Benzodiazepines in Combination with Opioid Pain Relievers or Alcohol: Greater Risk of More Serious ED Visit Outcomes

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Short Report


This short report examines emergency department (ED) visits involving benzodiazepines, which are medications prescribed to relieve symptoms of anxiety, panic attacks and seizures. It looks at the effect of combining benzodiazepines with opioid pain relievers or alcohol, both substances that also depress the central nervous system. The report quantifies the increased risk of more serious outcomes such as hospitalization or, rarely, death in the ED, when benzodiazepines are combined with alcohol or opioid pain relievers. The relationship between the patient’s age and the risk of more serious outcomes between the risk of more serious outcomes and the age of the patient is also described.

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