Xanax, known by its clinical name alprazolam, is a central nervous system depressant medication that’s used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
Xanax is in the benzodiazepine (commonly called benzos) family of medications, which produces a calming effect on people by raising the level of GABA in the brain.
It is possible to overdose on Xanax, especially if it’s taken with other substances such as alcohol. However, overdosing with only Xanax is unlikely.
How A Lethal Dose Of Xanax (Alprazolam) Is Determined
There is no known and confirmed lethal dose of Xanax for humans.
The FDA found that the lethal dosage in rats is 331-2171 mg/kg.
Other experiments in animals concluded death in instances of 195 mg/kg, which is 975 times higher than the recommended maximum human dosage of 10 mg per day.
Xanax is typically prescribed at a daily dosage of 0.25 to 0.5 milligrams (mg).
How Likely Is Xanax Overdose?
It would be difficult to overdose on Xanax resulting in death, as a person would need to take hundreds or thousands of times more Xanax than the maximum prescribed dose.
It is, however, possible to overdose when Xanax is combined with other substances. According to the FDA, fatalities have occurred in those who combined benzodiazepines and alcohol.
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Xanax Interactions With Other Substances
When used properly, Xanax can be a helpful tool in managing certain mental illnesses.
However, there are certain medications that Xanax cannot be mixed with.
The following can cause severe interactions, including death:
- other opioids and benzodiazepines
- Norco (acetaminophen/hydrocodone)
- sodium oxybate
Xanax And Alcohol Can Cause Overdose
Xanax works by releasing the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which increases dopamine levels in the central nervous system.
Alcohol is a depressant and also affects the levels of dopamine and GABA in the body.
Because Xanax and alcohol share similar properties, each substance will cause the other to become more potent than if they were taken alone.
This can result in significant sedation, euphoria, decreased motor skills, and other effects.
In addition, the body will metabolize alcohol faster through the use of the liver.
If an individual consumes a large amount of Xanax in combination with alcohol, this can cause a severe Xanax buildup because it’s being processed at a slower pace than the alcohol.
How Much Alcohol Is Safe To Have With Xanax?
Xanax should not be combined with any amount of alcohol.
But combining Xanax and alcohol is not inevitably lethal. This will depend on the amount of each substance consumed.
For example, consuming one alcoholic drink and one Xanax pill will likely not prove fatal, but multiple drinks and multiple Xanax pills will be much more dangerous.
Get Help For An Addiction To Xanax
If you or a loved one are ready to face the realities of Xanax addiction, we’re here to help.
We can connect you to a network of resources, specialists, and treatment facilities to help you to regain control of your life. Just call our helpline and start learning about your treatment options.
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- U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Medical Device Databases — Xanax
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Benzodiazepines and Opioids