Lethal Dose Of Xanax: How Much Xanax Is Fatal?

It is possible to overdose on Xanax, a controlled substance that can result in long-term health complications. In some cases, Xanax overdose may be fatal. Benzodiazepine overdose can be influenced by both physical health factors and preexisting health complications.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


How much Xanax results in overdose is a difficult topic to address, as many factors can both influence and constitute benzodiazepine overdose.

Usual dosage levels for Xanax begin at 0.25 mg and can range all the way up to 10 mg for heavier dosages.

While it is uncommon to overdose on a standard prescription of Xanax, the danger comes when Xanax is taken alongside other substances, or when the prescription drug is misused.

Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants, such as opioids, can be extremely dangerous to mix with Xanax, alongside depressants such as alcohol.

In fact, the majority of benzo-induced fatal overdoses came as a result of mixing Xanax with other substances.

For this reason, it is difficult to narrow down exactly how much Xanax will facilitate a fatal overdose, as many physical health factors can greatly affect the amount that results in an overdose.

How Much Xanax Does It Take To Overdose?

A non-fatal overdose is characterized by ingesting any particular prescribed medication past the recommended dosage.

Whether the dose is 0.5 mg or 10 mg, taking more than you are expressly instructed to by your primary care doctor can result in adverse side effects.

Some of these side effects include:

  • fatigue
  • slurred speech
  • drowsiness
  • irritability

Factors That Contribute To Xanax Overdose Risk

There are a number of physical and mental health factors that can influence and contribute to the risk of Xanax overdose.

Amount Of Xanax Used

The first and most obvious factor to consider when examining the risk of overdose is, of course, how much Xanax is used.

Prescription drugs, no matter which kind, always come with certain instructions that detail how much is to be taken, when it should be ingested, and in what manner.

Intentionally or accidentally exceeding the amount of Xanax prescribed, or mixing it with other substances, can overwhelm the brain with too much gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) activity.

Consistent Xanax abuse in this manner can instigate a substance use disorder and result in the withdrawal symptoms when the person attempts to detox from the drug.

Mixing Xanax With Alcohol

The leading cause of overdoses caused by Xanax is mixing the antidepressant with substances, especially alcohol.

CNS depressants and alcohol both achieve the same task — slowing things down, due to their depressant nature.

When you mix alcohol and Xanax, it is easy for the compounding effects of Xanax and alcohol to result in a drug overdose.

Combining these substances can result in spiked blood pressure, difficulty breathing, respiratory depression, loss of motor function, and other potentially life-threatening complications.

Body Weight

The higher a person’s body weight, the more Xanax is needed to achieve the same effect.

This is because the active ingredients in Xanax need to work through more muscle mass, fat storage, and pass through the bloodstream at different rates.

Because of this, the more you weigh, the more Xanax is necessary to result in an overdose.

Unfortunately, Xanax use can cause weight loss, which may lead to increased risk of overdose for some people.

A Person’s Metabolism

The speed of any given person’s metabolism, as well as the overall health of their metabolism, affects how fast Xanax or any other given substance is absorbed into the bloodstream.

Not only do they have a higher than average body weight, but that weight can only be accrued through generally unhealthy eating habits.

There is a causal relationship between obesity and slower metabolism, since eating unhealthy food for extended periods of time can slow down the metabolism as it becomes clogged with fatty tissue.

For this reason, somebody with a slower metabolism and a higher body weight who has a substance use disorder may take more and more Xanax to achieve the desired effect, which can result in an overdose.

Pre-Existing Health Conditions

Persons with certain pre-existing physical and mental health conditions should not be prescribed Xanax.

Some of the preexisting health conditions which can contribute to Xanax overdose include:

  • asthma
  • obesity
  • pregnancy
  • sleep apnea
  • liver problems
  • glaucoma

Drugs That May Interact With Xanax And Affect Overdose Risk

There are a number of drugs and medications which can have negative chemical interactions with Xanax prescriptions.

Dangerous Xanax combinations that may increase risk of adverse effects include:

  • Xanax and Adderall
  • Xanax and fish oil
  • mixing Xanax with any of various heartburn medications
  • Xana and Lexapro
  • Xanax and Zyrtec
  • Xana and oxycodone
  • Xanax and alcohol
  • fentanyl and Xanax
  • Xanax and methamphetamine

How To Recognize A Xanax Overdose

Xanax overdoses can be sudden and unexpected. However, some of the signs of Xanax overdose may look similar to the normal side effects of Xanax.

Signs which may indicate a Xanax overdose include:

  • constipation
  • changes in appetite
  • dry mouth
  • headache
  • joint pain
  • nausea
  • irritability
  • drowsiness
  • changes in libido
  • seizures
  • memory loss

Can You Reverse An Overdose On Xanax?

If a Xanax overdose is caught in time, an overdose can be treated through a couple of methods.

However, unlike opioid overdoses which can be treated by naloxone, there is no known medication that can completely reverse a benzodiazepine overdose.

Some of these methods include:

  • activated charcoal flushing and Xanax detox
  • GABA antagonists, such as flumazenil
  • bowel irrigation

Treatment Options For Xanax Addiction

Fortunately, many addiction treatment options exist to help treat people with Xanax abuse issues.

Some addiction treatment programs available at these treatment centers include:

  • inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • prescription medication treatment
  • Xanax withdrawal care
  • detox
  • counseling services
  • residential treatment opportunities

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

If you or a loved one is in search of Xanax addiction treatment, give our helpline a call today to discuss enrollment at Bedrock.

  1. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) https://www.fda.gov/drugs/information-drug-class/benzodiazepine-drug-information#:~:text=Benzodiazepines%20are%20a%20class%20of,premedication%20before%20some%20medical%20procedures.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids

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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