If you’re feeling under the weather, you might be wondering whether or not it’s okay to take Xanax when you have a cold. This is a common question because it seems like a natural fit to take Xanax or another kind of benzo when you’re sick. They can help you relax, and even help you get much-needed rest when you’re experiencing symptoms of a cold.
With that being said, most medical professionals find that taking Xanax when you have a cold can be dangerous, or deadly.
You might consider taking Xanax when you have a cold because you believe it could help alleviate your symptoms. There is a myth when it comes to taking Xanax when you’re sick that because it acts as a suppressant of the central nervous system and the respiratory system, it could suppress coughing if that was part of being sick.
The fact is, Xanax will do absolutely nothing to alleviate the symptoms of a cold or any other sickness, except for perhaps make you forget about those symptoms for a period of time. You may end up being able to get some rest if you take Xanax when you have a cold, but it’s been reported that a lot of people who go this route may initially fall asleep, but end up feeling worse the next morning than they would have without the Xanax.
It should also be noted that Xanax doesn’t impact the brain the same way as let’s say a cough medicine. For example, a cough medicine like codeine works by impacting the part of the brain that responds to the need to cough, and Xanax doesn’t do that.
Another reason someone might take Xanax when they have a cold is simply because they always take it. Someone who regularly takes Xanax might see no reason to stop taking it just because they’re sick, particularly if they’re feeling somewhat anxious about not feeling well, or they just want to relax and rest.
Unfortunately, there are many reasons not to take Xanax when you have a cold or any other kind of illness.
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There was a study published in the BMJ-British Medical Journal that highlighted the role sleeping pills or sedatives could play in increasing the risk of contracting pneumonia, and also upping the likelihood pneumonia could become deadly.
The research study indicated that taking certain sedatives could increase the likelihood of getting pneumonia by as much as 50%. Benzodiazepines, which is the category under which Xanax falls, have been linked to a higher risk of infections and also blood poisoning in patients who are ill, which is why the research study studying the risk of developing fatal pneumonia was launched.
The authors of the study looked at patient health records who’d been entered into a British national database, and they specifically looked at 5000 cases with a first diagnosis of pneumonia between a year-long period.
The use of benzodiazepines was also assessed, and this class of drugs was associated with a significantly higher risk of contracting pneumonia. Within 30 days the risk of death after being diagnosed with pneumonia was 22% higher among people who were taking benzodiazepines, and it was 32% higher within three years of diagnosis.
Of course, the study doesn’t necessarily show a causal relationship, but the results were significant enough to warrant more research.
Benzodiazepines are believed to have significant effects on the immune system, which is one of the key factors researchers believe played a role in the information they found regarding pneumonia.
Other clinical studies have also indicated that the use of Xanax, as well as Klonopin, can weaken the immune system, based on research using rats. Rats treated with Xanax in the clinical studies showed the most serious immune system deficiencies. This can be particularly troublesome news for people who take Xanax when they already have a compromised immune system.
Another reason it can be harmful or even deadly to take Xanax when you have a cold is because of the risks of drug interactions that an occur. Mixing medications can often be dangerous, and Xanax has the potential to be extremely dangerous when mixed with certain cold medicines.
For example, some cold medicines contain something called dextromethorphan, and if you were to use Xanax together with this over-the-counter substance, it could lead to problems ranging from dizziness to motor coordination.
If you want to take Xanax when you have a cold, it’s important that you consider a few things. First, you should always contact your doctor, but you should also specifically ask questions about what impact it could have on your immune system, as well as what drug interactions may exist, including potentially harmful interactions between Xanax and over-the-counter drugs. You should also be particularly aware of whether or not over-the-counter cold medicines have substances that could decrease the activity of your respiratory system because when combined with the effects of Xanax, this could be deadly.
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.