What Are Xanax (Alprazolam) Bars?

Dr. Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS


Xanax bars are rectangular, high-dose tablets that contain alprazolam, the active ingredient in the anti-anxiety medication Xanax. Xanax is a prescription medication that comes in pill form, liquid form, and tablet form.

“Bars” is one of several street names commonly used to refer to high-dosage versions of the drug, along with “planks,” “zanies,” and others.

Calling Xanax by the street name “bar” may refer to either the rectangular pill itself as well as any high-dose Xanax pill that’s misused for its effects.

What Do Xanax Bars Look Like?

Brand name Xanax bars are rectangular and white. The word “Xanax” is imprinted on the back side of the white bar while the front side is imprinted with the dosage, or the number 2, to indicate 2 mg of alprazolam.

images of white xanax bars

The white rectangular bars are also scored in three places so the drug can be broken down into four smaller doses.

Other types of Xanax bars, including those that are oval or round in shape, include:

images of xanax bars and other forms of xanax pills

Fake Xanax Bars

If you buy a Xanax bar off the street, the drug may be counterfeited or fake. Signs of a fake Xanax bar include:

  • no markings or scoring
  • rough around the edges
  • a faded or unclear logo
  • red in color

Any Xanax purchased outside a licensed pharmacy has the potential to be fake. Due to the various colors and shapes, Xanax is available in, it can be difficult to identify fake versions.

What Do Xanax Bars Do?

Xanax bars have a calming effect. This is because Xanax is a central nervous system depressant that decreases excitement in the brain, which is why it’s an effective medication for panic attacks and the fear and unease associated with anxiety disorders.

It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines or benzos. These drugs can be habit-forming and cause dependence when taken for more than a few weeks.

Side Effects

Xanax can also have side effects, especially if it’s taken in ways other than as prescribed by a doctor for an anxiety or panic disorder.

Side effects of Xanax bars may include:

  • irritability
  • drowsiness
  • dizziness
  • mood swings
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • dry mouth
  • changes in sex drive or ability

Serious side effects, including shortness of breath, seizures, and confusion can also occur, and may require emergency medical attention.

Risks & Dangers Of Xanax Bars

Taking Xanax bars in ways other than as prescribed by a doctor — for instance, taking higher doses, taking someone else’s pills, or snorting Xanax — can increase the risk of addiction, withdrawal, and overdose.

Addiction & Dependence

Xanax use is known to cause physical dependence when taken chronically. If you abuse Xanax tablets, this can develop quicker and become severe over time, making it difficult to quit due to painful and uncomfortable benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms.

Misusing the drug can also lead to a Xanax addiction, where you feel reliant on your drug use mentally or emotionally just to get through the day and feel normal.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Another serious side effect of chronic Xanax abuse is withdrawal. This is a condition that develops if you try to stop taking Xanax very suddenly after becoming dependent.

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines, like with alcohol, can be very uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening if you stop taking Xanax pills all at once, without tapering your dosage. Xanax withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • rebound anxiety
  • unusual ringing in the ears
  • muscle twitches
  • depression
  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • memory problems
  • difficulty sleeping
  • overexcitement
  • seizures
  • thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
  • loss of touch with reality

Withdrawal can develop within hours after taking your last dose. Some symptoms, including rebound anxiety and depression, may last weeks or months after last use.

Xanax Overdose

Overdose is another primary concern associated with Xanax abuse, especially if you buy counterfeit Xanax bars off the street.

A Xanax overdose can occur by taking high doses of Xanax all at once, or by mixing it with other depressants, like alcohol or opioids.

According to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths involving opioids and benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium are on the rise.

Both can cause sedation, as well as respiratory depression (slow or stopped breathing) when taken together. Emergency medical care may be needed to prevent fatal outcomes.

Treatment Options For Xanax Abuse And Addiction

Xanax can be safe and effective when taken as prescribed by a doctor.

Misusing this prescription drug, however, can have harmful effects, and may require substance abuse treatment, beginning with medical detox for withdrawal.

At Bedrock Recovery Center, we offer a high-quality detox program and residential treatment for those who require a higher level of care for addiction.

Within our inpatient Xanax addiction treatment programs, you’ll find:

  • medical supervision and support
  • evidence-based treatment services
  • psychiatric services
  • dual diagnosis treatment
  • holistic care
  • aftercare support

To find out if our addiction treatment center will work for you or a loved one, please contact Bedrock Recovery Center today.

Keep Reading:

  1. U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — XANAX Alprazolam tablets https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2011/018276s044,021434s006lbl.pdf
  2. U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — Benzodiazepines and Opioids https://nida.nih.gov/drug-topics/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids
  3. U.S. National Library of Medicine: MedlinePlus — Alprazolam https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a684001.html

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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