Many fatal drug combinations are linked to prescription medications.
According to Psychology Today, approximately 40 percent of alcoholics have been found to regularly abuse Xanax. However, mixing alcohol with Xanax is an extremely dangerous practice that can cause death. Alcohol should never be taken with benzodiazepines, which have sedative effects. This combination of drugs can increase the risk for respiratory failure and overdose. There are several fatal drug combinations in addition to the commonly abused alcohol and Xanax cocktail that have the potential to be fatal. Everyone should be aware of these deadly drug combinations as individuals are often prescribed medications from different doctors who may not be aware of all of the medications a patient is currently taking. Here are five of the most deadly drug combinations that should never be taken at the same time:
- One of the most deadly drug combinations is alcohol and almost any other drug taken with it. Alcohol is a depressant that should never be mixed with benzodiazepines, as mentioned above, or other sedative drugs such as opiates. Opiates include Vicodin, OxyContin, and illicit drugs like heroin. When alcohol is mixed with opiates, the sedative effects of both substances are heightened and the risk of respiratory depression and overdose increase significantly.
- Alcohol should also never be mixed with antidepressants. The risk for a negative reaction is high when a person abuses alcohol while taking antidepressants. As one of the more surprising fatal drug combinations, it can cause impaired brain function, dangerously high blood pressure, and worsening depression.
- Alcohol makes the list once again as one of the most fatal drug combinations when it is combined and taken with stimulants of any kind. Adderall, Ritalin, methamphetamine, speed, or cocaine can mask the effects of alcohol and prompt users to drink more than they normally would. The effects are what make alcohol and stimulants one of the most deadly drug combinations. Individuals are at a serious risk for dangerously high blood pressure and overdose when they consume alcohol and stimulants together. This risk is also present when an individual is consuming alcohol with stimulants that include caffeine, over the counter decongestants, diet pills, and certain cold remedies.
- It is very possible for an individual who suffers from stress and anxiety on a regular basis to take anti-anxiety medication (benzodiazepines like Xanax or clonazepam) as needed. However, if the same individual sustains a back injury, and is now prescribed a painkiller like Vicodin (opiate) and a muscle relaxer like Carisoprodol from a different doctor, the results can be fatal, as these three different types of drugs should never be taken together.
- Individuals should always disclose all medications they are currently taking to any prescribing doctor. Individuals may not realize that the anti-depressant medication they take daily to treat their mild depression may be part of one of many fatal drug combinations when it is combined with an opiate pain medication, such as Percocet. Some antidepressants work by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain, which improves the mood of the person taking them. However, there are certain painkillers that do the same thing, which can lead to dangerously high levels of serotonin when these drugs are taken together. High levels of serotonin can cause agitation, increased body temperature, rapid heart and breathing rates.
It is important to read all warning labels on medications and all literature that comes with prescription drugs. Deadly drug combinations are a serious concern for elderly people, who are more likely to be taking a variety of medications for different medical conditions at the same time, elevating the risk for adverse reactions. Accidental overdoses have also been on the rise, with a marked increase of 400% among women alone since 1999, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To avoid falling victim to any of the above mentioned fatal drug combinations, stay vigilant and disclose all medications to your physician when you are being prescribed new medications. Prevention is the best medicine.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.