Millions of people struggle with chronic pain each year. This pain often results from complications related to injuries, illnesses or surgeries. When a person suffers from chronic pain, she will sometimes do whatever it takes to receive relief from her discomfort. Relief can come in many forms, but one common way that people treat chronic pain is with prescription medication. Many prescription pain medications are available, and each offers temporary relief from the constant pain that these people experience. One of these medications, called Zohydro, also has the ability to ease the symptoms of chronic pain. Unfortunately, this medication also has some negative side effects that can be very dangerous. It’s therefore important for patients considering using this medication to discuss all available pain management options with their doctors.
Side Effects of Hydrocodone
Zohydro is a brand of prescription hydrocodone that has recently been released in the American drug market. Like other opiates, hydrocodone lessens the sensation of pain by blocking the nervous system’s pain receptors. This helps many people deal with chronic pain, but can also lead to negative side effects.
These potential side effects, as listed by the Mayo Clinic, include:
- Digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting and constipation
- Respiratory problems
- Weight gain or loss
Dangers of Zohydro
While all types of opiates have potential negative side effects, Zohydro can be especially dangerous because of its concentration. Andrew Kolodny explains that this new drug contains 10 times more hydrocodone than other types of strong prescription opiates. He also states that another reason the drug is so dangerous is because of its ability to be crushed into powder form, which makes it easier to abuse.
Additionally, Kolodny gives reasons for why opiates should only be prescribed to treat short-term pain from surgery or illness, or to help manage pain at the end of a person’s life. The danger of using prescription opiates to treat chronic pain lies in the fact that when a person uses opiates over a long period of time, she is likely to develop tolerance to the drug’s effects. As a result, she will have to take increasingly larger doses of the drug, which can cause additional health problems.
Measures Taken to Make Zohydro Safe
Despite these fears regarding the use of Zohydro, the drug has still been released into the market. The FDA issued a report in 2013 stating that it found the drug safe for use as an option for treatment of extreme pain. The owners and creators of the drug, Zogenix, Inc., also report that the drug consists only of hydrocodone, not a mixture of hydrocodone and acetaminophen as has been the case with other related opiate medications. This lack of acetaminophen in the drug makes it less likely to cause liver damage to users. The drug has also been given a Schedule II classification by the Drug Enforcement Agency, making it harder to acquire and therefore more difficult to abuse.
Chronic pain is challenging to manage. Because it can be unpredictable, intense and life-disrupting, it helps to have a reliable treatment option available to deal with its symptoms. Some people take opiates to manage their chronic pain, but the danger of using these drugs long-term is their risk for dependency and addiction. Since Zohydro has a high concentration of hydrocodone in it, taking it over an extended period of time can increase a person’s risk of developing tolerance, dependency or addiction.
Where to Find More Information About Zohydro
If you or a loved one have found yourself seeking treatment for a prescription opiate addiction, please give us a call at 615-490-9376. Our team can discuss your options and help find a program that meets your needs.