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Mixing Opioids And Tranquilizers Deadly: Black-Box Warning Planned

Update Date: Sep 03, 2016 12:25 PM EDT
Mixing Opioid and Tranquilizers
Family members hold the pictures of their love ones who killed by opioid epidemic during a news conference May 19, 2016 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Legislators held a news conference to discuss their support for the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA).
(Photo : Alex Wong/Getty Images)

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the public of the adverse effects of mixing opioids and tranquilizers which have reportedly killed a number of people.

In a warning released this week, the government office gave a picture of how the combination of these two drugs can be deadly.

According to NBC News, FDA is planning to add a black box warning on the labels of the almost 400 drugs in the opioid and benzodiazepine classes. 

The mixing of opioids and tranquilizers can cause breathing problems which can lead to coma and eventually to death.

"We said, 'we cannot wait' and called upon the FDA to save lives now," Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen told reporters.

"As an emergency physician, I have seen that in medical training and practice, it is common to prescribe opioid painkillers to a patient taking benzodiazepines for anxiety, and vice versa," Wen added. "This is not based on scientific research, but is routine clinical practice."

Back in June, NBC News reported that by regularly watching on what doctors prescribe to their patients, opioid abuse may be cut, based on a study finding.

"We found that the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program was associated with more than a 30 percent reduction in the rate of prescribing of Schedule II opioids," Yuhua Bao and colleagues at Weill Cornell Medical College jointly said.

"This reduction was seen immediately following the launch of the program and was maintained in the second and third years afterward," they wrote.

It was noted, though, that researchers still have to study further the initial findings since they "are not completely sure why the monitoring programs cut opioid prescriptions."

"It is also possible that knowing that their prescribing was being 'watched' deterred them from prescribing Schedule II opioids to some extent," they added.

Based on record, deaths caused by opioid overdoses, even without mixing it with tranquilizers, reached more than 47,000 in 2014. 

 

 

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