A Yale School of Medicine study of veterans shows that long-term prescription opioid use may increase patients' risk of death. About 64,000 veterans who took opioids or benzodiazepines long-term were observed for 90 days or more. The risk of death, of any cause, was higher for those who took the medication than those who did not. The risk was even greater for patients who took both types of medication at the same time. Patients who took opioids had a 40% higher risk of death and patients who took benzodiazepines had a 26% higher risk. It was one of the few studies to assess the risks of benzodiazepines. "Now we have convincing evidence that physicians should think twice before prescribing both of these medications at the same time," study leader Daniel Weisberg, MD, said. "We really have to be cautious about the number of prescribed meds that patients are on."