Opioid prescriptions for acute and chronic pain increased dramatically from the late 1990s into the current decade in both the civilian and the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense treatment environments. Similarly, prescriptions for benzodiazepines also increased significantly for anxiety and insomnia. Combinations of opioid and benzodiazepines have proven fatal when taken concurrently, with research demonstrating this phenomenon for nearly 40 years. This issue is exacerbated within the veteran population because of higher rates of pain, anxiety and other related health issues due to military life. An evaluation of the relationship between opioid and benzodiazepine medication practices at the VA is necessary to improve treatment for mental health and combat-related trauma for veterans.
An Approach to Evaluate the Effects of Concomitant Prescribing of Opioids and Benzodiazepines on Veteran Deaths and Suicides investigates the effects of opioid initiation and tapering strategies in the presence of benzodiazepines in veterans. This report explores neurobiology and the principles of addiction and tolerance, in addition to the current use of opioids and benzodiazepines for treating pain and anxiety in both the veteran and general population. It also provides a protocol to evaluate the relationship between opioid and benzodiazepine medication practices. This framework is a critical foundation for further research to improve concomitant opioid and benzodiazepine medication practices for veterans and the general population.
Table of Contents
|2 Specifying the Target Trial||43-70|
|3 Observational Emulationof the Target Trials and Practical Considerations||71-98|
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