Suboxone And Xanax | Dangers Of Polysubstance Abuse

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D. on April 26, 2021

People who use Xanax and Suboxone together may not realize there are dangerous health risks associated with combining these medications. Abusing prescription drugs can be a sign of addiction, which may require treatment.

Dangers Of Mixing Suboxone And Xanax

Suboxone is a narcotic painkiller medication used to treat opioid addiction. Xanax is a prescription benzodiazepine medication that reduces activity in the brain and spinal cord.

Both Xanax and Suboxone may lead to chemical dependency and addiction when abused. People who take either of these medications must be closely monitored for signs of substance abuse disorder.

Polysubstance abuse can lead to severe side effects and even fatal overdose.

Fatal overdoses are due, in part, to intensified side effects and respiratory failure caused when two CNS medications are combined.

How Suboxone Works

Suboxone, methadone, and naltrexone are similar medications prescribed to inhibit the euphoric effects of opiates or heroin in the body.

Suboxone contains buprenorphine and naloxone. It is used to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings in people with opioid addiction.

The buprenorphine in Suboxone binds to the same opioid receptors as other opiates — like morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone — without causing the same intense and euphoric side effects.

How Xanax Works

Xanax is a prescription benzodiazepine medication. This medication is commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, and moderate depression in affected individuals.

Xanax is a central nervous system depressant, which means it works by slowing certain functions in the brain and spinal cord.

People who use Xanax and Suboxone together may not realize there are dangerous health risks associated with combining these medications.

Dangers Of Mixing Suboxone And Xanax

Suboxone and Xanax are safe and effective medications when used separately and with the guidance of a qualified physician.

However, when these medications are combined, it may lead to deadly side effects.


Ohio Recovery Center


Plymouth, Massachusetts

Due to drug abuse and cases involving people who are simply unaware of the dangers of deadly drug interactions, mixing Suboxone and Xanax is a common problem in the United States.

Physicians are advised to avoid prescribing Xanax and Suboxone together to prevent health risks to an individual, as both medications are central nervous system depressants.

The combined effects of these drugs may easily overwhelm the brain and body, causing loss of consciousness, coma, respiratory failure, and death.

Side Effects Of Suboxone And Xanax

Combining Suboxone and Xanax should be avoided to reduce your risk of dangerous side effects and associated health risks.

Concurrent abuse of these medications may easily lead to respiratory failure. To avoid these risks, a person should notify their physician and pharmacist of all medications used before starting Suboxone therapy.

Side effects caused by mixing Suboxone and Xanax together include:

  • intense sedation
  • low blood pressure
  • respiratory depression
  • respiratory failure
  • coma
  • death

If these side effects are caught and treated early by emergency medical services, an individual may survive. Otherwise, brain damage and death may occur quickly.

Drug Interactions

Suboxone should not be used with other medications and substances that cause central nervous system depression as it can lead to respiratory failure, coma, and death.

This includes alcohol, other opioids, and benzodiazepines, such as Xanax.

If a person has both an opiate addiction and an anxiety disorder, a physician may be able to prescribe safe alternatives that do not cause drug interactions.

Other drugs that may interact with Suboxone include:

  • sedatives
  • antidepressants
  • antihistamines
  • common over-the counter medications
  • pain killer medications
  • muscle relaxants
  • alcohol

Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. Further, it is not recommended to stop medications or reduce the dose of current medications without first speaking with a qualified physician.

Overdose Risk

Due to the risks associated with opioid medications, the FDA has issued black box warnings to all opioid medications and benzodiazepines.

When a person takes Suboxone with Xanax, they are going against current medical guidelines of safe use. Physicians are advised against prescribing Suboxone to individuals who use Xanax.

The use of Suboxone in conjunction with other CNS depressants and alcohol should always be avoided, as it can lead to overdose.

Signs of overdose include:

  • unusual dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness
  • extreme lethargy
  • slow, difficult breathing
  • unresponsiveness (inability to wake up)

People should seek emergency medical attention if they or someone they know experiences these symptoms after taking Suboxone and other CNS depressant substances.

Addiction Treatment For Polysubstance Use Disorder

Unfortunately, the use of Suboxone and Xanax is not uncommon in the United States. While these drugs lead to dangerous drug interactions and side effects, many people are simply unaware of the risks.

Combining Suboxone and Xanax can quickly result in fatal side effects and coma. Overdose deaths attributed to the use of opioids and benzos are commonly reported.

When a person has an opiate addiction, or is undergoing Suboxone therapy, it is recommended they seek qualified substance abuse treatment and medical advice.

Without guidance and treatment, a person will remain at risk of health damage, dangerous side effects, overdose, and death.

If you or someone you love has a Suboxone or Xanax addiction, or if you have any questions about substance abuse treatment, connect with a treatment center through our helpline today.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

Addiction Resource aims to provide only the most current, accurate information in regards to addiction and addiction treatment, which means we only reference the most credible sources available.

These include peer-reviewed journals, government entities and academic institutions, and leaders in addiction healthcare and advocacy. Learn more about how we safeguard our content by viewing our editorial policy.

  • Was this Helpful?
  • YesNo
Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D. on April 26, 2021


Canton, Massachusetts

Bedrock Recovery Center


Levels of Care:

Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

View Center Profile


Plymouth, Massachusetts

Ohio Recovery Center


Levels of Care:

Payment Options: Insurance Accepted, Self Pay

View Center Profile

Spring Hill Recovery Center

Ashby, Massachusetts


Addiction Resource Logo
Addiction Resource