Gabapentin And Xanax: How Do The Two Interact?

Xanax is an anti-anxiety medication while gabapentin is used to prevent and control seizures. The two medications are sometimes prescribed to a person at the same time, which can cause potential interactions to occur.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Gabapentin (brand names Neurontin, Gralise, and Horizant) is an anticonvulsant that can be prescribed for seizures but which has a couple of additional uses.

It can also treat epilepsy, restless legs syndrome, and nerve pain after a shingles episode, with another lesser known off-label use being to treat anxiety.

Xanax is also a prescription drug that is used to treat anxiety and panic disorder and is from a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.

It is considered a central nervous system depressant and, unlike antidepressants, it is generally only prescribed on a short-term basis.

When taken as prescribed and directed, there should be no conflicts between Xanax and gabapentin. It is when a person starts to abuse one drug or both that problems can start to arise.

It is not uncommon, however, to think of gabapentin as an alternative to Xanax when treating certain anxiety disorders.

How Xanax And Gabapentin Interact

Taking Xanax and gabapentin at the same time can have adverse effects, as would Xanax and other drugs combined.

If prescribed these two drugs at the same time, a person should always follow the medical advice from their healthcare provider concerning dosages and other instructions.

Drug Potentiation

Drug potentiation occurs when two drugs that are taken together heighten each other’s effects.

Both Xanax and gabapentin have side effects of drowsiness and sleepiness, an effect that can be dangerously heightened when these drugs are abused together.

Combining these two drugs and taking higher doses would almost certainly put a person to sleep.

Considering that they both also slow down a person’s vital functions, they could also increase a person’s risk for overdose.

Motor Impairment

Motor impairment occurs when a person loses partial or total function of one of their limbs. Gabapentin is known to cause motor impairment while Xanax can also affect a person’s motor skills and coordination.

When Xanax and gabapentin interact, a person will lose their ability to operate machinery or drive a car. It is not uncommon to compare a person who is high on Xanax to a person who is intoxicated from alcohol.

Side Effects Of Mixing Xanax And Gabapentin

Drug interactions between Xanax and gabapentin can produce a variety of common side effects.

Some of the combined effects of Xanax use and gabapentin use include:

  • dizziness
  • double vision
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • respiratory depression
  • loss of consciousness
  • slowed heart rate

Differences Between Xanax And Gabapentin

Xanax and gabapentin are similar in that they both are effective at treating anxiety and share some of the same side effects, but they are different in many ways as well.

Xanax Has High Potential For Abuse

Both Xanax and gabapentin share a potential for abuse and addiction, but Xanax is highly addictive. Gabapentin is actually considered safe enough to be prescribed for people with substance use disorders.

Because Xanax is addictive, abuse of it also comes with severe withdrawal symptoms.

One of the withdrawal symptoms from Xanax is the potential for seizures, which can put someone in a life-threatening position.

Short-Term And Long-Term Anxiety

Gabapentin can be used for either short-term or long-term anxiety, while Xanax is only ever used in the short term or on an as-needed basis.

Xanax is generally prescribed by a healthcare professional when someone is experiencing panic attacks in addition to their anxiety or when they need a little extra help at times.

It may also be prescribed during a period of time when someone is experiencing more stress than usual.

Gabapentin Is Used For Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders

Gabapentin is often used to treat co-occurring anxiety disorders and substance abuse. This is because it is not as addictive as Xanax, so it is generally considered safer for a person who is already experiencing addiction.

In this sense, gabapentin could be considered an effective alternative to Xanax or other benzos for a person with a history of drug abuse or addiction.

Does Mixing Xanax And Gabapentin Increase The Risk Of Overdose Death?

Mixing a high dose of gabapentin and Xanax will amplify the effects that they both share, including sleepiness and dizziness. With high doses of either or both medications, a person will likely lose consciousness.

Mixing these two substances will also slow down a person’s breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure.

If another substance like alcohol or an opioid is added into the mix, it can greatly increase a person’s risk for Xanax overdose.

Treatment Programs For Xanax Addiction

While each addiction treatment center will have its own unique treatment programs, there are some treatment services you can expect to find at all healthcare centers for addiction treatment.

Treatment programs for Xanax addiction include:

  • individual counseling
  • family counseling
  • couples counseling
  • 12-step programs
  • medical detox
  • medication management
  • inpatient treatment
  • outpatient treatment

Find Substance Abuse Treatment Services At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is currently facing co-occurring disorders involving substance abuse, please consider talking with our treatment specialists at Bedrock Recovery Center.

We specialize in early recovery and take a trauma-informed approach to treating substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions.

Please give us a call if you have any questions or if you are ready to get started at our treatment center.

  1. U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH): PubMed
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM): MedlinePlus
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM): MedlinePlus
  4. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

Written by Bedrock Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Bedrock Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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