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Mixing Xanax And Trazodone – Interactions And Dangers

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

Medically reviewed by

Isaac Alexis, M.D., AAMA, AMP-BC

June 13, 2019

Mixing prescription drugs like Xanax and trazodone can result in an increased risk of dependence and side effects. People who take Xanax and trazodone together may experience interactions like headache, mood changes, and difficulty concentrating.

Many prescription drugs come with warning labels that caution against mixing the medication with other substances. Taking drugs like Xanax (alprazolam) and trazodone together can cause an increased risk of dependence, as well as side effects like nausea and drowsiness.

Xanax and trazodone both have the potential for abuse. This means that people can easily become dependent on these substances. If a person stops taking either drug, they could experience withdrawal symptoms like anxiety or insomnia. Mixing Xanax and trazodone can lead to more difficult withdrawal symptoms.

Taking Xanax with trazodone does not carry a high risk of overdose, as these two substances do not affect the same part of the brain. The main danger of mixing these two drugs is an increased risk of side effects like dizziness or nausea.

However, neither of these medications should be taken with alcohol. If a person mixes Xanax and trazodone with drugs like alcohol, the drug interactions can lead to extreme drowsiness and slowed or stopped breathing (overdose).

How Xanax And Trazodone Interactions Affect The Body

Xanax is a benzodiazepine that is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. This medication reduces natural excitement in the brain, and helps people to feel calm. Trazodone is a serotonin modulator that increases mental balance. It may be used to treat depression, schizophrenia, or insomnia.

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Mixing medications is most dangerous when the drugs have a similar effect on the body. Fortunately, Xanax and trazodone interact with different parts of the brain. This reduces the risk of dangerous reactions when mixing the two drugs. However, certain risks do remain.

When Xanax and trazodone are taken together, a person may experience an increase in the side effects of both drugs.

Mixing Xanax and trazodone can lead to amplified side effects, including:

  • dry mouth
  • muscle aches
  • sweating
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting
  • constipation
  • weight changes
  • drowsiness
  • headache
  • change in sex drive or ability
  • difficulty urinating
  • sore joints

How Trazodone And Xanax Interactions Affect The Brain

Trazodone works to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a hormone that occurs naturally in the brain, and helps maintain a sense of well-being.

Xanax slows down and relaxes the central nervous system, and can stop a person’s breathing when taken in large amounts. When Xanax and trazodone are taken together, it may cause side effects that include changes in mood and issues with memory.

Xanax and trazodone can cause additional mental impacts, including:

  • nightmares
  • anxiety
  • irritability
  • trouble with balance or coordination
  • decreased concentration
  • speech problems
  • nervousness
  • suicidal thoughts

Mixing these drugs can also contribute to a person’s risk of abuse and addiction. If a person abuses Xanax and trazodone, they are at an increased risk for dependence and overdose.

Dangers Of Mixing Xanax And Trazodone

Xanax and trazodone are two frequently prescribed medications. Both of these drugs treat common medical conditions like depression. When taken as directed, Xanax and trazodone do not typically cause life-threatening reactions. However, if the Xanax or trazodone prescriptions are being abused or combined with other substances, dangerous reactions can occur.

Xanax is the most commonly prescribed benzodiazepine. It’s also the most common psychotropic medication — more than 48 million prescriptions were written in the U.S. in 2013. However, Xanax is also the most common benzodiazepine associated with emergency department visits. These visits are usually caused by Xanax misuse, including combining Xanax with other drugs. Taking large amounts of alprazolam can also lead to an overdose.

People who mix large amounts of Xanax and trazodone are also at risk for long-term side effects. These can include an increased risk of physical dependence and tolerance (needing higher doses of the drug).

Mixing Xanax with trazodone can lead to additional long-term health risks, including:

  • addiction
  • withdrawal symptoms
  • polysubstance dependence (being dependent on more than one drug)
  • serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening condition that causes delirium, fever, and agitation)

Elderly populations may be at an increased risk for the negative effects of mixing trazodone and Xanax. If your doctor has prescribed you these drugs, make sure to discuss any questions or concerns you have about the interactions of these medications.

Signs Of Xanax And Trazodone Abuse

If you are concerned that you or someone you love is struggling with mixing Xanax and trazodone, you may be feeling unsure of how to address the problem. It can be difficult to spot the signs of prescription drug abuse, especially when people have legitimate health conditions and legal prescriptions.

It may be helpful to learn the signs of prescription drug abuse, which can include mixing Xanax and trazodone or taking the drugs other than how they are prescribed. If your loved one is displaying any of these behaviors, it may be time to talk to them about seeking professional help.

Someone struggling with Xanax and trazodone addiction may show certain signs, including:

  • erratic behavior
  • social isolation
  • issues with money
  • difficulty concentrating
  • stories that don’t add up
  • defensive attitude about prescription drugs
  • mental focus on medication, doctors, or prescriptions
  • signs of dependence and withdrawal symptoms, including headache or nervousness

Getting Help For Xanax And Trazodone Abuse And Addiction

People who are addicted to prescription drugs like Xanax and trazodone may need help getting off the substances. Because these drugs can lead to dependence and withdrawal, a medical detox program may be necessary. Medical detox programs monitor people through the withdrawal stage and provide necessary support as they begin recovery.

Experts agree that the chances of recovery increase if a person attends formal addiction treatment after detoxification. Inpatient rehab centers throughout the U.S. offer specialty programs for people of all ages who struggle with prescription drug addiction.

To learn more about the interactions and dangers of mixing trazodone and Xanax, or to find a rehab center near you, reach out to one of our treatment specialists today.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition)

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health - A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal, Serotonin syndrome associated with sertraline, trazodone and tramadol abuse

U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus - Alprazolam, Trazodone

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