Xanax And Codeine | Dangers Of Mixing Alprazolam And Codeine

Medically Reviewed by Johnelle Smith, M.D on February 12, 2021

Taking codeine and Xanax together can lead to dangerous side effects, including chemical dependency, addiction, and overdose.

Medically Reviewed by
Johnelle Smith, M.D on February 12, 2021
Dangers Of Mixing Xanax And Codeine - Effects Of Alprazolam And Codeine Polydrug Abuse

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

The use of benzodiazepine medications, like Xanax, with other central nervous system depressants, such as codeine, greatly increases an individual’s risk of adverse side effects.

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:

  • anxiety
  • diarrhea or constipation
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • fatigue

In severe cases, side effects may include:

  • mood swings
  • heart attack or stroke
  • vision impairment
  • fainting
  • hallucinations
  • difficulty breathing
  • seizures
  • 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.

This page does not provide medical advice. See more

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