FDA warns of fatal risks from mixing opioids and sedatives

The Food and Drug Administration said it will add a boxed warning to more than 400 medications

Researchers have found that more Americans are taking drugs like Xanax and Valium, and taking those drugs at higher dosages. They’ve also found that, while the number of prescriptions filled between 1996 and 2013 have tripled, the amount of overdoses quadrupled.
Courtesy: WWLP

WASHINGTON (AP) – Health officials are warnings doctors and patients about the potentially fatal consequences of mixing prescription painkillers and popular sedatives like Valium and Xanax, which can lead to breathing problems, coma and death.

The Food and Drug Administration said it will add a boxed warning – the strongest type – to more than 400 medications, including opioid painkillers, opioid-containing cough medicines and benzodiazepines, which are used to treat anxiety, insomnia and other psychological conditions.

Painkillers and sedatives are among the most commonly-prescribed medications in the U.S., but both drug types slow users’ heart rate and breathing, which can lead to dangerous drug interactions.

FDA officials said the number of opioid patients receiving sedatives increased by 41 percent, or roughly 2.5 million patients, between 2002 and 2014.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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