Is rapid detox safe?

Rapid detox sounds too good to be true. Does hurrying the detoxification process create more risks? How reliable is the procedure?

asked 21 Feb '12, 19:10

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Detox is the process of cleansing the body from toxic substances including, but not limited to, drugs and alcohol. A medical detox protocol uses drugs and medical care (monitoring, medicating) over the time your body needs to detox, to help your body ease into equilibrium after long-term substance abuse. Instead of waiting 7-10 days, "Rapid detox" uses general anesthesia to put the patient to sleep, and then a surgical procedure to filter the blood over 10 hours or so, in hopes of avoiding short-term withdrawal symptoms.

(25 Feb '12, 12:06) Jack ♦


Drug Detox

Rapid detox is a form of drug detox, meant to shorten withdrawal duration and to minimize pain.



Rapid detox is most commonly used to help manage withdrawals from opiates.



Oxycontin is a commonly prescribed opiate used for pain management. Those addicted to Oxycontin may choose to use rapid detox in place of traditional detox methods.



Heroin is a commonly abused opiate sold on the street. Heroin addicts may choose to use rapid detox in place of traditional detox methods.

Rapid detox is not only less safe than traditional methods, but also holds less long-term value in the recovery process. Patients are discharged from rapid detox clinics without any real education about drugs, drug abuse, and how to remain clean and sober. There is a lot more to recovery than simply making it through withdrawal and detox. If an addict is unprepared for the issues that will surely arise, he or she stands little chance of remaining abstinent.


answered 22 Feb '12, 12:32

McKail's gravatar image

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Detox centers in Florida which do NOT recommend Rapid Detox or UltraRapid Detox note the following drawbacks to the rapid detox procedure, even if it is medically successful:

  1. The patient is not prepared for long-term recovery.The patient is still an addict, only cleaner.
  2. Very few insurance companies cover rapid detox procedures: Some insurance companies consider rapid detox as an experimental method that carries numerous risks.
  3. It is costly: Many detox centers charge very high rates for rapid detox services.
(28 Sep '13, 21:11) admin ♦♦

More risks may be created, but it still works. The purpose of detox is to "cleanse" your body so you can start rehab level headed and physically stable. Rapid detox does exactly that.


answered 22 Feb '12, 12:39

aLtErEdSTATE's gravatar image

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The Journal of the American Medical Association calls Rapid Detox an "expensive, potentially dangerous, unproven approach to treat opioid dependence". They published a clinical trialshowing rapid detox brings "significant concerns about risk, including marked increases in plasma corticotropin, cortisol, respiration, sympathetic activity, and catecholamines; suppression of thyroid hormones; pulmonary distress; pulmonary edema; acute renal failure; ventricular bigeminy; psychosis; delirium; suicide attempts; and deaths associated with the procedure."

(30 Sep '13, 12:49) admin ♦♦

Rapid detox is dangerous and plays on our addict desire to find an easy way out of problems though the use of chemistry. There are enough inherent dangers that it verges on medical malpractice.

To begin with, these procedures are rarely — if ever — carried out in a hospital setting, because most hospitals won’t have anything to do with them. Although relatively safe, general anesthesia is a potentially life-threatening procedure, and inflicting it unnecessarily on otherwise healthy individuals is medically unsound. Furthermore, the body is under terrific stress during rapid withdrawal, in addition to fighting the anesthetic (which is, after all, a poison) at the same time. This may require physical resources that a body under anesthesia cannot easily provide. Keep in mind that the withdrawal still occurs, with its attendant stresses on the body’s systems. The patient is simply not aware of it.

Opiate antagonists themselves can have undesirable side effects, such as respiratory depression. In an individual who is already in an induced coma that includes depressed respiration, this can be a serious problem. Poor physical condition and other health problems that often accompany addiction add to the danger. People have died during the process.

Patients do not always come out of the anesthesia with their withdrawal completed. If they are awakened too soon, it may not be completely over. Many drugs, including methadone and some benzodiazepines such as Valium, Xanax, and Ativan, produce chemicals (metabolites) during their breakdown in the body that are themselves addictive. If present, these can cause dangerous withdrawal symptoms long after the patient has left the clinic.


answered 22 Feb '12, 12:50

iKnew's gravatar image

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Rapid detox for opiates is only safe when the program follows strict safety protocols.


answered 28 Sep '13, 15:01

Ellen%20Joy%20Florendo's gravatar image

Ellen Joy Fl...
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Please note: this answer was posted by an employee of a marketing company apparently working for a Rapid Detox company in California. The commercial parts were removed, but it is worth noting that even the representatives of rapid detox service providers acknowledge that rapid detox is a risky procedure. Please be very careful when opting for rapid or ultra-rapid detox.

(28 Sep '13, 21:04) admin ♦♦

This is the clinical trial published in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed rapid detox to be dangerous and not medically justified, given the risks and actual outcomes:


answered 30 Sep '13, 12:50

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Asked: 21 Feb '12, 19:10

Seen: 4,670 times

Last updated: 30 Sep '13, 12:50