Test Your Knowledge: Avoiding Deadly Combinations with Prescription Opioids

Female doc looking at Mr K web smallerTest Your Knowledge:
Avoiding Deadly Combinations
with Prescription Opioids

Question

Which of these substances does not increase the risk of respiratory depression and death when consumed with an extended-release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioid?

  1. Alcoholic beverages
  2. Anxiolytics
  3. Sedative hypnotics
  4. Muscle relaxants
  5. Antidepressants

Show Answer


5. Antidepressants do not increase the risk of respiratory depression and death when consumed with an extended-release/long-acting (ER/LA). All the other substances are sedatives which can dangerously magnify the sedative effects of opioids. Learn more about the risks of co-prescribing opioids and sedatives.

Counsel your patients that the signs of respiratory depression may include:

  • Slowed breathing rate—generally seen as taking fewer than 12 breaths per minute
  • Reduced urge to breathe, especially with confusion or somnolence
  • Gasping while sleeping (such as associated with sleep apnea)