Can Xanax Abuse Damage Your Liver?

When you use Xanax as prescribed, the risk of acute liver damage is low. Risks increase substantially if you abuse Xanax by taking it without a prescription, exceeding your prescribed dosage, or mixing it with alcohol.

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Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax (alprazolam) is a sedative benzodiazepine that works on your central nervous system to increase the activity of GABA receptors.

Your GABA receptors are primarily responsible for neural inhibition. As a result, Xanax works well in the treatment of anxiety disorders, panic disorders, panic attacks, and other mental health concerns.

The use of Xanax with a proper prescription under the guidelines established by your healthcare provider is unlikely to cause liver damage.

With that said, the misuse of Xanax can create health problems and can result in elevated alanine transaminase and other symptoms indicative of liver injury.

Factors That May Lead To Liver Damage From Xanax Use

Very few cases of Xanax-induced liver damage have been reported in controlled clinical settings. In the scenarios where they do occur, additional risk factors are often involved.

Taking Xanax Over An Extended Period Of Time

Long-term use of Xanax for the management of an anxiety disorder will result in a slightly higher chance of liver function impairment.

The increased risk can usually be mitigated with careful dose management and the use of supplements.

High Doses Of Xanax

Higher doses of Xanax are capable of overloading the liver, which may result in damage. Before beginning your prescription, discuss the potential risks of the dose assigned by your healthcare professional.

Higher doses come with an increased risk of physical dependence and possible substance abuse. It is important that you are aware of Xanax withdrawal symptoms, so that you can bring the issue up with your doctor if it arises.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • blurred vision
  • drowsiness
  • dry mouth
  • nausea
  • increased anxiety
  • suicidal thoughts

Xanax Addiction

A Xanax addiction will prompt drug abuse. You are more likely to take higher doses of Xanax over long periods of time. Both of these factors could contribute to liver damage.

Alcohol Use Disorder

If you struggle with an alcohol use disorder, you should discuss this information with your doctor. Xanax should never be taken with alcohol, as the combination can overload your liver.

Both substances are processed by the same liver enzymes. In order to handle both, your liver has to work twice as hard.

Using both Xanax and alcohol within the same span of time could potentially cause lasting liver damage.

Side Effects Of Xanax On The Liver

Xanax affects your liver in much the same way as any other drug. As the affected blood passes through the liver, the Xanax is metabolized, transforming it into a form that your body can tolerate.

If your liver is overloaded with high or frequent doses of Xanax, there is a chance liver damage could occur.

The nature and the extent of the damage caused by Xanax is mostly driven by dosage, duration of use, and additional substance use.

Liver Failure

Total liver failure is an unlikely scenario for most people who use Xanax. However, the risk of liver failure will dramatically increase if you’re also struggling with alcohol abuse.

Reduced Liver Function

Higher doses of Xanax over a longer period of time may result in reduced liver function.

If you begin to experience unexplained fatigue, loss of appetite, lower sex drive, or jaundice, talk to your healthcare provider.


Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver. There are several different forms of the condition. The viral forms of hepatitis are infections that are usually contracted through bodily fluids.

Other forms of hepatitis include alcoholic hepatitis and autoimmune hepatitis. Xanax is unlikely to result in any form, but alcoholic hepatitis may result from additional alcohol abuse.

Liver Disease

Liver disease is an umbrella term that can refer to many conditions affecting the health and function of the liver.

Given the chemical changes Xanax abuse can cause, it is possible for Xanax to cause liver damage when misused.

Does Xanax Cause Fatty Liver?

Xanax is unlikely to cause fatty liver on its own. Alcohol is the primary substance responsible for fatty liver disease, but there are forms of fatty liver that are not directly linked to alcohol use.

In these cases, fatty liver disease is largely influenced by diet and lifestyle.

The risk of developing fatty liver may be increased by medical conditions such as diabetes and hypothyroidism.

Can Liver Damage From Xanax Abuse Be Reversed?

The liver damage resulting from Xanax abuse can cause real harm. The good news is that it is usually reversible.

In clinical settings, going off Xanax and receiving proper medical care is usually all that is needed to restore full liver function.

Treatment Options For Xanax Addiction

Xanax addiction is a serious medical condition that requires professional treatment. If you continue to abuse Xanax, you may sustain damage to your brain, heart, and liver.

Fortunately, addiction treatment centers are able to help. A quality Xanax treatment program will provide medically assisted detox followed by long-term options for therapy.

Therapeutic treatment may be received on an inpatient or outpatient basis depending on your needs.

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment At Bedrock Recovery Center

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we appreciate the seriousness of prescription drug addiction. We offer scientifically supported treatment options to help you recover.

While the damage to your liver may be reversible, the damage caused by Xanax abuse is still highly dangerous.

If you or a loved one is facing a Xanax addiction, call our Massachusetts treatment center to learn more about what we can do to help.

  1. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus
  2. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus,counter%20medicines%20you%20are%20taking.
  3. National Library of Medicine

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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