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How to Safely Detox From Tapentadol: Avoid Dangerous Methods

Peter Manza, PhD profile image
Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD • Updated Nov 17, 2023 • 15 cited sources

If you’ve been misusing tapentadol, Medication for Addiction Treatment (MAT) is recommended to safely detox from the opioid, manage tapentadol withdrawal symptoms, and effectively enter recovery.[1] 

If you’ve been taking tapentadol as prescribed for a while but want to stop using it, a tapered approach to detox, under medical supervision, works best.[2]

How Long Does It Take to Detox From Tapentadol?

With MAT, you’ll bypass the majority of the withdrawal process. Once you begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms from tapentadol, you’ll initiate Suboxone use. This will greatly reduce the intensity of withdrawal, often eliminating symptoms altogether.[3]

If you go through a traditional detox process, you can expect a longer withdrawal timeline. There will be individual differences based on average dose taken, personal metabolism and other factors, but this is a rough timeline you can expect:[4-6]

Days 1–3

Withdrawal symptoms begin and build. This is often one of the most challenging aspects of the tapentadol detox process. Symptoms include anxiety, nausea, muscle cramps, insomnia and diarrhea.

Days 4–7

Withdrawal symptoms remain intense for a few days, but by the end of the first week, acute withdrawal symptoms usually begin to subside. However, some people may still experience lingering symptoms, such as fatigue, mood swings and difficulty concentrating.

Weeks 2–4

During this period, the body continues to adjust to the absence of tapentadol. While physical symptoms have largely dissipated, psychological symptoms may be intense, such as anxiety, depression and mood swings. The risk of relapse during this period remains high.

Beyond Month 1

Most acute withdrawal symptoms should have resolved by this stage, but some people may experience protracted withdrawal symptoms, commonly referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). These symptoms can include mood disturbances, sleep issues and intermittent cravings for tapentadol. The duration of PAWS can vary significantly, lasting anywhere from several weeks to months.

Is Detox From Tapentadol Dangerous?

Tapentadol is an opioid analgesic that is often prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain, both chronic and acute.[7] Since it is an opioid, it can lead to physical dependence. 

While tapentadol isn’t associated with intense withdrawal symptoms when use abruptly stops, detox can still be dangerous without medical supervision.[8] A tapered approach to withdrawal is recommended for prescribed use. 

If opioid use disorder (OUD) is present, the best way to stop using tapentadol is with MAT.

How to Detox From Tapentadol

If you’ve been using tapentadol to manage pain, your doctor will prescribe a tapering schedule for you to stop use. You’ll take a reduced dosage of the drug each week or on another schedule. A reduced dose of 10% less per week (or per month, for more severe dependence) is usually recommended for tapentadol tapering.[8]

A tapered approach to detox will allow your body and brain to gradually get used to lower doses, easing you off the medication. This should be designed and managed by a doctor.

If you’ve been misusing tapentadol, a tapered approach to withdrawal will not likely be successful unless you are in an inpatient treatment facility where your medications are managed and distributed by medical professionals. If you attempt a taper at home on your own, it’s likely that you will simply relapse back to misuse, taking higher doses.

For tapentadol misuse and OUD, MAT is recommended. You won’t experience strong withdrawal symptoms or cravings, and you’ll stop misusing tapentadol safely. 

Tips to Help With Detox From Tapentadol

Follow these tips to optimize your chances of success in tapentadol detox:[9-11]

Don’t Go It Alone

It can be tempting to think that you can simply stop taking the drug and battle through the detox process alone, but the truth is that this can be dangerous and you’re unlikely to succeed. Instead, reach out to an addiction treatment specialist who can provide personalized advice and oversee your detox process. You’ll greatly benefit from MAT for OUD.

Stick to Medical Recommendations

If you are prescribed Suboxone or any other medication as part of MAT, stick to the prescribed instructions. Don’t vary your dose or when you take the medication.

Care for Your Body

If you are dehydrated or eating poorly, you’re likely to have a harder time during detox and the early days of recovery. Focus on proper hydration, maintain a healthy, balanced diet, and get good rest. This can support your body’s healing process as you repair the damage done by long-term drug use.

Try Gentle Exercise

Engaging in gentle physical activity, such as walking or stretching, can improve mood, reduce muscle tension and promote overall health during detox. Get approval from your doctor or treatment team before diving into any intensive exercise regimen. 

Promote Calm

Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, meditation or yoga, to manage stress and encourage a sense of calm during the detox process and beyond.

Seek Emotional Support

Surround yourself with a supportive network of treatment professionals, friends, family and peers who understand your journey and can provide encouragement as you go through the tapentadol detox and recovery process. If you are taking part in MAT, counseling (and often support group participation) will be part of your program.

Limit Exposure to Triggers

Identify situations, people and environments that may trigger cravings for tapentadol, particularly during the early days of recovery. Plan for how you will respond to these triggers when they can’t be avoided. 

The Dangers of Quitting Tapentadol Cold Turkey

The cold-turkey approach means simply stopping all use of tapentadol without stepping down the dose at all. This method of detox is dangerous and can lead to intense and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.[12]

Some of the dangers associated with a cold-turkey opioid detox include the following:[12,13]

Withdrawal Symptoms

These may include anxiety, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, insomnia, sweating and strong cravings for tapentadol. Symptoms may be more intense for those who regularly used high doses of tapentadol.

High Risk of Relapse

With the intensity of cold-turkey withdrawal, the risk of relapse is high. People are very tempted to simply return to tapentadol misuse to make the discomfort go away. Without support, relapse is likely.

Mental Health Issues

Quitting cold turkey can subject the body and mind to unnecessary stress. It can cause significant discomfort and emotional distress, and it may even trigger or exacerbate underlying mental health issues. This stress can be avoided with MAT.

Potential for Medical Complications 

The abrupt discontinuation of use of tapentadol without medical supervision can trigger medical complications, especially for people who have underlying medical disorders like cardiovascular issues, respiratory problems or other medical concerns.


When relapse occurs, many people take their previous dose of tapentadol, unaware that their tolerance has diminished during the detox period. This can lead to an increased risk of overdose since their body is no longer accustomed to the previous dosage. Opioid overdose can be fatal.

MAT for Tapentadol Misuse & OUD

MAT is the most effective way to detox off tapentadol safely and effectively.[14,15] At Bicycle Health, we use Suboxone to help patients stop all opioid misuse and sustain recovery. 

Reach out to us today to learn how you can get a same-day prescription for Suboxone and get started with counseling as well. A better future in recovery is around the corner.

Reviewed By Peter Manza, PhD

Peter Manza, PhD received his BA in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rochester and his PhD in Integrative Neuroscience at Stony Brook University. He is currently working as a research scientist in Washington, DC. His research focuses on the role ... Read More

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  2. Mackey K, Anderson J, Bourne D, et al. Evidence brief: Benefits and harms of long-term opioid dose reduction or discontinuation in patients with chronic pain. Washington (DC): Department of Veterans Affairs (US); 2019 Aug.
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  6. Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior, UCLA. Accessed September 24, 2023.
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  10. Beiter, R., Peterson, A., Abel, J. et al. Exercise during early, but not late abstinence, attenuates subsequent relapse vulnerability in a rat model. Transl Psychiatry 6, e792 (2016).
  11. Nabipour S, Ayu Said M, Hussain Habil M. Burden and nutritional deficiencies in opiate addiction- systematic review article. Iran J Public Health. 2014;43(8):1022-1032
  12. Yes, people can die from opiate withdrawal. National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre. Published 2020. Accessed September 24, 2023.
  13. Shah M, Huecker MR. Opioid Withdrawal. StatPearls. Published January 2023. Accessed September 24, 2023. 
  14. Information about medication-assisted treatment. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Published February 14, 2019. Accessed September 24, 2023. 
  15. Nunes EV, Gordon M, Friedmann PD, et al. Relapse to opioid use disorder after inpatient treatment: Protective effect of injection naltrexone. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2018;85:49-55. doi:10.1016/j.jsat.2017.04.016

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