BOSTON (CBS) — Opioids can be risky when taken alone, but when taken with sedatives called benzodiazepines, the combination can be particularly dangerous, even deadly. Yet, according to a recent study in JAMA Psychiatry, the chances of receiving a new opioid prescription is 83%  higher for patients on benzodiazepines compared with the general population.

Benzodiazepines include medications like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan.

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Both opioids and benzodiazepines can cause drowsiness and can suppress the part of the brain which controls your breathing, so if you use too much of either one or use them in combination, you could essentially stop breathing.

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Doctors are urged to avoid prescribing opioids like oxycodone and morphine to patients on sedatives, and patients themselves should be aware that they can these medications should not be taken in combination.

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Dr. Mallika Marshall