5 Common But Deadly Drug Interactions

Mixing drugs

Drug interactions are common with all types of medications. Thankfully, doctors and pharmacists keep track of medications so they can alert you of potential interactions. However, if you’re abusing substances, there is no one to guide you. Every time you combine substances, you are taking a gamble on your life.

Below are five of the most common drug interactions and why they are potentially deadly.

  1. Vicodin and Xanax

Vicodin is a blend of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Xanax is alprazolam, a benzodiazepine. When taking the two drugs together, the effects of Vicodin are enhanced. This can lead to shallow breathing, increased sedation and a higher risk for overdose and addiction.

Sometimes, doctors might prescribe both medications. Usually, this is the case because a person is suffering from anxiety and chronic pain. If you are seeing two different doctors for pain and anxiety, be sure to share all of your medications. Or, talk to your pharmacist about the safest way to treat both conditions.

  1. Benzos and Alcohol

Benzodiazepines (Ativan, Xanax, Valium) are sometimes prescribed by doctors for treating anxiety or insomnia. They should be a last resort, as benzos are habit forming. When combined with alcohol, you’re doubling the effects of both drugs. As a result, you may experience slurred speech, paranoia, depression or hallucinations. Bottom line: never combine alcohol with benzos.

  1. Opioids and Alcohol

Another group of drugs that you should never take alcohol with is opioids. Opioids are prescription pain medications that affect the central nervous system. Because alcohol does the same thing, brain activity is impaired and motor functioning is slowed. It’s possible that you could suffer from increased toxicity and overdose that results in a loss of consciousness, coma or death.

  1. Opioids and Potentiators

Opioids are so commonly abused, people have tried other methods to enhance the effects using potentiators. For example, some people will combine hydrocodone with antihistamines, sleeping pills or nausea medication to increase the effects. Others will push feel-good endorphins that come from basic products such as orange juice or grapefruit juice. Combining opioids with any substances to strengthen the effects puts you at risk for abuse and addiction.

  1. Suboxone and Prescription Drugs

Some rehab centers recommend suboxone to treat an opioid addiction. If you are on other medications, be sure to let your doctor know. Suboxone increases the effects of other drugs and can lead to potentially fatal effects. For example, suboxone and benzos can suppress breathing and heart rate, leading to coma or death. Suboxone and stimulants can cause dangerous spikes in blood pressure and heart rate.

Drug interactions must be taken seriously. Always talk to your doctor about the medications you are on. If you suspect drug abuse in someone you care about, call The River Source today.