Understanding what drug interactions could occur when taking medication is critical to one’s health, but many people also overlook it. Before using any prescription medication, you should know the possible side effects and any potential adverse reactions that it could have with other substances. This may be especially true if you are considering using a two different depressants such as Xanax and Percocet.
What Is Xanax?
Xanax (alprazolam) is a prescription diazepine commonly prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders. When a person takes Xanax, the active ingredient binds to the brain’s GABA receptors, which reduces neural activity and relieves anxiety symptoms. Less commonly, Xanax is prescribed to treat insomnia, seizure, and alcohol withdrawal. Common side effects of Xanax include impaired concentration, dizziness, drowsiness, and digestive issues.
One of the more severe risks related to Xanax abuse is physical dependence and addiction. This is why health providers are encouraged only to prescribe it for short-term use. It’s possible to become addicted or chemically dependent after just a few weeks of use, and Xanax can interact with other substances, such including alcohol and narcotic pain relievers, such as oxycodone.
What Is Percocet?
Percocet is a combination prescription drug consisting of the opioid oxycodone and the pain reliever acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol). Oxycodone products (including OxyContin) are commonly prescribed to treat moderate-severe pain. Percocet is a controlled substance as it has a relatively high potential for addiction. Due to the euphoric feelings it produces in addition to pain alleviation, the non-medical or recreational use of Percocet and other prescription opioids has risen substantially in recent years.
Oxycodone works by attaching to specific brain receptors that depress central nervous system (CNS) activity as pain sensations are mitigated. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to become addicted to oxycodone and other opioids.
Some of the most common oxycodone symptoms include drowsiness, constipation, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, and headache. Other adverse symptoms include anxiety, fear, confusion, mood swings, impaired cognition, and lethargy.
Can I Take Xanax and Percocet Together?
Unless closely monitored and prescribed by a physician, you should never take Xanax and Percocet simultaneously. There can be severe, even lethal consequences that can result from combining benzos like Xanax and oxycodone products. These substances all reduce CNS activity, which is responsible for many essential functions that keep the body alive, including respiration and heart function.
If a person uses more than one substance that affects the central nervous system in this manner, it can depress breathing and cause oversedation. The individual may also slip into a coma or ultimately die from polysubstance intoxication. Many emergency department visits related to overdoses result from someone combining benzos and opioids like Percocet.
These overdoses often transpire because a person is using Xanax and Percocet recreationally, and they use an excessive amount in an attempt to get high. There is a significant risk of overdose and death when taking Xanax in combination with oxycodone. Still, there is also an increase in the likelihood of becoming dependent or addicted to one or both of these substances.
What Is CNS Depression?
The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord. It is responsible for regulating most body functions by transmitting messages between the brain and other nerve cells via the spinal cord.
CNS depressants are drugs or alcohol that reduce activity in the CNS. Many CNS depressants, including Xanax, act in the brain by increasing concentrations of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurochemical that suppresses the delivery of messages transmitted between cells.
Mild symptoms of CNS depression may include the following:
- Loss of coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Slurred speech or stuttering
- Shortness of breath
- Shallow breathing
- Lowered heart rate
- Blurry or altered vision
Symptoms of severe CNS depression may include the following:
- Dramatically reduced heart rate
- Slow breathing rate of fewer than ten breaths per minute
- Extreme confusion or memory impairment
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor judgment
- Bluish lips or fingertips (cyanosis)
- irritability and aggression
- Clammy, cold skin
- Abrupt and intense mood swing
- Very slow reflexes
If an individual is experiencing these symptoms, emergency medical intervention should be sought immediately. Ultimately, severe symptoms can lead to a full-blown overdose, resulting in unresponsiveness, coma, and death.
Treatment for Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is a potentially lifelong, destructive disease that impairs the person’s ability to function mentally, emotionally, professionally, academically, and socially. Addiction is most effectively treated through supervised medical detox, followed immediately by comprehensive programs that include cognitive-behavioral therapy, group support, relapse prevention, and aftercare planning.
At Just Believe Recovery, our medical and mental health experts provide those we treat with the knowledge and skills they need to fully recover from drug addiction, regain their lives, and experience the joy and well-being they deserve.