Xanax (alprazolam) is a prescription medication used to treat panic disorders and anxiety caused by depression. Codeine is an opioid analgesic drug also classified as a central nervous system depressant that produces both calming and pain-relieving effects.
These prescription medications lead to sedation and relaxation by increasing gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory chemical that calms the central nervous system.
Taking codeine and Xanax together increases the risks for overdose, adverse drug effects, loss of consciousness, and death.
Side Effects Of Mixing Codeine With Xanax
This is largely because when taking these prescription drugs together, the dangerous side effects of each are amplified.
Short-term effects of codeine and Xanax abuse may include:
- diarrhea or constipation
In severe cases, side effects may include:
- mood swings
- heart attack or stroke
- vision impairment
- difficulty breathing
- muscle weakness
- sudden death
Xanax And Codeine Drug Interactions
The harmful drug interaction of codeine and Xanax is caused by their combined ability to cause respiratory depression and sedation. Both drugs slow and depress the central nervous system.
Prescription opioids and benzodiazepines carry an FDA black box warning to notify individuals taking these substances of this dangerous drug interaction.
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It is important that an individual who takes an opioid or benzodiazepine prescription drug consult with their doctor about the medications they use, including the use of alcohol, to avoid potentially fatal side effects.
To reduce the risk of overdose death, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends physicians avoid prescribing opioid medications with benzodiazepines to a patient.
Overdose Risk Of Codeine And Xanax
Since 1996, the number of adults who were prescribed benzodiazepine medications increased by 67%. Further, the rate of opioid-related deaths in this timeframe tripled, leading to their highest recorded levels in 2015.
Of these recorded overdoses, 60% involved the combined use of benzodiazepines and opioid painkillers.
Combining The Drugs May Lead To Overdose
Combining opioids and benzodiazepine medications is unsafe. Unfortunately, many individuals may overdose accidentally due to being prescribed both medications.
People who abuse both medications recreationally are at high risk of being admitted to the hospital for overdose and drug-related medical emergencies.
People who use Xanax and codeine may develop chemical tolerance that leads to needing higher doses to gain effect.
Increased Overdose Risk With Use Of Both Drugs
A person may not realize they’ve increased their dose to dangerous levels and overdose from taking too much, or taking more doses before the last dose has left their body.
These medications are safe when taken independently from each other in prescribed doses, at recommended levels and times.
However, taking them together, especially at higher doses, or when combined with alcohol or other drugs that suppress activity of the brain and vital organs, puts the user at risk of coma and death.
Treating Xanax And Codeine Polydrug Abuse
With a codeine and Xanax addiction, addiction treatment must address side effects, withdrawal symptoms, and all health conditions to improve chances of addiction recovery. Without appropriate treatment of detox and withdrawal symptoms, relapse may be likely.
Polydrug substance abuse programs are designed to offer medical advice and guide a person towards rehabilitation, while ensuring access to necessary medical services.
Because of the high risk of dangerous side effects, chemical dependency, addiction, and overdose, people who abuse these substances should seek treatment immediately.
If you or someone you know has a Xanax or codeine drug addiction, please connect with a specialist through our helpline today to learn about recovery program options.
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- National Center for Biotechnology Information — Interactions between benzodiazepines and opioids
- National Institute on Drug Abuse — Benzodiazepines and Opioids
- U.S. Food and Drug Administration — FDA Drug Safety Communication: FDA warns about serious risks and death when combining opioid pain or cough medicines with benzodiazepines; requires its strongest warning