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Mixing Xanax And Oxycodone – Risks And Dangers

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

Medically reviewed by

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

June 11, 2019

Xanax and oxycodone are addictive drugs that can have dangerous side effects when mixed. Abusing both drugs at once can be life-threatening and may require treatment.

It is not uncommon for people to be prescribed more than one drug for medical or mental health conditions. What can be dangerous is abusing one or more of these drugs, or taking them in any way other than prescribed.

Oxycodone (oxy) is a common prescription opioid used to treat moderate to severe pain. In most cases, oxycodone is prescribed only for short-term use, as it can quickly become addictive.

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are another type of drug sometimes prescribed with opioids. The most commonly prescribed benzo is Xanax (alprazolam), which can be effective for treating anxiety and panic attacks.

Both drugs have depressant effects, meaning they slow down various functions in the body. This includes heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and more.

Mixing Xanax and oxycodone can cause severe and life-threatening effects, especially when taken in high or frequent doses. Mixing prescription drugs is also a sign of drug abuse and addiction, which often requires intensive treatment.

How Long After Taking Xanax Can I Take Oxycodone?

Prescribers are advised against prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines at the same time due to health risks. People that do receive prescriptions for both drugs should read their prescriber’s instructions carefully and take their dosages as directed.

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Whenever possible, the best way to avoid negative side effects is to avoid taking both at the same time. This is important not only due to health risks, but because both Xanax and oxycodone are also common drugs of abuse.

Xanax and oxycodone are powerful drugs that can be abused to produce euphoric effects. Some people mix the two to create an even more intense high. However, this can be dangerous and may result in stopped breathing, coma, or death.

Risks Of Mixing Xanax And Oxycodone

Taking oxycodone and Xanax together can be more dangerous than taking one alone. This is in part because they have similar effects, which can be enhanced when mixed.

Both drugs work by slowing down activity in the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS controls functions in both the brain and body. Slowed activity can cause causes effects of sleepiness and relaxation, and slow down functions such as breathing rate. This can be calming for people experiencing severe anxiety or pain.

Taking Xanax and oxycodone together can increase the risk for respiratory depression, coma, and death. This risk is increased when a person has taken high doses of one or both, or has taken the drugs in any way other than by mouth.

Other common side effects from mixing Xanax and oxycodone include dizziness, sleepiness, and confusion. These side effects can be powerful. In serious cases, mixing Xanax and oxy can have lasting effects on physical and cognitive functions.

Certain people may be more likely than others to be negatively affected by mixing the two drugs and may include:

  • elderly populations
  • people with low drug tolerance
  • people with other medical conditions (e.g. liver or kidney problems)
  • those with previous history of substance abuse

What Are The Dangers Of Mixing Oxycodone And Xanax?

There are several dangers linked to the combined use of oxycodone and Xanax. The most serious danger in the short-term is an accidental overdose. Mixing oxycodone and Xanax can also be a sign of drug abuse and can increase a person’s risk of addiction.

Increased Risk For Overdose

The most serious danger linked to the combined use of oxycodone and Xanax is an overdose. Overdosing occurs when too much of one or more drugs enter a person’s system, causing a negative reaction within the body.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that about 30 percent of opioid overdose deaths in the United States involve benzodiazepines like Xanax. Although both types of drugs can have powerful effects on their own, mixing the two can lead to overdose faster.

There have been increased efforts to raise awareness among prescribers of the dangers of prescribing oxycodone and Xanax together. If possible, it is best for doctors to find safer ways to treat co-occurring pain and anxiety.

Not every overdose on Xanax and oxycodone is fatal. The most effective way to prevent deadly consequences in an instance of overdose is to call 9-1-1 right away.

Signs of overdose may include:

  • slowed or stopped breathing
  • confusion
  • pinpoint pupils
  • choking or gurgling sounds
  • pale or bluish skin
  • cold skin
  • loss of consciousness

Polysubstance Abuse And Addiction

Mixing drugs can increase a person’s risk of chronically abusing and becoming addicted to drugs. This includes mixing prescription drugs like oxycodone and Xanax.

Combining the two without prescriptions for each is a sign of drug abuse itself. It is important to take prescription drugs exactly as prescribed. Increasing a dosage on your own, or taking it more often than directed, can have effects on the brain that make it harder to stop using drugs.

Common methods of oxycodone and Xanax abuse include:

  • swallowing tablets or pills
  • crushing tablets and snorting the resulting powder
  • dissolving the drugs in liquid and injecting them
  • smoking them

Abusing more than one drug or substance at once is known as polysubstance abuse. Overcoming addiction to one or more substances requires treating all addictions at once. The most effective way to do this is to undergo medically supervised detox.

Getting Help For Polysubstance Abuse

Mixing Xanax and oxycodone is a serious problem that can have life-threatening consequences. Treating chronic polysubstance typically begin with detoxification or detox. The safest way to do this is medically-supervised detox. This provides a supervised setting for people to withdraw from addictive drugs with the support of medical professionals.

Most people with polysubstance abuse problems are also recommended treatment within an inpatient program. This can help people overcome all aspects of their addiction, including emotional and mental effects. It can also help prevent relapse and lay a strong foundation for long-term addiction recovery.

If you or someone you know is abusing oxy and Xanax, don’t wait to seek help. Contact us today to find treatment options that suit your needs.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - Benzodiazepines and Opioids, Prescription CNS Depressants

U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) - Preventing Opioid Overdose

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