Xanax is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. After using Xanax in pill form, peak levels can be found in the blood about 1 to 2 hours later. The average half-life of Xanax in the blood is 11 hours in healthy adults, meaning that half of the drug has been broken down and eliminated through the urine during that period. It takes between five to seven half-lives for 98% of a drug dose to be expelled from the body, so Xanax takes at least four days to be fully eliminated.
The half-life of Xanax tends to be longer for the elderly, individuals who are considered obese, those with alcoholic liver disease, and people of Asian descent. Moreover, for these people, Xanax will likely take more time to metabolize and clear out of their system. Furthermore, the concentration of Xanax in the blood is up to 50% among tobacco smokers.
Risks of Xanax Use
Xanax can cause drowsiness and sedation, so for this reason, those using the medication should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any other activity or task that requires full concentration and alertness. Xanax can have interactions if combined with other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, and can lead to severe, life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, and coma or death. Medications of particular concern are prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and illegal drugs such as heroin.
Because Xanax can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, and because tolerance for the drug can build rapidly, it has the potential to be habit-forming. Patients should take Xanax as directed, and are strongly advised not to use it more often or in larger doses, as this can lead to serious health complications, addiction, and overdose.
Do not suddenly stop using Xanax, as this can result in withdrawal symptoms and serious complications. Instead, talk to your doctor about a tapering schedule in which you are gradually weaned off the medication over time.
Symptoms of Xanax overdose can include:
- Depressed respiration
- Clammy skin
- Dilated pupils
- Weak pulse
- Elevated heart rate
Common Side Effects
Xanax can produce side effects that often subside once the body has become used to the medication. The most common side effects include the following:
- Dry mouth
- Sexual dysfunction
- Appetite changes
- Joint pain
- Nasal congestion
Serious Side Effects
Serious side effects are rare, and may include the following:
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe rash
- Yellowish eyes or skin
- Memory problems
- Speech difficulties
- Impaired coordination
- Depression and mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatment for Addiction
Xanax is a powerful sedative that has the potential for abuse and dependence. Because withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax can be severe and even life-threatening, abrupt cessation is never advised, especially without the direct supervision of a medical professional or addiction specialist.
Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized treatment facility that employs a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to substance abuse and addiction. We offer multiple services vital to the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, medication-assisted treatment, and much more.
If you or someone you love is abusing Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the cycle of addiction for life!