Fentanyl Withdrawal Timeline

Fentanyl is a potent synthetic opioid that has a strong potential for abuse and addiction.

If you develop an addiction to fentanyl, you will experience aggravating withdrawal symptoms when you discontinue use. Despite fentanyl’s potency, the withdrawal and detox process is similar to withdrawal from other opioids. This guide outlines what to expect during detoxification, and how to kickstart your recovery the right way.


Using fentanyl in any form carries the following risks:

  • Tolerance

  • Dependence

  • Abuse

  • Addiction (opioid use disorder)

The repeated use of fentanyl causes tolerance to form quickly. This means that more fentanyl or more frequent doses are required to deliver the initial effects.

Increasing your consumption of fentanyl will accelerate the development of dependence. If you become physically dependent on this synthetic opioid, withdrawal symptoms will present if you stop using the substance.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms typically manifest around 12 hours after the last dose of fentanyl, usually persisting for seven to ten days.

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) defines addiction as a chronic, relapsing brain condition that involves more than just physical dependence. Fentanyl addiction is characterized by compulsively obtaining and using the substance despite obviously negative outcomes.

The most appropriate treatment for fentanyl addiction will depend on the extent and severity of the addiction.

In almost all cases, engaging with a supervised medical detox program will provide the safest and smoothest pathway to withdrawal and recovery from synthetic opioid addiction.

woman looks out window representing cocaethelyne


The first opioid withdrawal symptoms typically present from 8 hours to 36 hours after the last use of opioids. The onset and duration of fentanyl withdrawal are contingent on the frequency and extent of abuse.

Once symptoms start presenting, fentanyl withdrawal usually occurs along the following timeline.


Fentanyl, like codeine and heroin, is a short-acting opioid. Like all drugs in this classification, withdrawal symptoms normally appear from 8 hours to 36 hours after the last dose. With extended-release oxycodone and other long-acting opioids, by contrast, withdrawal symptoms present from 24 hours to 48 hours after the last use.

During the initial day of fentanyl withdrawal, you might experience the following symptoms:

  • Appetite loss

  • Disrupted sleep patterns

  • Headaches

  • Muscular pains

  • Muscular aches

  • Irritability

  • Aggression

  • Anger

  • Intense cravings for fentanyl


During the second day of fentanyl withdrawal, the above symptoms will persist. You may also experience the following adverse effects:

  • Panic attacks

  • Upset stomach

  • Runny nose

  • Excessive sweating

  • Insomnia


Most fentanyl withdrawal symptoms will peak on the third day of detoxification. The most challenging symptoms during the acute phase of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Vomiting

  • Nausea

  • Diarrhea


With the most acute phase of withdrawal complete, these symptoms may linger:

  • Enlarged pupils

  • Shivering

  • Cramps

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances

  • Fatigue


All withdrawal symptoms should dissipate after a week or so. Sleep patterns may take time to normalize.

Many people report experiencing ongoing fatigue and intermittent episodes of depression during the early phase of recovery from fentanyl addiction.

PAWS (post-acute withdrawal syndrome) involves symptoms that persist for months after quitting fentanyl. The most common of these effects of PAWS include:

  • Irritability

  • Disrupted sleep patterns

  • Fatigue

  • Powerful cravings for fentanyl

  • Depressed mood

Every case of fentanyl addiction is unique, meaning that it is imperative to undergo a comprehensive drug evaluation to establish how long you will require for fentanyl detoxification.

Gratitude lodge house interior representing learning about common side effects of opioids


Although fentanyl has a high potential for abuse, most fentanyl addictions will respond positively to a combination of MAT (medication-assisted treatment) and behavioral interventions.

Medications can streamline the withdrawal process, minimizing the intensity of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Behavioral therapies like counseling and psychotherapy (talk therapy) allow you to work closely with a therapist to identify your personal triggers for fentanyl abuse. You will also develop healthier coping mechanisms with the help of the therapist.

Once you have completed a supervised medical detox at our licensed and accredited facility, you can transition directly into inpatient or outpatient therapy. Choose from a 30-day inpatient program or an intensive outpatient program, depending on your needs and the severity of your fentanyl addiction.

When you complete your treatment program at Gratitude Lodge, your treatment team will equip you with an aftercare plan that includes relapse prevention strategies. We are here to help you from detox to discharge and beyond. Call 800-994-2184 today to initiate your recovery from fentanyl addiction with a supervised clinical detox.