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Combining Sedatives with Methadone

The Dangers of Combining Sedatives with Methadone

Benzodiazepine and Alcohol are commonly used sedatives that combined with Methadone can have deadly consequences.

Benzodiazepines are usually prescribed for treating sleep disorders or anxiety. Some of the most commonly used/abused benzodiazepines are:  Xanax, valium, diazepam, lorazepam, and Klonopin to name a few.  Although these drugs work well to relieve symptoms of anxiety, such as panic attacks, there is an increased danger when used with methadone.

Benzodiazepines and alcohol are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, meaning they naturally slow down the heart and respiratory rate.  When combined with methadone (another CNS depressant), these effects are increased, which could cause a person to go to sleep, stop breathing, and never wake up again.

Duke City Recovery Toolbox has protocols in place to decrease the potential for overdoses related to the combination of these substances.

In medication assisted treatment programs, it is common to see patients with benzodiazepine prescriptions because people who suffer from addiction often suffer from anxiety and sleep disorders.

Methadone can only be prescribed by pain clinics (for pain) and medication assisted treatment programs (for addiction).  This means that many physicians do not have methadone experience and often do not know the contraindications either. Duke City Recovery Toolbox works with these prescribing physicians to provide education and guidance in order to offer patients safer alternative medications allowing someone to continue their treatment while treating their anxiety as well.

Self-medicating using alcohol or benzodiazepines should never be an option.  Often times when someone is suffering with symptoms of anxiety or an already established dependence to either of these substance, self-medicating becomes their only option. 

Benzodiazepines and alcohol work to sedate, calm anxiety and allow for sleep. However, there are other options and when these substances are used with methadone the combination can be deadly.  The best option is to find an anxiety medication that is safe in combination with opioid replacement therapy so all of the patient’s needs can be met.

If you have questions about medication, and/or opioid replacement therapy, contact us at Duke City Recovery Toolbox.