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Mixing Xanax And Wine – Interactions And Dangers

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

Medically reviewed by

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

June 12, 2019

Xanax and wine both slow activity in the central nervous system, causing effects such as drowsiness and decreased coordination. When combined, these and other effects can become more intense. Large doses of both can be dangerous and increase several health risks.

Many prescription drugs can have a negative interaction with alcohol, causing moderate to severe side effects on the mind, body, and a person’s behavior. One such drug is Xanax, a common drug for anxiety.

Although many people tend to believe wine is safer to drink than some other types of alcohol, this is not true when it comes to drug interactions. Mixing Xanax and wine can lead to several side effects ranging from mild to severe.

Drinking one glass of wine while taking Xanax is unlikely to cause serious health problems. Frequently drinking wine while taking the drug, however, can increase health risks – including risk for overdose.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is a commonly-prescribed anti-anxiety drug within the benzodiazepine drug class. Xanax is fast-acting, making it effective for short-term anxiety and panic relief.

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Xanax is effective for short-term use, but can be addictive when misused. Drugs like Xanax can cause dependence in the body over time, resulting in withdrawal effects with reduced or stopped doses. It can also become less effective with long-term use, which can prompt some people to take higher doses.

Xanax reduces symptoms of anxiety by slowing down activity in the brain. This can affect mood, behavior, and slow down functions in the body such as heart and breathing rates. People that take Xanax may feel drowsy and more relaxed.

It is important to take Xanax exactly as prescribed. Taking higher or more frequent doses, or taking it for longer than prescribed can increase a person’s risk for addiction. This can also lead to more severe dependence, making it harder for a person to stop taking Xanax.

Effects Of Mixing Xanax And Wine

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) advise against drinking alcohol while taking Xanax due to the possibility of a negative reaction.

Xanax and wine are both depressants that can slow down certain functions in the body and brain. Mixing wine and Xanax can cause these effects to be more intense. This includes the effects of drowsiness and dizziness that can occur while drinking or taking Xanax separately.

Other short-term effects of mixing Xanax and wine:

  • sleepiness
  • impaired memory
  • decreased motor control
  • slowed or difficulty breathing
  • strange behavior
  • unresponsiveness
  • overdose

The severity of these side effects typically depends on the amount of wine and Xanax dosage. Combining small amounts of both may cause milder side effects, such as faster intoxication and feeling sleepy. Mixing large doses of each, however, can be dangerous.

What Are The Dangers Of Drinking Wine While Taking Xanax?

Xanax and alcohol are both addictive substances that can have dangerous effects when misused. Although each can be abused on their own, it is common for people to abuse more than one substance at a time.

According to research, people with a history of alcohol abuse are more likely to increase Xanax doses on their own. Personal and family history of alcohol abuse can increase the risk of abusing drugs like Xanax, with or without a prescription.

Mixing large amounts of wine with high doses of Xanax can increase several health risks. The most serious consequence that can occur from mixing wine and Xanax is overdose. Chronic polysubstance abuse can also damage vital organs in the body such as the liver.

Factors that can affect the severity of side effects include:

  • dosage/amount
  • how often you drink while taking Xanax
  • how long you have been mixing the two substances
  • history of medical and mental health conditions
  • pre-existing liver damage


The combined effects of wine and Xanax can increase the risk for an overdose. Overdosing is a bodily reaction that occurs when there is too much of one or more drugs in a person’s system. Drinking alcohol while taking Xanax can cause overdose faster due to their combined effects.

Combining large amounts of wine and Xanax is especially dangerous. This can have a severe impact on breathing, and may lead to unconsciousness, coma, and even death.

Small amounts of wine and Xanax are unlikely to cause an overdose, unless you have other medical problems that impair your body’s ability to metabolize drugs and alcohol. However, medication attention may be needed if a person has lost consciousness or is unresponsive.

Risk factors for overdose include:

  • older age
  • liver problems
  • taking high doses of Xanax
  • chronic alcohol and/or Xanax abuse

Liver Damage

Chronic alcohol abuse can have harmful effects on the liver, damaging its ability to function properly. This can cause your body to process alcohol and drugs like Xanax less effectively.

Having liver damage or disease can also increase overdose risk, as drugs and alcohol may stay in your system longer, causing a buildup in the body. Continuing to drink heavy amounts of alcohol on a regular basis can worsen organ damage and lead to cirrhosis of the liver.

Is It Safe For Me To Drink While Taking Xanax?

It is not recommended that anyone drink alcohol while taking Xanax. The harm of drinking wine is minimal in small doses, but can still have moderate side effects. Heavy drinking while taking Xanax should be avoided.

Treatment For Xanax And Alcohol Abuse

Mixing Xanax with heavy drinking is a serious problem that may require treatment. The most effective option for overcoming Xanax and alcohol abuse is to enter inpatient treatment. Inpatient programs commonly offer detox services, as well as therapy and other beneficial treatments for recovering from substance abuse and addiction.

If you are concerned about drinking wine while taking Xanax, the best way to determine safety is to talk to your doctor. You can also learn more about the dangers of Xanax and alcohol abuse by talking to our specialists.

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

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism (NIAAA) - Harmful Interactions

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