Zohydro ER Overdose

Zohydro ER Addiction Hotline

24/7, Toll-Free, Confidential


Zohydro ER is an extended-release version of the synthetic opioid hydrocodone. Hydrocodone is derived from codeine. Hydrocodone is one of the most widely prescribed medications for the management of moderate to severe pain. Zohydro ER was approved for use by the Federal Drug Administration in 2014 despite objections from the drug’s own review panel. The panel argued that Zohydro ER could be easily abused and lead to an increase in overdose cases.

Extended-release versions of opioids contain larger quantities of the drug than immediate-release versions. They are designed to be released gradually into the system over an extended period of time. However, this time-release mechanism can be bypassed by crushing the pill in preparation for ingestion, snorting, or injection.

The amount of Zohydro ER necessary to overdose depends first and foremost on whether the time-release feature has been compromised. If the pill is fully intact at the time of ingestion, several metabolic factors can impact how effectively the body processes the drug.

Zohydro ER Overdose

Symptoms of Zohydro ER overdose can include cold/clammy skin, purple/blue fingernails and lips, poor coordination, somnolence progressing to stupor, constricted pupils, and severely depressed respiration. Pupils may remain unresponsive to dramatic changes in light. However, in the event of severe overdose and hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), the pupils will become fully dilated. The patient’s level of consciousness can transition rapidly from being fully alert and oriented to somnolence, stupor, and being unconscious. The most prominent sign of Zohydro ER overdose is severe respiratory depression.

Zohydro ER is a central nervous system depressant. It acts directly on the brain stem to depress the automatic urge to breathe. The brain stem controls subconscious breathing by responding to carbon dioxide levels in the blood. When carbon dioxide levels are high, the brain stem signals for the body to breathe. In the event of an opioid overdose, this mechanism can become disabled.

The amount of Zohydro ER necessary to overdose depends on the unique metabolic factors of each patient. Opioid tolerance is highly influential. In general, patients who are already acclimated to processing the drug will be less likely to overdose. The individual’s genetics, liver and kidney health, physical status, age, weight, and body fat percentage also play a role in Zohydro ER metabolism.

Zohydro ER is primarily processed by the liver. Patients with a history of liver malfunction are at a higher risk of overdose due to extended clearance times and elevated blood plasma concentrations of the drug. Patient age is a factor because overall metabolism slows as the body ages, leading to higher concentrations of the drug.

Special care must be taken when initiating Zohydro ER treatment. Doses must be increased gradually to avoid the onset of potentially life-threatening respiratory depression. Zohydro ER comes in 10 mg, 15 mg, 20 mg, 30 mg, 40 mg, and 50 mg doses. Zohydro ER is designed to be taken once every 12 hours. Doses can be increased by 10 mg at a time with a minimum adjustment period of three days before the next increase.

Zohydro ER overdose is treated by protecting the patient’s airway in order to ensure adequate ventilation. In the event of clinically significant respiratory depression, the use of an opioid antagonist will also be indicated. Securing the patient’s airway is accomplished through assisted or controlled ventilation.

If the patient is still conscious, a bag-valve mask may be used to help the patient breathe. If the patient loses consciousness, an endotracheal tube may be inserted down the patient’s throat so that ventilations can be more accurately controlled. Oxygen therapy and the use of vasopressors, along with other special procedures, may be indicated for the management of pulmonary edema and cardiovascular shock.

Naloxone is the most commonly used opioid antagonist. It can rapidly reverse the effects of opioids like Zohydro ER by breaking its bonds to opioid receptors in the body. A complete reversal of the Zohydro ER’s action can be achieved within seconds. However, residual signs of respiratory and cardiovascular depression will need to be closely monitored for rebound symptoms. In cases of severe overdose, multiple doses of naloxone may be necessary. The administration of naloxone tends to precipitate the onset of severe opioid withdrawals.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid misuse or abuse, The Recovery Village is available to answer any questions you may have. Visit us online at www.TheRecoveryVillage.com or call toll-free at 855-548-9825 for more information about the road to recovery.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options, and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.