The FDA issued new warnings late last year on the dangers of mixing medications. Their bulletin was designed to draw attention to the concept of a “drug cocktail,” a potentially lethal mix of medications that can cause adverse side effects including coma and death.
This article explains the real dangers to which you expose yourself when you mix meds. Why does this include both legal and illicit drugs? What about drugs and alcohol? Where can Washington residents turn for help with substance use disorders?
Washington Drug Rehab and Drug Safety
As if the opioid epidemic isn’t enough for Washington healthcare officials to combat; now the FDA is warning of another danger. It seems the medications currently being used to treat opioid addiction are being combined by substance abusers with antidepressants and other drugs.
These lethal drug cocktails are killing people.
The FDA issued a bulletin that suggests mixing meds and alcohol or combining methadone or buprenorphine, which are drugs used to help people fight opioid addiction, with other medications, can be deadly. Using these drugs in combination with Ambien or Lunesta for insomnia or Valium and Ambien for anxiety can slow the central nervous system to the point where the user can stop breathing, slip into a coma, and die. Other harmful drug interactions with opioid medications include Soma and Zanaflex that are common muscle relaxants and the antipsychotics Abilify, Saphris, and Invega—among others.
The dilemma here is that medication-assisted-therapies (MAT) have been proven effective at treating substance abuse. STAT News reported on the science of MAT, suggesting that drugs such as methadone are extremely helpful in combating the powerful cravings stemming from opioid addiction. MAT breaks both the physical and psychological addiction tied to both legal opioids and illegal drugs like heroin. That is why Washington State drug rehab facilities often recommend MAT as part of their treatment programs. While the drug MAT is replacing could be lethal, MAT helps substance users begin to reclaim their lives and become a more productive part of society again. MAT can be even given in an outpatient setting, which allows people in recovery to go back to work or school.
But the drug cocktail of opioids or MAT drugs creates a severely dangerous mix that must be avoided. In an effort to warn consumers and their doctors about these potentially lethal drug combinations, the FDA has added new warning labels to these medications. They suggest that healthcare providers should be cautious when prescribing opioid pain medications with benzodiazepines or any other central nervous system depressants because the risk is too great. The FDA also warns that physicians should take caution when prescribing opioid-based cough medications to a patient that is using alcohol or is taking another central nervous system depressant.
Washington State Drug Rehab and Drug Cocktails
Potentially lethal drug cocktails can cause dizziness and lightheadedness at first followed by extreme sleepiness and difficulty breathing. If you’re with someone having this reaction, call 911 immediately.