Can You Safely Mix Xanax and Percocet?
Mixing Xanax and Percocet can lead to an overdose, which requires emergency medical attention.
What Kind of Drug Is Xanax?
Xanax (alprazolam) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, as well as seizures. It interferes with excessive excitement in the brain that can lead to anxiety or seizures and works by calming neural activity.
Because Xanax does such a good job at creating a calming sensation throughout the body soon after it is taken, it is also a widely misused drug.
People become addicted to the calm and happy high that Xanax can produce when it is consumed in high doses.
As a benzodiazepine, Xanax has a high potential to be habit-forming so its use must be closely monitored. The opioid overdose epidemic is a public health concern that has swept the country over the last 20 years, and benzodiazepines are playing an ever-increasing role in this problem.
As of March 2018, over 30 percent of opioid overdoses also involved benzodiazepines. The number of prescriptions filled for benzodiazepines, the most popular of which is Xanax, increased 67 percent between 1996 and 2013, totaling 13.5 million prescription in 2013. Additionally, the amount of benzodiazepines that each prescription is written for continues to increase.
In 2015, nearly a quarter of people who died due to an opioid overdose had also used benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines like Xanax serve important medical functions, but they can be very dangerous when abused.
What Kind of Drug Is Percocet?
Percocet is a prescription pain reliever that is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. It is meant to be used for the short-term treatment of moderate to moderately severe pain.
People who take Percocet daily for more than a few weeks are likely to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication.
While acetaminophen (Tylenol) is a relatively safe drug and available over the counter, the use of oxycodone must be closely monitored.
Oxycodone is a potent opioid pain reliever that is highly addictive. It comes with multiple boxed warnings from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that include:
• Addiction and misuse warning.
• Decreased breathing rate warning.
• Accidental ingestion warning.
• Pregnancy warning.
• Drug interaction warning.
• Benzodiazepine drug interaction warning.
The FDA places these warnings on drugs, so users are aware of the strength and potentially dangerous side effects of the drug they are consuming and will hopefully adjust their use appropriately.
Risks of Mixing Percocet and Xanax
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s Medline Plus, there are serious risks associated with mixing Xanax and Percocet. This is echoed by the FDA’s oxycodone and benzodiazepine drug interaction warning.
When Xanax is combined with drugs like Percocet, it increases your chances of experiencing life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, coma, or death.
If you take Xanax and Percocet together, it is possible to develop the following symptoms:
• Unusual dizziness
• Extreme sleepiness
• Slowed or difficult breathing
Combining Xanax and Percocet has the potential to cause the above symptoms, which are similar to an overdose. If any of the above symptoms occur, it is important to seek emergency medical care right away.
Especially if alcohol is added to the mix, you are putting yourself at very high risk for experiencing life-threatening side effects.
Side Effects of Xanax
You are likely to experience side effects from Xanax, whether you are taking it to manage anxiety or just to get high. Most of the side effects of Xanax are considered to be relatively short term, though misuse of the drug, such as taking it in high doses or more frequently than your doctor has prescribed, can impact your experience of side effects.
Side effects of Xanax include the following:
• Blurred vision
• Dry mouth
• Stuffy nose
• Memory problems
• Decreased concentration
• Sleep problems
• Impaired coordination
• Upset stomach
• Nausea and vomiting
• Increased sweating
• Increase or decrease in appetite
• Decreased libido
If any of the above side effects persist for more than a week or two or seem to be getting worse, you should speak with your health care provider right away.
Even when using Xanax recreationally, you should not ignore the presence of side effects, as they could be indicating serious health effects for your body.
Side Effects of Percocet
Like Xanax, there are many side effects associated with using Percocet. Acetaminophen has relatively mild side effects, so the greatest side effects, as well as associated dangers, related to taking Percocet are caused by oxycodone.
Common side effects of Percocet include the following:
• Stomach pain
• Dark urine
• Loss of appetite
• Nausea and vomiting
• Blurred vision
• Impaired coordination
• Irregular breathing
• Muscle aches
• Problems sleeping
Many of the side effects of Percocet and Xanax are similar, which makes it even more dangerous to combine the two drugs.
Combining the drugs increases your chances of experiencing negative side effects and increases the severity of the side effects that do occur. In such an event, medical attention would need to be received right away.
Long-Term Use of Xanax and Percocet
The longer you use Xanax and Percocet, the more likely you are to develop a substance use disorder.
Both drugs are known to be habit-forming, and they are likely to cause withdrawal symptoms for people who have become physically dependent on them following long-term use. In addition to dependency, the risk of overdose increases the longer each drug is consumed, especially when used recreationally and consumed together.
The longer you use any drug, the more tolerant your body is likely to become to its effects. For someone seeking a high out of a substance, they will need to consume higher doses to achieve the desired effects.
Symptoms of a Xanax and Percocet overdose include the following:
• Bluish lips or skin
• Cold, clammy skin
• Extreme drowsiness
• Loss of consciousness or going in and out of consciousness
• Low blood pressure or pulse
• Dramatically slowed breathing
Although the rates of prescription drug overdoses continue to rise across the U.S., overdoses do not need to be fatal. As soon as someone starts showing any of the above signs of an overdose, call 911. Medical intervention can prevent a drug overdose from becoming fatal.
What to Do if Xanax and Percocet Are Mixed
If you or someone you know has mixed Xanax and Percocet, keep a close eye on the development of any life-threatening symptoms. As strong prescription medications, the drugs have the potential to cause dangerous interactions that are likely to require immediate medical attention.
With high rates of fatal overdoses in the country right now, it is important to be vigilant about seeking emergency medical care in the event of an overdose or when any dangerous side effects emerge. More and more frequently, fatal overdoses are related to multiple drugs being consumed at once.
You may be tempted to combine Xanax and Percocet in search of a specific high, but it is never a safe combination to experiment with, as the risks far outweigh any benefits.
Alprazolam. (September 2017). U.S. National Library of Medicine: Medline Plus.
Alprazolam, Oral Tablet. (December 2016). Healthline.
Benzodiazepines and Opioids. (March 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Oxycodone, Oral Tablet. (October 2018). Healthline.
Percocet. (February 2019). Drugs.com.
Percocet. (October 2018). RxList.