A new study warns that drinking alcohol while taking powerful opioid painkillers can trigger a potentially deadly respiratory problem, particularly in seniors. In the study, report on by HeathDay , the researchers assessed how mixing the opioid painkiller oxycodone and alcohol affected 12 younger volunteers, aged 21 to 28, and 12 older volunteers, aged 66 to 77. The study authors reported that taking just one oxycodone tablet with a modest amount of alcohol increased the risk of respiratory depression. The older volunteers were more likely than the younger ones to have repeated episodes where they temporarily stopped breathing. The study was published online Feb. 7 in the journal Anesthesiology .
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