What Makes Zohydro Dangerous?

Zohydro is a new drug that has recently been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is a prescription painkiller composed solely of hydrocodone, a drug that has until now only been available as a combination drug with acetaminophen or ibuprofen. While this drug certainly has the potential to help individuals suffering from chronic or severe pain, there are many concerns regarding the undiluted strength of Zohydro. The pills can easily be crushed and either snorted or injected for a quick and strong high. With this form of administration, or any other for that matter, there is a substantial risk of potentially dangerous side effects.

Respiratory Depression

Respiratory depression is a key side effect of drugs that depress the central nervous system (CNS), including opioid painkillers like Zohydro. When this drug is used, it plugs into receptors in the brain that control a person’s rate of breathing. Ultimately, respirations become slower and shallower. In high doses, this can even progress to complete respiratory arrest, which must be reversed in a matter of minutes to prevent permanent brain damage or death. Because Zohydro is so potent, users may unintentionally take more of the drug than their bodies can safely process and experience severe complications from respiratory depression.

Dizziness and Drowsiness

Dizziness and drowsiness are also side effects that occur with the use of opioid drugs like Zohydro. Anyone who has been prescribed an opioid has likely been told not to drive a vehicle or operate heavy machinery while using the drug, and this is the reason why. Dizziness and drowsiness can lead someone to feel disoriented, possibly resulting in a serious vehicle or machine-related accident. Unfortunately, many drug abusers disregard the suggestion to avoid driving while under the influence and may fall asleep at the wheel or swerve off the road or into another car. This can be a life-threatening risk for not only the drug user, but also for other drivers or pedestrians.


As with all opioid drugs, addiction is a concern for those who use Zohydro in high doses or for extended periods of time. Those using Zohydro are at a particularly high risk of developing a dependence or addiction as a result of its undiluted strength. After several doses, those using this drug may begin to experience cravings, and their mind may become preoccupied with thoughts of using the drug. They may also develop a tolerance to the drug, requiring them to take stronger doses of the drug to achieve the same effects. These symptoms are all precursors to the development of Zohydro addiction. Addiction is a chronic illness that requires lifelong management. Without careful treatment, many opioid addicts end up with severe health complications or mental health disorders.

Get Help for Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller abuse and addiction can have many dangerous effects on the mind and body. If you or a loved one is addicted to prescription painkillers, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatments for painkiller addiction.

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