HealthDay News — Concurrent use of benzodiazepine receptor modulators and opioids and of nonselective and selective benzodiazepine receptor modulators increased from 1999-2000 to 2013-2014, according to a study published online January 17 in SLEEP.

Nicholas T. Vozoris, MD, from St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, conducted a cross-sectional study using US health survey data from eight National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey cycles, from 1999-2000 to 2013-2014. Prevalent prescription drug use was examined within 30 days preceding survey administration. For a large majority of participants, drug usage was confirmed by direct inspection of prescription bottles.

Vozoris observed increases in the estimated prevalence of concurrent benzodiazepine receptor modulator and opioid use in the United States, from 0.39 to 1.36% in 1999-2000 to 2013-2014, reflecting absolute and relative increases of +0.97 and +249%, respectively. From 1999-2000 to 2013-2014, the estimated prevalence of co-use of nonselective and selective benzodiazepine receptor modulators increased from 0.05 to 0.47%, reflecting absolute and relative increases of +0.42 and +840%. Independent risk factors were identified for these 2 forms of psychoactive medication polypharmacy. 

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“The rise in concurrent use of benzodiazepine receptor modulators and opioids, and nonselective and selective benzodiazepine receptor modulators, is concerning, because these forms of suboptimal drug utilization put recipients at elevated risk for serious drug-related adverse events,” Vozoris writes.

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