Benzodiazepines and opioids are two types of medications that act on the brain. Stress, sleeplessness, and worry episodes were treated with benzodiazepines, whereas discomfort is treated with opioids. Since both reduce the desire to breathe, individuals who use opiates and benzodiazepines at a similar moment get an increased chance of overdose.
Doctors had long cautioned about the dangers of mixing sedatives and prescribed painkillers, such as Xanax and Vicodin, Valium and Norco, or Restoril and Percocet. Recent research finds that prescribing the two distinct kinds of medicines to the same person by numerous doctors instead of the single physician is highly dangerous.
Risky Drug Mixture Gets Riskier When 2 Different Doctors Prescribe Them
From late 2016 and the end of 2018, upwards of 529,000 patients above the age of twelve received overlap benzodiazepine or opioid prescriptions, according to a review of commercial insurer and Medicare records. A group from Michigan Medicine, the University of Michigan’s flagship medical center, reported it in JAMA Network Open.
“We know that having overlapping opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions is one of the strongest risk factors for overdose. Our findings suggest that the circumstances that lead to these overlapping prescriptions matter.
For example, if a psychiatrist prescribes a benzodiazepine to a patient whose primary care doctor is already prescribing opioids, that may be more dangerous than if the primary care doctor writes both prescriptions,” said Kao-Ping Chua, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the new study.
Prescribed medicines are known as the best use for the patients but the moment they are completed with two different doctors it may be a deadly combination. One can avoid it by consulting both doctors and letting them know what is prescribed by the other but in the absence of the same, it may prove dangerous for the health of the patient if such medicinal course is followed.
According to the current research, the danger of overdosing is much greater for individuals who filled an existing prescription for both medications but received them from two separate providers. The hazard is 20 percent higher after accounting for variations in client demographics and medication dose.
Chua notes that the reasons for the increased risk aren’t clear, but he speculates that it involves lack of coordination, a known risk factor for overdose. “Because of differing health record software, a doctor in one system might prescribe a benzodiazepine without being aware that the patient is being prescribed an opioid by a doctor in another system. This results in missed opportunities to co-prescribe naloxone and educates patients about the risk of overlapping opioid and benzodiazepine prescriptions,” he said.
One approach, according to Chua, is to develop an alert in electronic medical records to co-prescribe naloxone if a physician attempts to prescribe an opioid to patients who have already been given a benzodiazepine by some other physician in the same systems. He also points out that when dispensing restricted drugs, several jurisdictions allow health care providers to consult a Prescription Monitoring System, which enables them to determine if their patients are using a drug that could interact with the one they’re recommending.
In total, 44 percent of individuals received overlapping medicines only from one drugmaker, whereas 28 percent had overlap medications from several health care providers. Prescribing from various health care providers accounted for almost 38 percentage points of the days when opiates & benzodiazepines overlapped.
Throughout a time of concurrent opioid and benzodiazepine treatments, one out of every 231 individuals experienced an overdose. This percentage might be significantly greater, according to Chua, if the research had included overdoses caused by remaining pharmaceuticals that weren’t used throughout the research time.