Article at a Glance:

  • Xanax and Vicodin should never be taken together except for extreme circumstances as directed by a doctor.
  • Both drugs slow down the nervous system and increase the risk for overdose and death.
  • Both medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness and breathing problems.

Can You Take Vicodin (Hydrocodone/acetaminophen) with Xanax?

You should never take Xanax and Vicodin together unless directed by your doctor. Even then, there is a high risk for a dangerous drug interaction. There can be serious or deadly consequences that stem from combining Xanax and Vicodin.

Xanax and Vicodin both slow the activity of the central nervous system. Your central nervous system is responsible for most essential functions that keep you alive, including breathing. If you take two substances that both affect the central nervous system in this way, it can slow your respiration too much. You may become overly sedated or experience a coma or death from a combination of Xanax and Vicodin.

Drug overdose can be fatal. If you suspect someone is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately. Do NOT be afraid to seek help. If you do not have access to a phone, contact Web Poison Control Services for online assistance.

Many emergency room visits related to overdoses result from mixing benzos and opioids, such as Xanax and Vicodin. These overdoses can occur accidentally, or they can occur because someone is using Xanax and Vicodin recreationally, and they take too much in an attempt to get high.

Not only is there a risk of overdose or death, but you’re also increasing the chances you’re going to become addicted or dependent on one or both of these drugs.

What Is Vicodin?

Vicodin is the brand name for a combination drug that contains hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is an opioid narcotic, while acetaminophen is a pain reliever available in over-the-counter (OTC) formulations like Tylenol. It’s prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, and it’s a controlled substance in the U.S.

Some characteristics of Vicodin include:

Generic nameHydrocodone/acetaminophen
Conditions it can treatShort-term pain, post-operative pain, chronic pain
Drug typeOpioid and non-opioid pain medication
Controlled substance statusSchedule III
Side effectsNausea, Vomiting, Lightheadedness, Sedation, Dizziness
How long it takes to have its peak effect1-2 hours
Duration of effect4-6 hours

What Is Xanax (Alprazolam)?

Xanax is a controlled substance available by prescription in the U.S. to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Xanax stimulates the release of the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the central nervous system. It helps to reduce the activity of the brain, which results in the user feeling calmer and more relaxed.

Some characteristics of Xanax include:

Generic nameAlprazolam
Conditions it can treatAnxiety disorders, Panic disorder
Drug typeBenzodiazepine
Controlled substance statusSchedule IV
Side effectsDrowsiness, light-headedness, somnolence
How long it takes to have its peak effect1-2 hours
Duration of effect6-8 hours

Xanax and Hydrocodone Interaction

Xanax and hydrocodone are both sedating medications, and using them together can lead to potentially life-threatening interactions. The most dangerous side effect is the impact on breathing.

Both medications can slow down breathing to the point where a person stops breathing. In this event, their brain may stop getting oxygen, and they can lose consciousness and potentially die. A recent study found that taking a benzo while taking opioids increases the death rate by ten times versus opioids alone.

If you or a loved one is struggling with Xanax addiction or Vicodin addiction, The Recovery Village can help. Our licensed specialists offer evidence-based, compassionate addiction treatment and dual diagnosis treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions. Contact us today to discuss treatment options that can meet your needs.

Melissa Carmona
Editor – Melissa Carmona
As the content manager at Advanced Recovery Systems, Melissa Carmona puts years of writing and editing experience to work helping people understand substance abuse, addiction and mental health disorders. Read more
Conor Sheehy
Medically Reviewed By – Dr. Conor Sheehy, PharmD, BCPS, CACP
Dr. Sheehy completed his BS in Molecular Biology at the University of Idaho and went on to complete his Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) at the University of Washington in Seattle. Read more
Sources

Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Vicodin Package Insert.”  November 2006. Accessed October 17, 2021.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Xanax Package Insert.”  June 2011. Accessed October 17, 2021.

Drugs.com. “Drug Interaction Report: Xanax and Vicodin.” Accessed October 17, 2021.

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “Benzodiazepines and Opioids.” February 3, 2021. Accessed October 17, 2021.

Jones, Christopher; McAninch, Jana. “Emergency Department Visits and Overdose Deaths From Combined Use of Opioids and Benzodiazepines.” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, October 2015. Accessed October 17, 2021.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.