Pain control management is a very important part of modern medicine. Doctors often struggle with their patients' severe pain. They want to provide their patients with safe methods of controlling their often very difficult pain problems. At the same time, many of the medicines they use have serious, potentially deadly side effects.
First, these medications are very addicting. The most often used of these medications contain different types of opioid narcotics. Patients can quickly become physically or psychologically dependent on the opioid component of the pain medication. This requires they take more to obtain the same pain relief, and it makes it hard for them to stop taking these medications when the reason for their pain has healed.
Moreover, if too much of a narcotic pain reliever is taken, the person can suffer an overdose. One dangerous effect of these medications is they can suppress a person's natural drive to breathe. When too much is taken, this natural drive to breathe is suppressed to the point where a person does not breathe often enough to get oxygen to their body and brain. If not quickly reversed, the patient will pass away. Even if caught early, brain damage often occurs when the brain is starved for oxygen.
Current pain medications attempt to control these side effects in several different ways. First, they contain acetaminophen (Tylenol). Acetaminophen is toxic to the liver in high doses, and this deters some potential addicts from taking too much. Examples of these medications are Percocet and Vicodin.
Second, they are made of a tamper resistant formula that prevents a tablet from being crushed, so it cannot be injected or snorted. An example of this type of medication is Oxycontin.
The FDA, however, recently approved the sale of Zohydro. Zohydro contains hydrocodone, the same active ingredient as Vicodin. It does not, however, contain any acetaminophen, nor does it come in a tamper resistant formula. Without a tamper resistant formula, Zohydro loses its slow release qualities when crushed.
The danger is this medication is easily crushable, which would allow for it to be easily abused. When converted to a powder, it is no longer slow release, which would provide a quick and dangerous high. This raises the risk of overdose.
Teenagers and young adults are at special risk for abusing narcotic pain relievers. Because these are prescription medications, they view these as safe alternatives to illegal drugs. Zohydro is one more potentially dangerous substance that can injure or kill a loved one. Please take the time to talk with your teen about the dangers of this new and all prescription pain medications.