It’s possible to overdose on Xanax, especially if you take Xanax with other drugs or medications. Mixing Xanax with alcohol can also be fatal.
Xanax is in a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. These drugs work by boosting the activity of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA helps calm the nerves by inducing feelings of relaxation.
MostTrusted Source severe or fatal overdoses happen when Xanax is taken with other drugs — especially opioid pain medications — or alcohol. If you’re taking Xanax, be sure to tell your doctor about any other medications you’re taking. They may recommend an alternative medication.
The prescribed amount typically ranges from 0.25 to 0.5 milligrams (mg) per day. This amount may be split between three doses throughout the day.
Your doctor may gradually increase your dose until your symptoms are controlled. In some cases, the prescribed amount may be as high at 10 mg per day.
The amount that could potentially lead to an overdose varies widely from person to person. It depends on many factors, including:
- how your body metabolizes the medication
- your weight
- your age
- if you have any preexisting conditions, like a heart, kidney, or liver condition
- if you took it with alcohol or other drugs (including antidepressants)
In clinical studies in rats, the LD50 — the dose that caused half of the rats to die — ranged from 331 to 2,171 mg per kilogram of body weight. This suggests that a person would have to take several thousand times the maximum prescribed dose to fatally overdose.
However, the results of animal studies don’t always translate directly for human specifications. Overdose is possible at any dose higher than your prescribed amount.
People older than 65 have an increased risk for serious side effects, including an overdose. Older adults are typically prescribed lower doses of Xanax because they’re more sensitive to its effects.