It is becoming clear that opioids and psychiatric medication are a deadly mix. Following the many deaths from mixing strong opioids with psychiatric medicine, The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning.
People who mix benzodiazepines with opioids tend to develop breathing problems, go into a coma or even die. The FDA is going to place a black-box warning on almost four hundred drugs which belong to the benzodiazepine and opioid class.
Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen of Baltimore City said that the issue is pressing and the FDA has a duty to save lives. Wen and other health officials have lobbied the FDA to make the necessary changes.
Dr. Wen continued her statement by talking about her practice experience. Sometimes, doctors give opioid painkillers to patients on benzodiazepines and it goes against the scientific research.
Recently, health professionals have observed a growing trend. One in three deaths from overdose is linked to prescription opioids and benzodiazepines.
The reason behind that is that mixing the two classes of drugs makes the patient sleepier. It also slows down breathing and increases fatalities.
Between 2002 and 2014 the FDA noted a 41 percent spike in the patients who took both sedative meds and opioids. The number amounts up to 2.5 million patients. That has made overdose deaths increase three-fold between 2004 and 2011.
Opioids treat cough and pains, while benzodiazepines treat seizures, anxieties, and insomnia. The FDA is trying to raise awareness and stop these dangerous medicine associations. By adding boxed warnings, the strongest available instruments the FDA has, they hope to reduce this practice.
The FDA has come under fire for doing next to nothing to stop overdoses and abuses of opioids like Oxycontin, Percocept or Vicodin. These medicines resemble heroin and morphine chemically and are very addictive.
Opioid overdose deaths have come to a record breaking number in America. 47.000 have died from overdoses in 2014. Compared to the 32,000 killed in road accidents, the figure looks bleak.
The Center for Disease Control estimates the number of dependent people to 1.9 million Americans. These people are addicted to opioid pain medication and the problem is growing.
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