FDA: Don’t Mix Opioid Addiction Medication with Anti-Anxiety Drugs

mix-medication
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a new warning about mixing medication to treat opioid addiction with anti-anxiety drugs. Both types of drugs slow breathing and brain activity. Combining opioid addiction medications with anti-anxiety drugs can lead to difficulty breathing, coma or death, the agency said. In addition to anti-anxiety drugs such as Valium and Xanax, other drugs that should not be combined with opioid addiction medication include Ambien and Lunesta for insomnia, muscle relaxers Soma and Zanaflex, and antipsychotic drugs Abilify, Invega, and Saphris, the Associated Press reports. Buprenorphine and methadone, also known as medication-assisted treatment, reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal without producing a high. The FDA is requiring changes to medication-assisted treatment drug labels. The new labels recommend that health care providers develop a treatment plan that closely monitors any simultaneous use of these drugs.
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Women Who Inject Drugs May Be At Greater Risk of HCV Than Men

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There is a clear body of research assessing sex and gender differences in risk behaviors among people who inject drugs, however little or no research has investigated sex differences in hepatitis C (HCV) susceptibility. A newly published analysis examining data from more than 1800 people suggests that women who inject drugs have a 38% higher risk of contracting HCV than their male counterparts. Interestingly, while sharing of syringes and other injection equipment is a significant risk factor for HCV, differences in these behaviors did not account for the higher risk among women. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National institutes of Health. The analysis used data from the International Collaboration of Incident HIV and HCV in Injecting Cohorts, a project of pooled biological and behavioral data from ten prospective cohorts of people who inject drugs, including the United States, Australia, Canada...
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International Overdose Awareness Day Coming August 31st

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International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year and aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. An overdose means having too much of a drug (or combination of drugs) for your body to be able to cope with. There are a number of signs and symptoms that show someone has overdosed, and these differ with the type of drug used. All drugs can cause an overdose, including prescription medication prescribed by a doctor. It is important to know your correct dosage, what drugs definitely should not be mixed, and know to seek help if you feel you are not in control of your drug use. Globally, there is an estimated minimum of 190,000 – in most cases avoidable – premature deaths from drugs, the majority attributable to the use of opioids. The United States accounts for...
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“Molly” Sold at Music Festivals Often Contains Other Drugs

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People who think they are buying “Molly” at music festivals often end up with pills or powder that contain other drugs, according to a new study. Researchers studied data collected by the organization DanceSafe, which tested samples of pills or powder sold as Molly at music festivals in the United States between 2010 and 2015, The Washington Pos t reports. They found Molly, or MDMA, was present in only 60 percent of the samples collected. The rest contained a mix of ingredients. While most of the chemicals could not be identified, some samples contained methamphetamine. Several contained a potent form of the amphetamine PMA, which is more likely than many other drugs to be lethal with a single dose. The findings are published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.
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Teens at Elite High Schools May Face Increased Addiction Risk as Young Adults

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Teens who attend elite high schools may face an increased risk of addiction as young adults compared with national norms, a new study suggests. Researchers assessed more than 500 students from affluent communities starting when they were high school seniors through age 27. They found rates of addiction to drugs or alcohol among 19 to 24 percent of women by age 26—three times the national average—and 23 to 40 percent among men—twice the national average. The researchers said possible reasons for the increased addiction rate include pressure to succeed, having the money needed to buy drugs, alcohol and high-quality fake IDs, widespread peer approval of substance use, and parents’ lack of awareness, HealthDa y reports. “Paradoxical though it may seem, these ostensibly privileged youth, many of who start experimenting early and often with drinking and drugs, could well be among the groups at highest risk for alcoholism and addiction in...
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Drivers Killed in Crashes More Likely to Have Used Drugs Than Alcohol

Drivers Killed in Crashes More Likely to Have Used Drugs Than Alcohol
For the first time, U.S. drivers killed in crashes in 2015 were more likely to have used drugs than alcohol, according to a new study. The study found 43 percent of drivers tested in fatal crashes in 2015 had used a legal or illegal drug, compared with 37 percent who showed alcohol levels above a legal limit, Reuters reports. Among drivers who died in crashes who tested positive for drugs, 36.5 percent had used marijuana, while 9.3 percent used amphetamines. The report was released by the Governors Highway Safety Association and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a nonprofit funded by distillers. “People generally should get educated that drugs of all sorts can impair your driving ability,” said Jim Hedlund, a former official at the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, who wrote the report. “If you’re on a drug that does so, you shouldn’t be driving.”
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Drug Companies Seeking to Develop Less Addictive Pain Drugs

Drug Companies Seeking to Develop Less Addictive Pain Drugs
Pharmaceutical companies are working to develop less addictive pain drugs, according to the Associated Press . Companies are researching drugs that target specific pathways and types of pain, instead of acting broadly in the brain. One example of this type of drug is Enbrel, which treats a key feature of rheumatoid arthritis. Other drugs being tested would prevent the need for opioids. One numbs a wound for several days and reduces inflammation, thereby decreasing pain after surgery. The hope is these drugs will lessen the chance of developing chronic pain that might require opioids. Researchers are also looking for new sources for pain medicines, including drugs from silk, hot chili peppers and the venom of snakes and snails. They are also testing existing seizure and depression medicines for their ability to treat pain.
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Bleak Job Outlook for Less-Educated Whites Leads to Death by Drugs, Alcohol, Suicide

Bleak Job Outlook for Less-Educated Whites Leads to Death by Drugs, Alcohol, Suicide
A new study concludes a lack of steady, well-paying jobs for whites who don’t have college degrees has led to an increase in deaths by drugs, alcohol and suicide. The mortality rate for whites ages 45 to 54 without a college degree increased by a half-percent each year from 1999 to 2013, NPR reports. Whites with college degrees have not seen the same loss of life expectancy, Princeton University researchers report in Brookings Papers on Economic Activity. Researcher Ann Case told NPR , “The rates of suicide are much higher among men [than women]. And drug overdoses and alcohol-related liver death are higher among men, too. But the [mortality] trends are identical for men and women with a high school degree or less. So we think of this as people, either quickly with a gun or slowly with drugs and alcohol, are killing themselves. Under that body count there’s a...
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Increase in Drugged Driving Deaths Alarming

Increase in Drugged Driving Deaths Alarming
In just over a decade, the percentage of traffic deaths in which at least one driver tested positive for drugs has nearly doubled. This has raised alarms as five states are set to vote on legalization of marijuana. According to data released to USA Today , the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been tracking an increase in the percentage of drivers testing positive for illegal drugs and prescription medications. The increase corresponds with a movement to legalize marijuana, troubling experts who readily acknowledge that the effects of pot use on drivers remain poorly understood. Recreational marijuana is outlawed on the federal level yet it is legal in Colorado, Washington state, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. Five states including Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada, are set to vote on legalization. In 2015, 21% of the 31,166 fatal crashes in the U.S. involved at least one driver who...
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Easy Access to Drugs or Alcohol in Teen Years May Increase Risk of Later Substance Use

Easy Access to Drugs or Alcohol in Teen Years May Increase Risk of Later Substance Use
Teens who have easy access to drugs or alcohol may be at increased risk of substance use in adulthood, a new study suggests. The effects are stronger for white people and males, UPI reports. Researchers from Michigan State University analyzed data from 15,000 teens and young adults. The study found teens with easy access began using drugs and alcohol at a younger age, and were more likely to be using one or both substances later in life. The findings appear in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse . “These findings provide evidence that the availability of illegal drugs and alcohol in the home while growing up is a critical factor in the later use of substances,” lead researcher Cliff Broman said in a news release.
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