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Combining opioids with other central nervous system depressants — mainly alcoholic beverages or benzodiazepines — greatly increases the risk of opioid overdose and death. These dangers are highlighted by new research showing that alcohol and benzodiazepines were commonly co-involved in U.S. opioid overdose deaths in recent years.
Although impaired driving usu¬ally is caused by alcohol or marijuana, many commonly used prescription and over-the-counter medications also can impair one’s ability to drive safely. Learn about several classes of medications that can cause this serious problem to protect yourself, your passengers and others who share the road with you.
Most U.S. adults drink alcohol at least occasionally. Many also take prescription or over-the-counter drugs that have the potential to inter¬act adversely with alcohol. Avoid serious harm by knowing which drugs should not be taken in combination with alcohol.
In this article, we review the dangers of using opioid-containing cough and cold medicines in children younger than age 18.
Readers of Worst Pills, Best Pills News are aware that all benzodiazepine tranquilizers and sleeping pills, except for alprazolam (XANAX) and clonazepam (KLONOPIN), are now considered Do Not Use drugs. In this article, we explain why combining these drugs with opioid painkillers could kill you.
In this article, we review new evidence suggesting that long-acting opioids are associated with a higher risk of unintentional life-threatening over¬doses than short-acting forms of these drugs.
These updates provide new information that has become available since we published our last articles regarding these three categories of drugs.
The article reviews a recent petition to the FDA seeking improvements on the labels of prescription opioids (narcotics). The label change would prevent drug companies from promoting these drugs for noncancer pain for dangerously long periods of time, at doses that are too high, and for uses other than severe pain in noncancer patients. The petition was signed by 37 public health experts, including leaders in the fields of pain medicine, addiction and primary care; the health commissioners of New York City and New York state; and Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.
Bupropion is used to treat depression (brand name: WELLBUTRIN) and to aid smoking cessation (brand name: ZYBAN). The drug has a number of potentially dangerous interactions, some of which are quite different from typical antidepressant interactions.
The article lists 24 drugs that can increase the toxicity of oxycodone if taken together with the drug and 11 other drugs that can weaken its effectiveness as a painkiller if they are simutaneously used.
Codeine is routinely converted to morphine in the body in order for it to be an effective painkiller. The metabolism of codeine to morphine takes place through the actions of an enzyme in the liver. The article explains how various drugs and or a person's genetic makeup can greatly influence the conversion of codeine to morphine, making its pain-relieving properties too week if not enough conversion occurs and resulting in what amounts to an overdose at the recommended dose if the conversion to morphine is too rapid. Fourteen drugs that inhibit the conversion to morphine are listed in the article.
Prescription and over-the-counter cough and cold medications should not be used in children younger than 2 years of age. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement advising that parents should be told that efficacy of the cough suppressants codeine and dextromethorphan in young children was unproven, and that there is a potential for adverse drug reactions.
A high frequency of drug intake to manage headache pain may mean that you have a condition known as medication overuse headache (MOH). According to the International Headache Society, MOH may exist when the following criteria are fulfilled: (1) there is headache on 15 or more days a month; (2) pain characteristics are dull, and of light to moderate intensity on both sides of the head; (3) drug intake includes ergots, triptans and opioids (these drugs are discussed below) for 10 or more days per month, simple painkillers 15 days or more for a minimum of 3 months; and (4) the headache disappears after withdrawal.
This is the first of a two part series on drug induced psychiatric symptoms that is based on the July 8, 2002 issue of The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics. Regular readers of Worst Pills, Best Pills News will recognize The Medical Letter as a reference source written for physicians and pharmacists that we often use because of its reputation as an objective and independent source of drug information. The article lists the drugs and their psychiatric adverse effects.