According to the latest research conducted by the scientists from Albert Einstein College of Medicine and the University of Pennsylvania, the number of mood disorder drugs-related deaths has increased dramatically in the United States.
The number of deaths hit record levels of deaths related to the overdose of the most popular prescription medicines used to treat anxiety, insomnia, depression, alcohol withdrawal, and so on. Interestingly, the medicines are used not only for the conditions they are indicated, they can be used also as muscle relaxants, to beat eating disorders, etc. However, the researchers point out that there are three main reasons for using these drugs: insomnia, anxiety, and mood disorders. The list of the drugs related to this tragic new record includes well-known brands such as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and other medicines from the group of benzodiazepines.
The study found out that over an eighteen-year period, from 1996 to 2013, the number of adults getting the prescriptions for these drugs increased by 67%. But the more concerning data from this statistic is that the number of deaths related to antidepressants increased almost fourfold. Therefore, the number of prescriptions increased, roughly, 3 times, but the number of deaths related to the medicines overdose increased by 4 times or more. The study doesn’t offer a certain explanation to these phenomena, but the authors suggest that the deaths number increased because not only the number of prescriptions increased but also the quantity used grew.
For example, some people use the drugs twice as much as they should be or use them for a longer duration which increases the risk of overdose as the substances are accumulated in the body tissues and organs. The authors address providers not to prescribe anxiety drugs and other benzodiazepines so readily if there are other means that can help beating insomnia or other disorders in certain patients. The study also raises a dispute about who should be responsible for the drugs combination, whether it should be pharmacists who will control what medicines the customer buys and whether they are compatible or not or there should be other safety mechanisms.
According to the authors of the study, the other factor that contributes to the dramatic increase of benzodiazepines-related death statistics is the simultaneous use of the drugs with the other substances such as opiates and alcohol. The combination of the substances greatly reduces the safety of the mood disorder drugs.
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