Mixing Xanax and Codeine

Xanax and codeine are two frequently talked about drugs, and while both do have potential therapeutic benefits, they also have risks and downsides that come with their use.

The following provides an overview of Xanax and codeine separately from one another and also details the potential effects of mixing codeine and Xanax.

Xanax and Codeine | Effects of Mixing Codeine and Xanax
Before looking at the effects of mixing codeine and Xanax, what is Xanax?

Xanax is the brand name of a generic drug called alprazolam. It’s prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders, and it’s in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, or benzos.

When someone takes any benzo, it acts on their central nervous system in a calming way. More specifically, Xanax and drugs like it affect GABA, which is a naturally-occurring chemical in the brain and body.

While Xanax does have a calming effect and it does treat symptoms of anxiety and panic, it also has side effects. Some of the side effects of Xanax can include feeling dizzy and lightheaded, as well as drowsiness. People who take Xanax are warned against drinking alcohol because it can make it difficult for them to perform normal tasks and it can impact their alertness and motor skills. There are other drugs that can have dangerous or deadly interactions with Xanax as well, such as opioids.

Xanax binds to the benzodiazepine receptors in the brain of the users, and along with calming anxiety or panic symptoms, it can create a sense of calm, relaxation and well-being in the user.

Xanax is potentially habit-forming, and it’s one of the most prescribed and also abused prescription drugs in the U.S. Along with a psychological addiction, Xanax can also lead to a physical dependence so if someone takes it for a period of time and then stop suddenly, they may go through withdrawal

Codeine is a prescription medication that’s in the opioid drug class.

Opioids are also known as narcotics, and they’re given to patients to relieve pain. Codeine is derived from opium, and when it goes into the brain, it converts back to morphine, where it then binds to opioid receptors. When this happens, it not only changes how the user feels pain, but it can cause a sense of euphoria, or a high. This is why codeine and other opioids are considered addictive.

Unfortunately, some people view codeine as a safe opioid to take, because it’s less powerful and less addictive than most other opioids, but this doesn’t necessarily make it safe. Codeine does still have risks, and it’s important to be aware of what these are before taking it.

Xanax is part of many of the drug overdoses and the fatalities that occur in the U.S., but it’s not very often the cause of these scenarios on its own. Instead, people frequently mix Xanax with other substances, either accidentally, or to heighten the effects of the substances, and then, as a result, it can cause a dangerous or fatal overdose.

What about Xanax and codeine?

Xanax and codeine are two substances that should never be combined or taken together because both depress the central nervous system. When this happens, it can cause a person to become very drowsy, sedated, and have a slowed breathing rate. It can even lead to breathing stopping altogether, which is what an overdose is.

Both Xanax and codeine on their own slow the respiratory system, and when taken together, the effects can be much more profound.

Also, with both Xanax and codeine users develop a tolerance relatively quickly, meaning they need higher and higher doses to feel any effect, which increases the chances of overdosing. People who mix Xanax and codeine might not even realize how much they’ve taken because their tolerance prevents them from feeling the effects, but that doesn’t mean their central nervous system isn’t being depressed.

There’s also more of a chance of an addiction developing when you’re using multiple substances simultaneously.

When drugs are commonly prescribed as is the case with Xanax and codeine, people can be lulled into a false sense of security. They may think just because it’s common to see people taking these medicines that they’re safe, and this just isn’t the case.

Both Xanax and codeine cough syrup and tablets can be safe when taken exactly as prescribed, and only over the short-term, but the risks are serious and often deadly otherwise.

For example, mixing Xanax and codeine cough syrup or tablets can cause extreme impairment, sedation and a fatal overdose resulting from the depression of the central nervous system.

These dangerous interactions make it important to speak openly and honestly with your physician about any other substances you take before getting a new prescription.

Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.

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