Magnacet Withdrawal

Magnacet withdrawal is the normal, predictable consequence of chronic Magnacet use.

Shionogi, Inc., manufactures Magnacet in tablet form in various strengths. Each Magnacet tablet contains 5 mg, 7.5 mg or 10 mg of oxycodone hydrochloride and 400 mg of acetaminophen.

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic pain reliever. Pharmacologists create oxycodone from thebaine extracted from the opium poppy plant, Papaver somniferum. Oxycodone is an opioid.

Taking high doses of opioids or using drugs that contain opioids for a long time may result in physical dependence. An opioid dependent person feels unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when he stops using Magnacet suddenly. Chronic acetaminophen use does not cause physical dependence or withdrawal symptoms.

Magnacet withdrawal produces flu-like symptoms that last for several days. Withdrawal also causes demoralizing and debilitating psychological symptoms that can lead the individual to believe he is not capable or worthy of recovery. Physical and psychological Magnacet withdrawal symptoms can interfere with treatment and cause relapse.


The human body adapts to the presence of some substances, including the oxycodone in Magnacet, by altering its own chemistry to maintain a safe balance. Long-term use of Magnacet causes some of these adaptations to become more permanent - the body learns to rely on a steady supply of Magnacet to feel "normal." When Magnacet levels drop, the body struggles to maintain chemical balance; this is known as detoxification.

The individual feels this battle for chemical stability through withdrawal symptoms.

A person can initiate the detoxification process by skipping a dose, taking an insufficient dose or by taking drugs that lower oxycodone levels. Detoxification causes withdrawal symptoms.

Using high doses of Magnacet or using this drug for a long time may increase the consumer's tolerance to opioids. High tolerance means the individual must take stronger doses of Magnacet more frequently to achieve the same analgesic or euphoric effect. Someone with a low tolerance is more sensitive to the effects of Magnacet.

Facts about this drug

Doctors prescribe Magnacet to relieve moderate to severe pain. Recreational users seek out Magnacet because of the way oxycodone gets them high.

Non-medical use of Magnacet increases a person's risk for dependence. To use a drug non-medically means to take Magnacet to get high or to treat a different condition that the one for which it was prescribed. It is relatively common for people to hold on to leftover pain medication "just in case," not realizing that using Magnacet non-medically increases the risk for side effects, including physical dependence.

Opioids like the oxycodone in Magnacet work on the CNS, or central nervous system, to relieve pain and cause euphoria. Opioids act directly on the breathing centers of the brain to stop a nagging cough. Oxycodone and other opioids work on smooth muscle groups, like those found in the digestive tract, to ease diarrhea.

Because opioids work on the nervous, respiratory and digestive systems, Magnacet abuse and detoxification is likely to affect these body systems.

Potential for Abuse

Opioids are associated with a high risk for abuse because of the euphoria they provide. Magnacet abuse raises the risk for opioid dependence and subsequent Magnacet withdrawal.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, ranks drugs according to their relative risk for abuse. Under this classification, Magnacet is a schedule II drug, meaning it poses the same relative potential for abuse as OxyContin and raw opium. To reduce the risk for abuse, Magnacet and all other drugs containing oxycodone are available only with a doctor's prescription.

Abuse and Addiction Rates

This federal restriction has done little to curtail growing abuse and addiction rates. In 2010, an estimated 12 million Americans used a prescription opioid non-medically. Prescription painkiller addiction is now overshadowing even heroin addiction. About 1.9 million Americans were addicted to prescription painkillers in 2010, as compared to only 329,000 heroin addicts.

These high abuse and addiction rates are due, at least in part, to the widespread availability of opioids in the United States. People in the U.S. consume more painkillers than any nation on earth; although Americans constitute roughly 5 percent of global population, they gobble up 80 percent of the world's opioids. Americans also use about 99 percent of the global supply of oxycodone in products like Magnacet.

Facts about Withdrawal

Anyone who uses Magnacet can become opioid-dependent; Magnacet withdrawal is not necessarily an indication someone has been abusing drugs illegally. It is possible to become physically dependent after using Magnacet as directed.

Magnacet withdrawal symptoms usually appear a few hours after the last dose. Symptoms can last for five or more days, with the worst physical symptoms usually appearing on or about the fourth day. Psychological symptoms can last longer, especially without treatment. Left untreated, withdrawal symptoms disappear in time as the body adjusts to the lack of oxycodone.

The individual can ease withdrawal symptoms by taking medications to address each symptom or by taking drugs that mimic the effects of the oxycodone in Magnacet. Taking another dose of Magnacet halts the detoxification process but leaves the person still opioid-dependent.


The physical and psychological symptoms associated with Magnacet withdrawal may interfere with the individual's attempts at recovery. Many people have trouble overcoming Magnacet withdrawal symptoms and relapse to drug use just to ease the discomfort.

Magnacet withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and discouraging but not life threatening. As with detoxification from other opioids, Magnacet withdrawal symptoms tend to come in two waves. Early physical symptoms include muscle aches, watery eyes, insomnia, runny nose, sweating and yawning. Early psychological symptoms of Magnacet withdrawal include agitation and anxiety.

Later symptoms include abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The individual will also experience dilated pupils and goose bumps.

Possible Complications

While Magnacet detoxification is not life threatening, symptoms of Magnacet withdrawal may cause dangerous complications. One such complication is aspiration, where the victim vomits then inhales the stomach contents. Aspiration may result in fluid in the lung and lung infection. Excessive and prolonged vomiting, diarrhea and sweating can cause dehydration.

Relapse to opioid use is the primary complication associated with Magnacet withdrawal. Without medicine to ease withdrawal symptoms, many individuals return to opioid abuse to stop the detoxification process. Opioid dependence is often marked with cycles of remission and relapse, especially without professional treatment.

Treatment options

There is a growing need for professional treatment in the United States. Treatment can reduce the incidence of relapse and decrease the risk for side effects, infectious disease and toxic overdose.

Treatment consists of two phases: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification is the medical process of lowering oxycodone levels and then dealing with the ensuing Magnacet withdrawal symptoms. Rehabilitation addresses the behavioral aspects of drug abuse.

More than 23 million people in the United States needed treatment in 2010. Of those who needed it, only about 11 percent of those who needed it got it in a specialty facility staffed with personnel who received special training in detoxification and rehabilitation procedures. Some who needed treatment went to a general hospital or psychiatric unit without specially trained staff. Many individuals try to overcome opioid-dependence by themselves.

Self Detoxification

Attempting to overcome Magnacet withdrawal alone is called self-detoxification or "going cold turkey." Cold turkey refers to the skin's appearance during detoxification: pale, cold, clammy with goose bumps, much like a plucked bird.

Self-detoxification is a prolonged, uncomfortable and demoralizing way to overcome opioid dependence. Additionally, self-detoxification is associated with a high rate of complications including aspiration, dehydration and relapse.

The Thomas Recipe

A person might create a treatment plan that includes a variety of medications to reduce Magnacet withdrawal symptoms. One popular homemade remedy is The Thomas Recipe, which includes a benzodiazepine such as Valium, Librium, Ativan or Xanax, intended to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. The Thomas Recipe calls for Imodium to curb diarrhea and L-Tyrosine for a shot of much-needed energy. Vitamin B6 and supplements along with hot baths address muscle aches and restless leg syndrome.

While a well-planned homemade remedy may ease symptoms somewhat, these medications will not shorten the detoxification process nor will they protect the individual from complications such as aspiration, dehydration and relapse. Without professional guidance, relapse poses special risks including toxic overdose.


People who abuse Magnacet are at risk for toxic overdose but the detoxification process itself may increase the chance someone will overdose if he relapses. The detoxification process lowers the individual's tolerance to oxycodone, making his body more sensitive to the effects of Magnacet. As a result, a person can actually overdose on a smaller dose of Magnacet than he used to take before experiencing even modest withdrawal symptoms.

It is possible to overdose on the oxycodone component or the acetaminophen in Magnacet, or both. Prescription painkiller overdoses kill nearly 15,000 people every year in the United States. Acetaminophen overdose is the leading cause of acute liver failure.

Magnacet overdose is a serious medical emergency; transport all suspected overdose cases to the nearest medical facility or call for an ambulance if it results in faster care. While at the hospital, doctors will administer the antidote to acetaminophen, N-acetylcysteinenaloxone, along with naloxone to reduce oxycodone levels. Nurses will introduce charcoal into the patient's stomach to absorb excess medication or pump the patient's stomach. Nurses will also establish an airway to help the patient breathe.

Drug Replacement Therapy

Opioid-dependent individuals who are not in immediate danger of overdose may participate in DRT, or drug replacement therapy. DRT medications mimic the effects of oxycodone without producing a euphoric feeling, so DRT patients do not feel withdrawal symptoms or get high. DRT drugs include methadone, buprenorphine and Suboxone.

DRT allows the individual to delay detoxification temporarily while he engages in rehabilitation. Once he learns how to live without drugs, he weans himself from the DRT medication by taking smaller doses further apart. DRT helps those patients who need to work or take care of children while participating in rehabilitation. Opponents of DRT claim it is merely trading one addiction for another.

Standard detox

Many hospitals now offer detoxification. During standard detoxification procedures, physicians administer naloxone to reduce oxycodone levels along with multiple medications to ease Magnacet withdrawal symptoms. Nurses monitor the patient for complications and take action accordingly. While standard detoxification reduces the severity of physical withdrawal symptoms and the risk for complications, it does not shorten the time the individual suffers from the demoralizing experience of detoxification.

Rapid Detox

Rapid detox is the most humane form of detoxification currently available. During rapid detox, board-certified anesthesiologists administer the usual detoxification and anti-withdrawal medications along with sedatives to help the patient sleep and anesthesia to block discomfort. The patient dozes in a comfortable "twilight sleep," unaware of demoralizing and uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. As a result, the patient is in a better state of mind for meaningful rehabilitation.


The detoxification process alone does little to change the behaviors associated with drug abuse; without rehabilitation, the individual is likely to suffer a relapse and return to Magnacet abuse.

Everyone experiences drug dependence and Magnacet withdrawal a little differently, so no one treatment is right for everyone. Rehabilitation may take place in an outpatient setting, where the individual checks in for weekly or monthly meetings with a trained counselor, or treatment can occur in a long-term, highly structured residential setting. Treatment can take months or years.

Behavior modification along with individual, group and family counseling are common forms of treatment. Medications are frequently an important part of treatment; many opioid-dependent individuals have physical or mental problems that interfere with recovery.

No matter which form of rehabilitation the individual chooses, treatment needs to be convenient and readily available to encourage participation and completion. It is critical the individual remain in treatment long enough to change the behaviors associated with drug abuse.

Treatment does not need to be voluntary to be effective. Many people do better with legal coercion than without it.

A trained rehabilitation counselor plays an important role in rehabilitation efforts. The counselor will assess the individual and create a treatment plan according to the individual's multiple needs, not just the client's drug abuse. The counselor will continually reassess the patient's condition and modify the treatment plan accordingly to be sure it fits the person's changing needs.

The patient's drug use will be monitored throughout treatment as relapses do occur. The patient will also be assessed for the presence of HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C, and be instructed on reducing the risk for contracting or spreading these diseases.