How to avoid Xanax side effects

How to avoid Xanax side effects

Many people taking Xanax will experience side effects. A few tips can help either avoid or manage side effects caused by Xanax.

1. Take Xanax as directed

Take the dose exactly as prescribed, usually 0.25–3 mg taken three times a day. A doctor or other healthcare provider may provide a dosing schedule. Don’t take extra medicine or skip a dose. 

2. Tell the doctor about all medical conditions

To avoid side effects, the doctor or other healthcare professional prescribing Xanax needs to be aware of all current and past mental health and medical conditions, especially:

  • Depression or mood problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Lung or breathing problems
  • Any history of seizures
  • Pregnancy or pregnancy plans
  • Breastfeeding or any plans to breastfeed
  • Any history of drug or alcohol abuse

3. Tell the doctor about all medications being taken

Some Xanax side effects are worsened by drug interactions. Many prescription drugs and supplements can dramatically worsen the side effects of alprazolam by blocking the liver’s ability to metabolize it. Before starting Xanax, make sure the doctor, healthcare provider, or pharmacist knows about Xanax before filling the prescription. Tell your healthcare provider about all prescriptions, over-the-counter drugs, and supplements that are taken regularly, particularly:

  • Opioids
  • Anxiety drugs
  • Sedatives or sleep aids
  • Any other drug that causes drowsiness or sleepiness

4. Be careful about driving and other risky activities

Most people taking Xanax will experience some form of mental impairment: drowsiness, bad coordination, balance problems, and trouble focusing. As a result, injuries, falls, and traffic accidents are commonly associated with prescription benzodiazepines. Driving, operating machinery, or engaging in any potentially hazardous activity that requires full attention and focus should be avoided when first taking Xanax. When the effects of Xanax on mental impairment are no longer experienced after a week or two, it may be possible to resume driving or other activities cautiously.

5. Remove hazards from the house

Falls and injuries due to mental impairment are possible when taking Xanax. Older adults are particularly vulnerable. Before starting Xanax, try to remove obstacles and tripping hazards around the house such as coffee tables. Some daily activities, such as using knives, may need to be curtailed if mental impairment is too pronounced.

6. Don’t drink alcohol

Do not drink alcohol while taking Xanax. The combination increases sedation, balance problems, and the risk for injury. The combination can also increase the risk of breathing problems. It’s a good idea to also avoid prescription or nonprescription drugs that cause sleepiness, like antihistamines. In particular, don’t combine Xanax with other benzodiazepines such as Ativan (lorazepam), Valium (diazepam), or Klonopin (clonazepam). 

7. Watch for signs of breathing problems

Some people will notice that Xanax slows down their breathing. This could be a serious problem in any person with lung problems or who is drinking alcohol or taking other depressants. When taking Xanax, watch for signs that breathing has become too slow and shallow to adequately supply the body with oxygen. These signs include blue lips, blue skin, shallow breathing, difficulty breathing, or changes in heart rate. Emergency medical attention is required in that situation.

8. Do not stop taking Xanax

Xanax can cause withdrawal when stopped suddenly. In some cases, the withdrawal can be severe and even life-threatening. In cases where the drug does not seem to be working or the side effects make it too difficult to take, get medical advice from a doctor or other healthcare professional before stopping the medicine. Whether or not there are other treatment options, a progressively tapered dose will be used to avoid withdrawal while stopping the medication.

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