Can You Safely Mix Xanax and Suboxone?
No, there is no safe way to mix Xanax and Suboxone. Doing so could result in death.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax belongs to a type of drug called benzodiazepines.
Benzodiazepines are 100 percent man-made medications that are most commonly used to treat symptoms of anxiety and seizure disorders. They are central nervous system depressants, meaning they calm nerves in the brain where excess activity is leading to anxiety or uncontrollable muscle activity like seizures.
Xanax, like all benzodiazepines, works by increasing the amount of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for sending calming messages throughout the brain. By increasing the amount of GABA, brain activity is reduced.
Benzodiazepines are highly habit-forming, however, so their use must be closely monitored.
Xanax is the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States because it is so effective at reducing anxiety, but it must be used with caution.
Tolerance to Xanax is expected to develop in most people after just a couple weeks of daily use. Long-term use is closely associated with addiction.
What Is Suboxone?
Suboxone is a combination drug that is medically used to treat opioid addiction. It is a mixture of buprenorphine, an opioid partial agonist, and naloxone, an opioid antagonist.
Buprenorphine helps to relieve symptoms of opioid withdrawal, while naloxone is used to reverse the effects of narcotics, including in instances of opioid overdose. When used in combination with therapy and lifestyle changes, Suboxone can be a very useful part of drug treatment programs.
Suboxone must be used with caution, however, as it also has the potential to be habit-forming. While it was designed to treat substance abuse, it has become a recreationally used drug.
If dependent on Suboxone, it is important to work with your health care provider to establish a tapering schedule to gradually reduce your use.
Potential Dangers of Mixing Suboxone and Xanax
It is not safe to mix Xanax and Suboxone, as they can create dangerous interactions in your body.
It is not advised to mix Suboxone with any medications that are used to treat anxiety or seizures, which is exactly what Xanax is for.
Dangerous side effects, such as overdose and death, have been observed in people who have combined Suboxone with other opioids, alcohol, or benzodiazepines like Xanax.
Another danger of mixing Suboxone and Xanax is the development of severe breathing problems. Serious breathing issues, followed by coma and sometimes death, have occurred in people who use Suboxone with benzodiazepines.
Additionally, using multiple substances at once increases your chances of developing liver and kidney damage, as the combination of substances puts added pressure on these organs to process multiple toxic substances at one time.
The Effects of Suboxone Use
Suboxone is likely to cause a number of short-term side effects when you start using it. Most of the side effects should dissipate as your body learns to process the drug well, though there are some long-term effects that may persist.
Side effects of Suboxone include the following:
• Numbness of the mouth
• Pain and redness of the mouth
• Numbness or tingling sensations
• Stomach pain
• Nausea and vomiting
• Impaired concentration
• Sense of being drunk
• Irregular heartbeat
• Changes in mood, including confusion and hallucinations
• Slowed breathing
If any of the above symptoms become severe or worsen with time, speak with your doctor right away. While some of the symptoms are relatively mild, others may indicate an allergic reaction or intolerance to the drug.
Recreational and long-term use of Suboxone increases your risk of developing serious side effects, such as dependence and addiction.
The Effects of Xanax Use
When used as prescribed by a doctor, Xanax is considered to be a safe and effective drug, and the experience of harmful side effects should be limited.
There are many side effects that are commonly experienced with the onset of Xanax use that should resolve on their own. More serious side effects, however, are associated with long-term use of Xanax as well as with recreational use.
Side effects of Xanax include the following:
• Impaired coordination
• Lessened cognition
• Slurred speech
• Blurred vision
• Memory problems
Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, are some of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. They send thousands of people who experiment with them to experience a relaxed high to the emergency room every year.
Only using Xanax for short-term medical purposes is the best way to reduce the risk of dangerous side effects.
Why Would People Mix Xanax and Suboxone?
People may mix the substances when using the drugs recreationally or when using them medicinally.
Someone who is receiving Suboxone as part of a medication-assisted treatment program may also have a prescription for Xanax from another doctor. Although both medications were received through legal prescriptions, it is important to inform all of your health care providers about each of the medications you are taking. They are likely to adjust your medication plan to ensure that you are not taking any substances that could inadvertently be putting your health at risk.
People who intentionally misuse Xanax and Suboxone are not likely to consult with their doctors about the safest way to combine the substances. Occasionally, people who are receiving Suboxone via a detox program will self-administer Xanax to get a high from the Suboxone.
While Xanax can increase Suboxone’s effects on the central nervous system, Suboxone does not produce any sense of euphoric high, so combining it with Xanax is fruitless and dangerous. Because of the potentially fatal dangers of mixing benzodiazepines with Suboxone, and the tendencies of people with substance use disorders to attempt to do so, most drug treatment programs that provide Suboxone test for benzodiazepine use throughout the process.
Using Xanax and Suboxone Safely
Xanax and Suboxone both serve important medical purposes. They can be used safely, just not together.
Although both drugs are controlled substances, they are considered to safe and effective for their designated purposes when used as intended. Xanax and Suboxone should only be used as prescribed by your health care provider.
If you find yourself using either drug in a way other than as prescribed to you, you’re taking someone else’s prescription, or you’re using the drugs to get high, these are all indications of prescription drug misuse.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids like Suboxone and central nervous system depressants like Xanax are two of the most commonly misused classes of medications. The country’s increase in prescription drug abuse over the last 15 years has caused spikes in the number of overdoses, fatal overdoses, and admissions to drug treatment programs.
If you want to avoid becoming one of these statistics, refrain from recreational use of prescription medications. Never experiment with dangerous combinations such as Xanax and Suboxone.
Misuse of Prescription Drugs. (December 2018). National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Oral Benzodiazepines Names, Side Effects, and Addiction. (October 2018). Medicine Net.
Suboxone. (February 2018). RxList.
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What is Suboxone (Buprenorphine and Naloxone)? (January 2015). Everyday Health.
What is Xanax (Alprazolam)? (May 2017). Everyday Health.