Washington University ICTS investigators find opioid overdose reduced in patients taking buprenorphine

Opioid

Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, opioid misuse has continued unabated in the United States, with an estimated 2.5 million or more Americans suffering from opioid use disorder. Most people treated for the disorder are given medications, such as buprenorphine, that activate opioid receptors. But there is disagreement about whether it’s safe to prescribe buprenorphine for people who also take benzodiazepines, which are potentially addictive medications prescribed for stress, sleep and anxiety.

New research involving the medical data of more than 23,000 patients being treated for opioid use disorder supports the use of buprenorphine in patients also taking benzodiazepines. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis found that the drug can protect opioid users from overdosing, even when such patients also take benzodiazepines, such as Valium, Xanax and Ativan.

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