Addiction Helpline and Resource Center

Dangerous Combinations of Prescription Drugs

Dangerous combinations of prescription drugsAccording to the Census Bureau, in the last ten years the number of prescription drugs purchased in the United States has increased 39%. Most people are aware of the following recommendations when taking prescriptions medication:

  • Always tell your doctor and pharmacist about other medications and supplements you’re taking
  • Read, understand and follow all directions
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist any questions you have about both prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications
  • Be aware of the potential side effects
  • Report any adverse reactions to your doctor

The following are three drug-taking behaviors that should never occur, as they increase the risks associated with drug use and often lead to addiction:

  • Swapping. Swapping involves exchanging your prescription drug with a friend or family member. This is dangerous as you have no idea how you are going to react to the “unprescribed” drug. Your physician determines the prescription medication that is most appropriate for you based on your gender (men and women react differently to medication and metabolism, and hormones can affect how quickly a drug takes effect), potential for allergic reaction and other medications/supplements you are taking.
  • Combining. Do not combine medications without consulting with your doctor or pharmacist about potential interactions with other drugs. You might not be aware of the potentially dangerous amounts of an ingredient that might be in multiple products. For example, acetaminophen is common in many cold and flu medications and is also found in prescribed pain medications. In large quantities acetaminophen can be harmful.
  • Increasing the dosage. In an effort to improve or increase the effects of the medication, some people may take more than the recommended dosage. By either taking a higher dose or taking the medication more frequently than prescribed, a person puts themself at greater risk.

Prescription Drugs Abuse Facts

Prescription drug abuse can occur depending on doses, your individual body chemistry, your tolerance, how much you took, over what time period and if you ate anything. The commonly abused drugs that don’t mix well are opioid painkillers (such as OxyContin, Vicodin, Lortab, Percocet and Tylox) and tranquilizers (such as Xanax, Ativan and Klonopin). These combinations are often associated with overdose deaths.

A University of California at San Diego study of more than 50 million U.S. death certificates from 1983 to 2004 yielded the following statistics:

  • In 1983, 92 people died at home from the combination of medications, street drugs and/or alcohol. In 2004, 3,792 died.
  • The number of fatal medication errors rose from 3,954 in 1983 to 22,770 in 2004.
  • In this period, 200,000 people died from medication mistakes.
  • Per capita prescriptions issued increased by nearly 74 percent.

Why Are People Taking More Prescription Drugs?

There are several factors that are influencing the increase in prescription drug usage including the following:

  • Patient stays in hospitals are shorter
  • Many procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, and consequently more doctors are likely to prescribe drugs with less follow-up
  • Medications are becoming more powerful and addictive
  • Insurance companies are less likely to pay for expensive pain treatment plans

Get Help for Prescription Drugs Addiction

Finding the right detox program to meet your needs or the needs of someone you love can be an overwhelming experience. You need help to determine the most appropriate prescription drug addiction treatment for you. While recovery is difficult, it is possible and we can help, so please call our toll-free helpline today. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about prescription drug addiction and detox programs. We are here to help.

banner ad