually depends on its administered method. Since it provides a quick and intense high, people are more likely to become addicted to it.

  • Injected: Injected fentanyl can produce effects that last for a short period, typically around 30 minutes to one hour.
  • Mouth or Nose: Transmucosal fentanyl is a medication absorbed through the mouth or nose and produces effects lasting 2-4 hours.
  • Skin: Fentanyl absorbed through the skin can produce effects lasting up to 72 hours.

How Long Before Fentanyl Clears from the Body?

Fentanyl stays in your system for an unpredictable amount of time. It is generally thought to take longer to clear from your body than other opioids. According to research, opioids like heroin may only stay in the body for a few days, while fentanyl byproducts can be detected for up to two weeks.

It seems that it takes a while for the body to remove fentanyl. Levels remain stable for the first few days but start to decrease on the sixth day. If you only use fentanyl once or twice, your body can process and remove it much faster than if you use it frequently in high doses. In some cases, fentanyl use may be detectable in your body up to 26 days after you last used it.

how long does fentanyl stay in urine
Fentanyl Withdrawal

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a very powerful opioid pain medication. It is similar to morphine but much more potent. It is prescribed to treat severe pain, such as the pain that people experience immediately after surgery. Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids are also made and used illegally.

Fentanyl is a dangerous synthetic opioid that is often involved in overdose deaths. It is becoming more common in the United States, and data shows that overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids increased from 70,029 in 2020 to 80,816 in 2021. Fentanyl is highly addictive, and its potency makes it a very dangerous drug.

How Much Fentanyl Is Fatal?

Fentanyl is a dangerous drug that addicts often abuse. It is very difficult to determine a safe amount to use, as it affects people differently and can be combined with other drugs, which makes it even more dangerous. Any use of fentanyl carries a risk of death.

What Are the Signs of Fentanyl Overdose?

A fentanyl overdose is a fatal medical emergency that can cause a person to stop breathing and go into a coma. The effects of fentanyl on the brain can also slow down the function of other major organs, including the heart, kidneys, and lungs, as well as a person’s motor function. If you or someone you know is experiencing a fentanyl overdose, it is important to call 911 immediately.

Fentanyl is a powerful drug that can cause dangerous side effects. If someone takes a potent dose of fentanyl, they may experience coma, small pupils, and difficulty breathing. If these symptoms are present simultaneously, it is very likely that the person overdoses and needs immediate medical care. Other dangerous side effects of fentanyl that can lead to death include stupor, cold and clammy skin, cyanosis (blue skin), seizures, and respiratory failure.


Fentanyl withdrawal can be a difficult and uncomfortable process. However, with proper medical care and support, it is possible to manage the symptoms and overcome the addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with fentanyl addiction, please seek help from a professional treatment center.