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Xanax Overdose

To reduce the anxiety caused by depression or any other outer factors, patients are prescribed Xanax that slows down the flow of certain chemicals in the brain. When improper doses are prescribed or administered, a patient faces the issue of Xanax overdose that may be fatal in some cases.

What Are the Causes of Overdosing on Xanax?

Over the past years it was proven that Xanax is surely more toxic than any other drug of its class, especially when OD is discussed. Between the years 2001 and 2009 Alprazolam was reported as the prescription remedy with the impressive number of fatal outcomes. It produces a rather considerable respiratory depression. And it is able to increase risks of fatal OD.

What are the triggers of overdose on Xanax?

  • The latest studies showed that most of patients, who suffer from the overdose (52.5%), have proven substance abuse;
  • The major part of all overdose conditions has been determined as accidental. Yet still, there were so-called intentional ODs as a means of suicide when the person was diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder;
  • Combination of Alprazolam with other drugs or strong drinks can cause overdose.

What Are Overdose Risk Factors?

Frankly speaking, all Xanax users are at risk. The danger of overdosing is possible even if much caution is paid. The commonest risk factors include:

  • A history of suicidal thoughts and depression;
  • A history of drug abuse;
  • A history of alcohol abuse;
  • Taking many drugs at the same time (the so-called poly-drug abuse);
  • No experience in taking sedatives.

Overdose of Xanax may occur due to the fact the remedy is absorbed more rapidly than other benzodiazepines. And this feature has two sides: the chemical is VERY effective and RATHER perilous.

Signs & Symptoms of Xanax Overdose

What happens when you overdose on Xanax? What should be expected and how to define the first signs of problems. To start with, when one administers the dosage that is higher than advised, the chemical affects the body systems and brain suppressing the patient’s central nervous system. The latter one is responsible for heart rate as well as blood pressure, temperature regulation, etc. When overdose takes its place, the chemical suppresses these basic body functions posing a threat to one’s health and life.

It always takes time for overdose Xanax to occur. The action onset differs from patient to patient and depends on the medical history and age, metabolism rate and weight. Snoring and abusing Alprazolam sends the drug’s active agents right into the bloodstream increasing the risks of overdose. Sometimes patient, who take the chemical for the first time, suffer from Xanax overdose effects as well, even when the medication is taken is prescribed amounts.

What are the Xanax overdose side effects? FYI, there are many of them. One patient doesn’t necessary experience all of them, yet rather a combination of 3-4 ones that are really severe:

  • Confusion and fainting;
  • Extreme drowsiness or muscle weakness;
  • Slowed and shallow breathing;
  • Impaired coordination and altered judgment;
  • Lightheadedness and migraines.

In most severe events Xanax overdose leads to coma. Lethal outcome is also possible, when the condition isn’t treated properly.

What Alprazolam Doses Are Too Much?

Can you overdose on Xanax, though you take it as prescribed? Unfortunately, you surely can as no one is protected. Sometimes a healthcare provider can suggest more than 2 mg of the remedy administered at one time, yet this is typically the case with patients with tolerance to the chemical. The initial dose is 0.25-0.5 mg daily. This is the lowest effective dose that leads to no signs of Xanax overdose.

There are patients who report taking around 2.000 of Xanax with minor toxicity, which is 1.000 times higher than the maximum daily dose.

So, when is it too much? Alprazolam overdose occurs when more than 4 mg of the drug is taken at one time. In some cases doctors prescribe up to 7-10 mg, yet the dose is divided throughout the day and is never taken at one time.

A professional is able to define when it is too much in each case. Younger people may be prescribed higher doses without experiencing severe adverse reactions even if their psychological condition is rather serious. Older ones start with 0.25 mg doses and 2-3 mg pills cause overdoses in their cases.

Where to Get Help From?

In cases of emergency, when Xanax overdose symptoms have already appeared, you should call the American Association of Poison Control centers at 1-800-222-1222. You can also call 911 to get immediate assistance. Do that before the Alprazolam overdose amount leads to respiratory depression, chest pain and death.

Every time a new dose is administered (the higher one) look for signs and symptoms of complications. Learn how your body responds to the drug to know when it’s time to call for help.

Dr. Andrew J. Olson

Author: Dr. Andrew J. Olson

Dr. Andrew J. Olson is a PHD in psychiatry. He is also a psychiatrist consultant at the Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. He also serves as a Clinical Director of the Department of Psychiatry, at Royal Marsden Hospital, in London, UK.


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To reduce the anxiety caused by depression or any other outer factors, patients are prescribed Xanax that slows down the flow of certain chemicals in the brain. When improper doses are prescribed or administered, a patient faces the issue of Xanax overdose that may be fatal in some cases. What Are the Causes of Overdosing on Xanax? Over the past years it was proven that Xanax is surely more toxic than any other drug of its class, especially when OD is discussed. Between the years 2001 and 2009 Alprazolam was reported as the prescription remedy with the impressive number of…
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