Zydone Side Effects

Doctors prescribe Zydone to relieve a patient's moderate to severe pain. Zydone contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen, two types of pain relievers that act in different ways.

Zydone comes in three strengths, all in tablet form to be taken by mouth. All Zydone preparations contain 400 mg of acetaminophen and 5 mg, 7.5 mg or 10 mg of hydrocodone bitartrate.

Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid, a derivative of opium extracted from the poppy plant. Hydrocodone is the most widely prescribed, and the most commonly abused, drug in the United States. In 2010, U.S. pharmacists filled more than 139 million prescriptions containing hydrocodone, including Zydone.

Hydrocodone acts directly on the central nervous system, or CNS, to change the way the brain perceives pain. Hydrocodone also affects smooth muscle groups, like those in the digestive tract. As a result, side effects associated with Zydone affect the nervous and gastrointestinal systems. Hydrocodone also works on the brain's respiratory center to reduce cough; hydrocodone may cause respiratory side effects.

Acetaminophen interferes with the production of a chemical associated with sending pain signals to the brain. Acetaminophen also reduces fever. Most consumers tolerate therapeutic doses of acetaminophen, although acetaminophen is associated with acute liver failure sometimes resulting in liver transplant and death. Most cases of liver failure occurred after the individual took multiple products containing acetaminophen, exceeding the recommended limit of 4000 mg of acetaminophen per day.

Side Effect Information

All medications, including Zydone, may cause adverse reactions in some consumers. Most people experience no side effects or minor side effects while using Zydone. The most commonly reported side effects are not serious and go away after using Zydone as prescribed for a few days. Serious adverse reactions may occur, requiring immediate medical attention.

Adverse reactions to the hydrocodone in Zydone are typical of most opioids. Respiratory problems are the most serious side effect associated with opioid use; these breathing problems may result in stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerous hypotension and shock. The most serious side effect is respiratory problems that may lead to stopped breathing, circulatory depression, dangerously low blood pressure and shock. Physicians should anticipate side effects in all patients and monitor each patient accordingly.

Respiratory depression is a serious, sometimes fatal breathing problem commonly associated with opioid use. During respiratory depression, breathing becomes shallow so the lungs cannot adequately exchange oxygen for toxic gases such as carbon dioxide. Symptoms of respiratory depression are slow or shallow breathing, unusual breathing patterns, gasping or wheezing, and a blue tint around the victim's eyes, lips and fingertips.

Abuse, Dependence and Addiction

Abuse, physical dependence and addiction are possible side effects from hydrocodone use. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency ranks substances according to their relative potential for abuse, with schedule I drugs posing the largest risk and schedule V offering the least risk. Zydone is a schedule III narcotic, meaning it poses about the same risk for abuse as Vicodin.

A person who uses Zydone for a long time may become physically dependent upon it and suffer withdrawal symptoms when he stops taking this medication. The symptoms of opioid withdrawal usually appear in two waves, with the first set of symptoms beginning several hours after the last dose of Zydone. Early symptoms include agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, watery eyes and insomnia, along with a runny nose, excessive sweating and yawning.

Later symptoms include abdominal cramps with diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. The individual may also develop goose bumps. These symptoms last for five or more days, with the worst symptoms appearing on or about the fourth day.

Most Frequently Observed Zydone Side Effects

The most frequently observed side effects associated with Zydone include light-headedness, dizziness and sedation. Nausea and vomiting are commonly reported side effects.

These common side effects occur more frequently among ambulatory consumers than for those confined to a bed or wheelchair. Some of these adverse reactions may be relieved when the consumer lies down.

Allergic Reaction

Anyone who consumes Zydone can suffer an allergic reaction to it at any time. An allergic reaction is a serious, potentially fatal medical crisis that requires professional care. Bring the bottle of Zydone along with the rest of your medications to help emergency department physicians determine the source of the allergic reaction.

Symptoms of an allergic reaction to Zydone include:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Itching, rash and hives
  • Swelling of the face, mouth and throat
  • Vomiting

Anaphylaxis is a serious, sometimes fatal type of allergic reaction. Symptoms of anaphylaxis usually appear within moments of exposure, but anaphylaxis may start as late as a half an hour or longer after consuming Zydone. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hives, itching, pale or flushed skin. Other symptoms are a rapid pulse, dizziness, fainting, nausea or vomiting.

The victim may feel a sensation or warmth. She may also experience a distressing feeling that her throat is closing, her tongue is swelling or that she has a lump in her throat. This may lead to wheezing and other breathing troubles. She may express a terrible feeling of impending doom.


Some Zydone consumers report symptoms of hypersensitivity to the acetaminophen component of this drug, including skin rash, hives, itching and swelling of the face.

Non-Serious Side Effects

The most commonly reported side effects of Zydone are not serious and disappear with continued use at recommended doses. Consumers who experience non-serious side effects should continue to take Zydone but report any intolerable side effects to the prescribing physician.

Serious Side Effects

Some adverse reactions are serious and require immediate medical attention. Contact a doctor if you experience serious side effects, including:

By body system

Central Nervous System

The hydrocodone component of Zydone works directly on the CNS to reduce pain and cause euphoria. As a result, Zydone may cause side effects relating to the nervous system including drowsiness, mental clouding and lethargy. Zydone may also cause psychological disturbances such as anxiety, fear, mood changes and the emotional opposite of euphoria, dysphoria. Continued use of the hydrocodone component of Zydone may cause dependence or addiction.

Gastrointestinal System

Hydrocodone works directly on smooth muscles, like those in the intestines, in a way that affects digestion for some people. Acetaminophen is rapidly absorbed in the digestive tract and may be associated with gastrointestinal side effects.

Prolonged use of Zydone or other opioids may cause constipation. Drink six to eight glasses of water each day while taking Zydone to soften stools and promote bowel movements.

Genitourinary System

Opioids, like the hydrocodone in Zydone, may cause urinary problems such as spasms and urinary retention.

Respiratory Depression

Hydrocodone acts directly on the part of the brain stem responsible for respiration in a way that may make the brain "forget" to breathe, resulting in dangerous respiratory depression. This effect may be dose-related, meaning large doses of hydrocodone increase the likelihood and severity of respiratory depression.

Special Senses

Taking dangerously large doses of Zydone for a long time is known as chronic overdose. Individuals with chronic overdose of Zydone may suffer hearing problems or permanent hearing loss. Hearing problems rarely occur in consumers taking lower doses of Zydone for a shorter time.


Zydone use may cause skin side effects such as itching or rash.