Prescribing both an opioid and a benzodiazepine to a patient can be hazardous since the combination can cause a fatal respiratory depression. The situation tends to occur when certain conditions are present. Despite warnings co-prescription of the 2 drugs still occurs.

Risk factors for co-prescribing an opiate and a benzodiazepine:

(1) A patient seeing multiple practitioners.

(2) The physician taking an incomplete drug history.

(3) The patient fails to report the drug history accurately.

(4) The patient has chronic insomnia with the new onset of an orthopedic problem.

(5) The patient has chronic pain with the new onset of insomnia.

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