Benzodiazepines and Opioid Use May Result in Respiratory Compromise and Death
Position statement on benzodiazepines and opioids by the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety
One of the commonly overlooked complications to safe opioid administration is failing to account for the additive sedation effects of non-opioid medication. In recognition of these dangers, in August 2016, the FDA issued its strongest warning about combined use of opioids and benzodiazepines and issued another caution more recently on September 20, 2017.
To further emphasize that the concomitant use of benzodiazepines and opioids may be a deadly combination, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety released a position statement, "Patients Receiving Benzodiazepines, in Combination with Opioid Analgesics, May Suffer from Respiratory Compromise and Death."
"In order to avoid respiratory compromise and death, there must be significant caution and monitoring of patients receiving benzodiazepines and other sedatives," said Michael Wong (Founder and Executive Director, particularly when received in combination with opioids. Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety, "particularly when received in combination with opioids."
To help prevent respiratory compromise and death in patients receiving an opioid analgesic and a benzodiazepine or other sedative, the Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety recommends:
To read a pdf of the PPAHS position statement on benzodiazepines, please click here.
About Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety
Physician-Patient Alliance for Health & Safety is a non-profit 501(c)(3) whose mission is to promote safer clinical practices and standards for patients through collaboration among healthcare experts, professionals, scientific researchers, and others, to improve healthcare delivery. For more information, please go to www.ppahs.org.