Xanax Treatment: Why Is Mixing Methadone With Xanax Dangerous?

April 26, 2021

Methadone and Xanax are depressants that affect the central nervous system (CNS). Both of these drugs have a potential for abuse and addiction. Taking them together not only intensifies the effects but can negatively affect one’s health and even lead to overdose.

Being depressants, both these drugs work heavily on the person’s brain, making the effects pleasurable, addictive, and dangerous. On their own, each drug on a level of abuse can lead to fatal degrees of CNS depression.

When taken together, the effects come quicker and heavier, making progress to fatal CNS depression easier. The American Family Physician (AFP) says that “an estimated 80 percent of benzodiazepine abuse is part of polydrug abuse, most commonly with opioids.”


What Is Methadone?

Methadone falls under the category of opioids. This prescription medication is given to treat moderate to severe pain. In some treatment programs, they are given to treat addiction to narcotic painkillers or heroin.

It blocks high drugs like heroin, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, and codeine give. It produces a similar effect and keeps the person from experiencing cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. While this drug is safer than other narcotics, it still has the potential for abuse and addiction.

Similar to Xanax, methadone targets the brain and nervous system. But rather than treat anxiety, it regulates the body’s response to pain, making the person feel relief. 


Effects of Methadone

Methadone has some common and mild side effects such as:

  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Constipation;
  • Stomach aches;
  • Headaches;
  • Dizziness; and
  • Tiredness.

These mild side effects usually go away after a few days or weeks. But if they are severe and are not going away, the person taking this drug must see their doctor immediately.


This painkiller opioid also has more serious side effects, including:

  • Respiratory problems
    • Chest pains
    • Shallow and slowed breathing
    • Shortness of breath
    • Lightheadedness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Feeling faint
  • Dizziness


What Is Xanax?

Xanax is the commercial brand name for alprazolam, a prescription medication is taken as a treatment for anxiety and panic disorders. It falls under the class of benzodiazepines, a medication that targets the brain and nerves to make the person feel calm. 

The drug’s dosage would depend on what the doctor prescribes based on the individual’s condition. Xanax is a highly potent benzodiazepine. People who take this drug must carefully follow their physician’s instructions to prevent adverse situations like abuse, addiction, and possibly an overdose. However, with a readily available drug over the counter, one who gets hooked with the drug at certain levels of severity may need professional Xanax treatment.


Effects of Xanax

A common side effect of taking Xanax include:

  • Slurred speech;
  • Feeling tired;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Poor balance and coordination;
  • Problems with memory; and
  • Feeling anxious in the morning.


However, this drug also presents more serious side effects such as:

  • Racing thoughts;
  • Overboldness;
  • Confusion;
  • Agitation and hostility;
  • Hallucinations;
  • Muscle spasms;
  • Tremors;
  • Seizures;
  • Depressed mood; and
  • Suicidal or self-harming thoughts;


How Lethal Is a Methadone and Xanax Combination?

Mixing substances without a clear understanding of their interaction with each other poses several risks. If patients don’t follow their doctor’s instructions and take Xanax and methadone together, they could experience several adverse situations.

  • Respiratory consequences

Combining Xanax and methadone can negatively impact the respiratory system. Both drugs have elements that can suppress the person’s respiratory system. Taking them at the same time scales up these elements’ ability to damage the respiratory system.

The smallest oversight in dosage can cause a person to have difficulty breathing. In more serious situations, the person could die of an opioid overdose.

  • Sedation

Xanax treats anxiety and panic disorders, while methadone treats pain, making them both sedatives. When taken together, the effects of their sedation properties will double up. This is incredibly dangerous. But if the sedative effect occurs at the same time as breathing problems, the outcome could be fatal.

With that said, people should never mix medications without the advice and prescription of their doctor. Before taking any medication, people must first consult their physicians and inform them of all the medication they are currently taking.


What medications should not be taken with methadone?

Aside from Xanax, there are other substances that require great care when taken with methadone. Here are some of them.

Major drug interactions

  • Adeno-jec (adenosine)
  • Ambien (zolpidem)
  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Flexeril (cyclobenzaprine)
  • Lyrica (pregabalin)
  • Neurontin (gabapentin)
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Valium (diazepam)
  • Zofran (ondansetron)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)


Moderate drug interactions

  • Adalat and Adalat CC (nifedipine)
  • Adderall (amphetamine/dextroamphetamine)
  • Advil PM (diphenhydramine/ibuprofen)
  • Adzenys ER and Adzenys XR-OT (amphetamine)
  • Bactrim, Bactrim DS, and Bactrim IV (sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim)
  • Cymbalta (duloxetine)
  • Lasix (furosemide)
  • Namzaric (donepezil/memantine)


Minor drug interactions

  • Nexium (esomeprazole)
  • Synthroid (quetiapine)
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)


Why Do People Abuse These Drugs Together?

There are two main reasons why people lead to polydrug abuse– or abuse more than one drug together: 

  • Boost a drug’s high

Often, people polydrug abuse to intensify the euphoric feeling the drugs give. By taking two or more at the same time, the effect time is quicker and the effects are heightened even more. Consequently, abusing these drugs can lead to addiction and the person has the risk of overdosing.

  • Decrease the side effects related to another drug.

On the other hand, other people take more than one substance to subdue the effects associated with one. For example, some people self-medicate with Xanax to cope with methadone withdrawal. However, if they relapse back to methadone while still having Xanax in their system, they could face serious complications. Those who have been struggling with Xanax and methadone abuse may undergo rehab recovery.

If you need help or know someone struggling with drug abuse especially looking for Xanax treatment in Arizona and looking for a drug rehabilitation center, turn to Buena Vista Health and Recovery Center. You can visit us in Cave Creek, Arizona, or contact us at (800) 922-0095.

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