Opioids: FDA Requires Boxed Warning about CNS Depression with Opioid, Benzodiazepine Use

September 16, 2016 | Strategic Insights for Ambulatory Care


​The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is adding a boxed warning about serious risks of central nervous system (CNS) depression associated with the interaction of prescription opioids and benzodiazepines, states an August 31, 2016, FDA safety alert. FDA warns that these drugs are sometimes prescribed to patients at the same time and that both carry a risk of slowed or difficult breathing, which is amplified when they are used at the same time. FDA asks providers to prescribe opioid pain medications and cough medications containing benzodiazepines or other drugs that depress the CNS only in situations in which a patient has no reasonable alternative.

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