Safety officials nationwide are asking for a so-called “black box warning” on certain types of drugs, letting the users know that using some combinations of prescription drugs raises the risk of an overdose. The types of medications they are requesting warnings on are opiods and benzodiazepines.
Opiods are used for relief from chronic pain. Benzodiazepines are used to address symptoms like anxiety and sleep disorders. When the two medications are taken together, they may interact in the brain and could put patients at an increased risk of respiratory depression and a fatal overdose.
Hospital admissions for a co-occurring addiction to the two drugs soared between 2000 and 2010. The use of opiods alone has risen drastically in recent years, because increasing numbers of doctors are prescribing these drugs for conditions that people used to treat with over-the-counter pain killers in years past. Tragically, about 44 people die every day because of an overdose on prescription opiods, and about a third of those involve benzodiazepines.
Health advocates want the FDA to require warning labels on all opiods and benzodiazepines, which could help raise awareness of the risks. Drug manufacturers could voluntarily put those warnings on their drugs, but in many cases drug companies will not taken action until they are forced.
If you or your loved one has been harmed by a prescription drug, the drug manufacturer may be liable. Call the personal injury attorneys at Kennedy Hodges at 855-947-0707, or visit our LinkedIn page to learn more.