We all know the pleasures of a good painkiller. We often don’t know the risks. If we’re talking opioids, such as Vicodin, OxyContin and Percocet (hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone and fentanyl in their generic form) those risks are huge. Opioids can kill you.
According to Consumer Reports, every year 17,000 Americans die from opioid overdoses. And, another 500,000 Americans end up in the emergency room.
It’s relatively easy to become addicted to or heavily dependent on opioids. They ease short-term pain. And, doctors are prescribing them more and more. For sure, it’s unsafe to mix them with alcohol, tranquilizers and other drugs, or to take the drugs for too long.
A report by Express Scripts reveals that almost six out of ten patients are mixing opioids with muscle relaxants and anti-anxiety medications, a dangerous combination. The most frequent cause of accidental deaths from drug overdose stem from mixing an opioid with a benzodiazepine.
There are other drugs such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen to treat pain that have substantially fewer risks. For your health, before you take an opioid, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the other drugs you’re taking, including sleeping pills. If possible, you should minimize the use of opioids. And, of course, you should only take them as prescribed.
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