Article at a Glance:
- Combining Xanax and wine can be deadly.
- Both substances are sedatives and have an enhanced sedative effect when taken together.
- The alcohol concentration in wine is moderate and therefore will cause toxic effects in smaller doses when compared to beer.
While some people may combine the two and never experience any negative consequences, but there is a strong potential for this mix to be fatal, which is a risk that’s never worth taking.
Xanax and Wine: Is It Safe?
Many people may wonder if it is safe to drink wine with a Xanax prescription given the popularity of having a glass of wine with dinner or unwinding in the evening. At the surface, this might seem like a harmless practice, and unfortunately, statistics show that alcohol and benzodiazepines (like Xanax) are commonly mixed. A study in the Western Journal of Medicine found that among people requiring emergency room treatment for benzodiazepine abuse, 27.2% of these cases also involved alcohol.
There are serious risks involved with mixing these two substances.
The Risks of Combining Xanax with Wine
Determining whether it’s truly safe to combine Xanax and wine requires a conversation with a medical professional. Most experts recommend that people using benzodiazepines (benzos) cut out alcohol or use it minimally since alcohol increases the effects of benzos.
Alcohol, like Xanax, affects the GABA receptors, which is why alcohol has a sedative effect on the body. When people mix Xanax and wine, the sedative effects are stronger than when Xanax is used alone, so a person may have a difficult time concentrating and feel especially drowsy using these substances in combination. Therefore, it’s extremely dangerous to combine the two when driving, caring for young children, or performing tasks that require care or concentration.
Some people may risk combining a glass of wine here and there while taking an anti-anxiety medication, but the best practice is to avoid alcohol altogether, because the combination can be deadly, especially in high doses. In 2015, one study found that 26.1% of benzodiazepine-related deaths in a given year involved alcohol use. Some research also shows that when alcohol and benzodiazepines are mixed, and cause an overdose death, the levels of alcohol in a person’s system are lower than typically associated with fatalities from alcohol use alone.
Remember that both of these drugs have a sedative effect and can impair breathing, making the combination of the two potentially fatal. If you’ve been prescribed Xanax, it is important to have an honest conversation with your doctor about your alcohol use.
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Harvard Medical School. “Benzodiazepines (and the alternatives).” March 15, 2019. Accessed June 13, 2020.
Bouvier, Benjamin; et al. “Prevalence and correlates of benzodiazepine use and misuse among young adults who use prescription opioids non-medically.” Drug and Alcohol Dependence, February 2018. Accessed June 13, 2020.
Ogbu, Uzor; et al. “Polysubstance Abuse: Alcohol, Opioids and Benzodiazepines Require Coordinated Engagement by Society, Patients, and Physicians.” Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, January 2015. Accessed June 13, 2020.
McGraw-Hill Medical. “The effect of alcohol on neurotransmitters in the brain.” June 11, 2018. Accessed June 13, 2020.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose.” March 2020. Accessed June 13, 2020.
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. “Xanax.” March 2011. Accessed June 13, 2020.
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