Prescription medication bottles frequently warn against the use of alcohol or other medications when taking certain drugs but despite these warnings, thousands of users do not heed the advice of the drug manufacturers or of the doctors who prescribed the drugs. Unfortunately, millions of people do not take the risks that are associated with certain deadly drug combinations seriously enough. In fact, very few people even think about the prescription medications as drugs and those who do, are reluctant to care about the way that these drugs may interact with other substances or drugs. As a result, thousands of overdoses and deaths take place each year and many could be prevented.
Alcohol is well known to interact in a negative way with prescription drugs and although it is one of the most dangerous combinations, there are many other life-threatening combinations that take place with other combinations of drugs, substances or foods paired with medications. Yes, that’s right, deadly combinations of medication and food can and DO occur every year!
Here’s a few of the most dangerous drug combinations that have caused an increase in hospitalization, overdose and even death in patients over the past few years:
- Benzos & Alcohol – One of the most common factors when benzidiazepines are taken with alcohol is that the user forgets how much medication that they have taken and he or she continues to take more and more of the drug. Because alcohol is a depressant and benzos such as ativan, Valium, and Xanax are also depressants, the result of taking these two substances in combination can lead to a depressed central nervous system, loss of consciousness and coma. Together, these two substances pose a potentially lethal risk to the user.
- Antidepressants & Alcohol – Taking an antidepressant such as Prozac or Elavil with alcohol can lead to a dangerously high blood pressure, increased depression, suicidal thoughts or tendencies and death. Many people who suffer from depression also use alcohol to self medicate and this puts them at serious risk, especially when they begin taking antidepressant medications as part of the mix.
- Opiates & Alcohol – Morphine, heroin, Oxycontin; they are all opiates and they are all potentially lethal when taken alone in large doses or when taken in even very small doses in conjunction with alcohol. There is an increased risk of respiratory depression, overdose and death when opiates are taken with alcohol.
- Opiates & Benzos – A more recent combination and most surely lethal when combined with alcohol, opiates such as Oxycontin and benzos such as Xanax should NEVER be combined. Further, when these two types of prescription medications are taken with alcohol, the risk of respiratory failure, coma and death increases almost 100 fold!
- Stimulants & Alcohol – Methamphetamine, crack cocaine, speed and Adderall are all stimulants that can increase the heart rate and will mask many of the depressant effects of alcohol. This can be very dangerous to the user because there is an increased risk of drinking dangerously large amounts of alcohol when taking stimulants while drinking. Additionally, the user is likely to use more stimulants when the alcohol effects do begin to appear so the overall cycle can be viscous and deadly too.