Xanax and Tylenol, Dangers, Interactions, Abuse & Addiction Treatment
What is Xanax?
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam and is classified as a benzodiazepine, which is a class of medication that produces a calming effect on the brain and central nervous system. Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical signal that tells brain cells to “slow” or “relax.”
As stated in the scientific piece ‘A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal’, N. Ait-Daoud, A. Hamby, S. Sharma, D. Blevins, published by The US. National Library of Medicine, “Alprazolam is one of the most widely prescribed benzodiazepines for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Its clinical use has been a point of contention as most addiction specialists consider it to be highly addictive, given its unique psychodynamic properties which limit its clinical usefulness, whereas many primary care physicians continue to prescribe it for longer periods than recommended”.
It’s typically safe to mix Xanax and Tylenol when using acetaminophen alone. However, the daily intake of acetaminophen should remain under 3,000 mg. Further, they shouldn’t be combined with substances like prescription opioids, as they can have dangerous or deadly effects.
Xanax comes as an oral medication in tablets. The dosage is based on a patient’s medical condition, age, and response to treatment. A course of Xanax pill should not last longer than one or two weeks, but sometimes it is prescribed on an “as-needed” basis for panic attacks.
If someone takes Xanax regularly, it can lead to dependence and withdrawal symptoms; especially if taken for a long time or in high doses. Xanax can cause physical and psychological dependence or addiction even in people who take it as prescribed. Therefore, a course of Xanax should be as short as possible with treatment response closely monitored by the doctor.
For those who have used Xanax for longer than approximately 3-4 weeks, their doctor may create a taper schedule. During a taper, a person gradually reduces their daily dose. Tapers are an effective way to prevent Xanax withdrawal symptoms.
Because of Xanax’s abuse potential, it is often sold and used illegally. According to the 2015–2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 12.5% of adults in the U.S have used benzodiazepines, whether legally or not. About 2.1% of adults abused benzodiazepines during that same period.
Many people take Xanax with a doctor’s prescription, but the most common way to take the drug recreationally is by obtaining the drug from someone who has a prescription. Possessing or using a controlled medication without a prescription is a federal crime; it is also illegal to resell the medication, but many people, especially teens and young adults, do not realize the dangers of abusing prescription drugs.
What is Tylenol?
Tylenol, the brand name for Codeine, is a widely prescribed opioid – so widely prescribed that it is considered to be the most commonly taken opioid. The World Health Organization even lists Tylenol as an essential medication to carry on hand at a hospital. Codeine is commonly sold under the brand names Tylenol-Codeine No.3, Tylenol-Codeine No.4, and Vopac.
As a member of the opioid family, codeine carries with it a high risk of dependency. Similar to the way that a benzodiazepine interacts with your brain, opioids also bind to opioid receptors to inhibit or slow the sending and receiving of signals sent by neurotransmitters to relay feelings of pain, stress, anxiety, etc. This effect is often what individuals who abuse the drug recreationally are after.
It is a common myth that Tylenol is a ‘safe’ opioid to take. While it is not one of the more potent types of opioid, it does still carry with it the same risks as other opioids on the market. Tylenol has the same potential for tolerance and dependency as Fentanyl, the strongest opioid available. While its effects may not be as intense, it is still possible to overdose on Tylenol, especially when taking it against what is prescribed, or when combining it with another drug.
Acetaminophen is a pain reliever and a fever reducer. Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine. Tylenol PM is a combination medicine used to treat occasional insomnia associated with minor aches and pains. Tylenol PM is not for use in treating sleeplessness without pain, or sleep problems that occur often.
Tylenol PM is also used to treat minor aches and pains such as headache, back pain, joint or muscle pain, tooth pain, or menstrual cramps. Tylenol PM is also used to treat runny nose, sneezing, itchy nose and throat, and pain or fever caused by allergies, the common cold, or the flu.
Can you take Xanax and Tylenol together?
Because Xanax and Tylenol are such common medications, many people wonder whether it’s safe to use both at the same time. Fortunately, no drug interactions exist between the two. Although both drugs are broken down by the liver, they are broken down in different ways. For this reason, most people should be able to take Xanax and Tylenol safely.
Xanax and Tylenol PM
Mixing Xanax and Tylenol PM may increase side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. Some people, especially the elderly, may also experience impairment in thinking, judgment, and motor coordination. You should avoid or limit the use of alcohol while being treated with these medications.
Also, avoid activities requiring mental alertness such as driving or operating hazardous machinery until you know how the medications affect you. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns. It is important to tell your doctor about all other medications you use, including vitamins and herbs. Do not stop using any medications without first talking to your doctor.
Side Effects Of Mixing Xanax And Tylenol
Both Xanax and Tylenol are considered central nervous system depressants, which can affect many vital functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration rate. This effect has also gained these drugs the term ‘downer’, of which the opposite would be an ‘upper’ such as caffeine or cocaine.
Common side effects of abusing Xanax and Tylenol include:
- Slurred speech
- Inhibited motor skills
- Inability to make sound decisions
- Hand tremors
- Night sweats
- Slowed or limited breathing
- Slowed heart rate
- Sudden change in blood pressure
- Anxiety, depression
- Mood swings
When you consume a downer with another downer, it is more than just 2x the effectiveness of only consuming one downer. Combining two drugs like Xanax and Tylenol can cause the effects on your central nervous system to increase exponentially. This increase can quickly lead to accidental overdose as it can be difficult for individuals under the influence of the drugs to perceive the changes happening in their vital functions and nervous system.
Interactions between Xanax and Tylenol
While Xanax and Tylenol may be safe to use together, Xanax can interact poorly with other drugs that contain acetaminophen. For example, if someone were to mix Xanax with an opioid, such as Percocet, which contains acetaminophen, it can be very dangerous. This is not due to the acetaminophen in the product; instead, it’s because of the opioid.
In fact, the FDA has a black box warning on both opioid and benzodiazepine products for this reason. Mixing benzodiazepines and opioids can increase the risk of respiratory depression and a potentially deadly overdose.
In addition, some acetaminophen-containing drugs like Nyquil also contain central nervous system depressants. Mixing central nervous system depressants with Xanax is also risky because it can cause oversedation. The best thing you can do if you’re wondering if you can mix acetaminophen-containing products with Xanax is to speak with your doctor or pharmacist.
Accidental Overdose From Mixing Xanax and Tylenol
With drugs like Xanax and Tylenol, your body can quickly build a tolerance to the effects of the drugs. This means a higher dose is needed to achieve the same effects as the first dose of the drug. Tolerance can occur even when a drug is taken exactly as prescribed, which is why doctors may change the dose they prescribe to a patient from time to time.
When this tolerance occurs, the individual taking the drug is often tempted to think that it isn’t working. Unfortunately, this is a myth as just because you are not feeling the effects of the drug does not mean it isn’t having subconscious effects like decreasing your heart rate or slowing your breathing.
Sometimes individuals are tempted to take more of the drug if they believe the first dose did not work. Additional doses can be very dangerous as they continue to depress your central nervous system which affects breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, reaction times, pain tolerance, memory, and ability to make sound decisions.
Additionally, the calmer or more sluggish an individual becomes, the less likely they are to notice some changes occurring in their bodies. Death can occur quickly and quietly in circumstances such as this.
Accidental overdoses are unfortunately not uncommon, especially in opioids like Tylenol. While there are drugs available, such as Narcan, that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, they have to be administered within a certain window of time to be effective. Additionally, with chemical dependency drugs like Xanax and Tylenol, the danger of overdose is usually not enough to pull an individual out of the grips of addiction.
Reclaim your life from Xanax and Tylenol Addiction and Abuse
Mixing Xanax and Tylenol in certain doses can be very dangerous and addiction to these substances are conditions that can cause major health problems that should not be taken lightly. We Level Up rehab center can provide you, or someone you love, the tools to recover from addiction with professional and safe treatment. Feel free to call us to speak with one of our counselors. We can inform you about this condition by giving you relevant information. Our specialists know what you are going through. Please know that each call is private and confidential.
 A Review of Alprazolam Use, Misuse, and Withdrawal’, N. Ait-Daoud, A. Hamby, S. Sharma, D. Blevins – US. National Library of Medicine (www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)