Ask The Doctors: July 2019

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In a 2016 study of 23,000 patients, opioid users were twice as likely to die from cardiovascular (CV) and respiratory problems than from an overdose. A 2019 study found that at 90 days after discharge, there was a slight increase in the death rate among heart patients, mostly from breathing difficulties during sleep, heart rhythm irregularities and other CV complications. Opioids can exacerbate sleep apnea, increase mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and depress heart muscle function when combined with benzodiazepines such as Valium.
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