Prescription opioid and benzodiazepine misuse linked with suicidal thoughts

Misuse of prescription opioids or benzodiazepines (such as Xanax) was associated with suicidal ideation in a study of US older adults.

In the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry study of 17,608 adults aged 50 years and older, past-year use (without misuse) of prescription opioids or benzodiazepines was not associated with past-year suicidal ideation.

In contrast, past-year opioid misuse was associated with an 84 percent increased odds of past-year suicidal ideation, and past-year benzodiazepine misuse was associated with a twofold increased odds, after controlling for various factors related to suicide in other work.

While 2.2 percent of US older adults not engaged in either opioid or benzodiazepine misuse reported past-year suicidal ideation, the rate was 25.4 percent in those who misused both medication classes.

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