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Common Medication Consequences


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Some Commonly Prescribed Medications: Use and Consequences

Opioids

  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)

CNS Depressants

Barbiturates

  • Mephobarbital (Mebaral)
  • Pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal)

Benzodiazepines

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Chlordiazepoxide hydrochloride (Librium)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Estazolam (ProSom)

Stimulants

  • Dextroamphetamine (Dexedrine)
  • Methylphenidate (Ritalin)
  • Sibutramine hydrochloride monohydrate (Meridia)

Generally prescribed for

  • Postsurgical pain relief
  • Management of acute or chronic pain
  • Relief of coughs and diarrhea

Generally prescribed for

  • Anxiety
  • Tension
  • Panic attacks
  • Acute stress reactions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Anesthesia (at high doses)

Generally prescribed for

  • Narcolepsy
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Depression that does not respond to other treatment
  • Short-term treatment of obesity
  • Asthma

In the body

Opioids attach to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, blocking the transmission of pain messages to the brain.

In the body

CNS depressants slow brain activity through actions on the GABA system and, therefore, produce a calming effect.

In the body

Stimulants enhance brain activity, causing an increase in alertness, attention, and energy.

Effects of short-term use

  • Blocked pain messages
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Depressed respiration
    (depending on dose)

Effects of short-term use

  • A "sleepy" and uncoordinated feeling during the first few days, as the body becomes accustomed - tolerant - to the effects, these feelings diminish.

Effects of short-term use

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased respiration
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Sleep deprivation

Effects of long-term use

  • Potential for tolerance, physical dependence, withdrawal, and/or addiction

Effects of long-term use

  • Potential for tolerance, physical dependence, withdrawal, and/or addiction

Effects of long-term use

  • Potential for addiction

Possible negative effects

  • Severe respiratory depression or death following a large single dose

Possible negative effects

  • Seizures following a rebound in brain activity after reducing or discontinuing use

Possible negative effects

  • Dangerously high body temperatures or an irregular heartbeat after taking high doses
  • Cardiovascular failure or lethal seizures
  • For some stimulants, hostility or feelings of paranoia after taking high doses repeatedly over a short period of time

Should not be used with

Other substances that cause CNS depression, including

  • Alcohol
  • Antihistamines
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines
  • General anesthetics

Should not be used with

Other substances that cause CNS depression, including

  • Alcohol
  • Prescription opioid pain medicines
  • Some over-the-counter cold and allergy medications

Should not be used with

  • Over-the-counter cold medicines containing decongestants
  • Antidepressants, unless supervised by a physician
  • Some asthma medications

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This information came from a NIDA online article.


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