Millions of Americans Taking Risky Drug Combo

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Millions of Americans Taking Risky Drug Combo

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 23, 2022

Tens of millions of American adults take a probably lethal duo of prescription opioid painkillers and sedatives on the similar time, researchers warn.

The negative effects of concurrent use of opioids and sedatives reminiscent of benzodiazepines (reminiscent of Xanax or Valium) could also be even stronger in people who find themselves additionally prescribed different forms of sedatives or anxiety medicines, the brand new analysis exhibits.

To evaluate the extent of twin sedative use amongst adults with opioid prescriptions, the investigators analyzed Medical Expenditure Panel Survey information from 2016-2019 and recognized 28.4 million prescription opioid customers aged 18 and older. Of these, simply over 9% (10,700) had additionally been prescribed benzodiazepines plus different forms of sedatives in the identical calendar 12 months.

Amongst this group of individuals, the annual common variety of prescriptions crammed for opioids, benzodiazepines and different forms of sedatives was almost 25 per particular person.

Primarily based on the information, the researchers estimated that 2.6 million American adults — 1% of the grownup inhabitants — are prescribed an opioid, a benzodiazepine and one other sort of sedative on the similar time.

When analyzed by the variety of opioid prescriptions, individuals who acquired 5 or extra yearly had a twin sedative prescription charge of almost 18.5%, in response to the examine revealed on-line Feb. 22 within the journal Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medication.

It additionally discovered that the very best charges of twin sedative prescriptions had been amongst opioid customers with extreme pain, anxiety, depression, stress and sleep disorders.

“No present tips exist concerning the security of this prescribing observe, particularly in subpopulations that could be notably inclined to sedation,” wrote lead researcher Dr. Brian Websites, from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Middle in Lebanon, N.H., and colleagues.

In a journal information launch, they mentioned that “there are advanced interactions amongst mental illness, pain and sleep disorders.”

“We discover {that a} surprisingly excessive variety of Individuals prescribed opioids are additionally present process therapy that features a twin mixture of [anti-anxiety] and sedative medicines,” the authors mentioned.

“Given the potential risks of this polypharmacy strategy, future research are warranted to find out the extent of security, particularly amongst susceptible populations,” they famous.

Extra info

There’s extra on the dangers of opioids and benzodiazepines on the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.

SOURCE: Regional Anesthesia & Pain Medication, information launch, Feb. 22, 2022

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