Xanax (Alprazolam) Side Effects | Common, Severe, & Long-Term

Whether prescription or illicit, most drugs come with side effects that tend to show up more often than they don’t. Xanax is the same way.

Xanax (Alprazolam) Side Effects | Common, Severe, & Long-Term

Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam. It’s an FDA-approved benzodiazepine like diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), and clonazepam (Klonopin).

It’s also a central nervous system depressant that’s used to treat panic attacks, panic disorders, anxiety disorders, and a few other mental health issues.

Like most prescription drugs, Xanax comes with a variety of different side effects and some are more severe than others. Serious side effects can be even more pronounced if the drug is being misused or abused.

Common Xanax Side Effects

Whether prescription or illicit, most drugs come with side effects that tend to show up more often than they don’t. Xanax is the same way. Some side effects are very common even when you stick to your prescribed dosing schedule.

Common Xanax side effects can include:

  • drowsiness or fatigue
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss/weight gain
  • diarrhea
  • nausea/vomiting
  • dry mouth
  • low blood pressure/hypotension
  • uncoordinated movements
  • constipation
  • anxiety/depression
  • insomnia
  • trouble concentrating
  • irritability
  • increased sweating
  • lightheadedness
  • irregular menstrual periods

Severe Xanax Side Effects

Xanax can also come with very serious side effects. If you experience any of these issues, it’s important to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible. They will likely take you off the medication and switch you to something else.

Severe side effects of Xanax can include:

  • severe drowsiness
  • migraines
  • severe dizziness
  • difficulty urinating
  • loss of bladder control
  • joint pain
  • seizures
  • hallucinations
  • risk-taking behavior
  • racing thoughts
  • double vision/blurry vision
  • jaundice
  • clay-colored stools
  • confusion
  • slurred speech
  • dark urine
  • difficulty breathing
  • fainting
  • allergic reaction
  • fever
  • irregular heartbeat
  • loss of voice
  • swollen joints
  • tightness in the chest
  • vomiting blood
  • suicidal thoughts
  • decreased motor coordination
  • loss of sex drive
  • blue colored lips
  • difficulty waking up

Long-Term Side Effects Of Xanax

While some of Xanax’s side effects only last for a short period of time, others can last much longer. Some of these issues may even stick around once you’re off the medication.

Long-term side effects can occur for those on high doses of Xanax or anyone who has abused the drug for a long time, and may include:

  • tolerance
  • dependency
  • addiction
  • aggressive behavior
  • difficulty balancing
  • depression
  • cognition issues
  • withdrawal
  • liver damage
  • memory loss
  • increased risk of overdose
  • coma


Overdose can be a risk for anyone taking high doses or mixing Xanax with alcohol or opioids like hydrocodone.

If it gets to the point where you’ve built up a tolerance, dependence, or addiction, the risk of overdose goes way up.

If you or a loved one is experiencing any of the symptoms below, they may have overdosed on Xanax:

  • confusion
  • lack of coordination
  • loss of consciousness
  • sleepiness or unusual drowsiness
  • reduced reflexes
  • respiratory arrest
  • coma/sedation

Drug Interactions

Whether taking your prescribed dose or abusing Xanax, there are also several medications that shouldn’t be taken while on alprazolam.

They include antifungal medication, several antidepressants, and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), as well as other sleeping pills and sedatives.

Make sure you aren’t taking any of the following along with Xanax:

  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole
  • erythromycin
  • cimetidine
  • fluoxetine
  • fluvoxamine
  • nefazodone
  • sertraline
  • over-the-counter allergy or antihistamine medication

Beyond these medications, you may also want to ensure you aren’t taking Xanax while you’re breastfeeding. The drug can transfer into your breast milk and can negatively affect your baby once they drink it.

Withdrawal Symptoms

If you’ve built up a physical dependence due to drug abuse and try to quit all of a sudden, there is a good chance you will experience withdrawal symptoms. Your body is likely used to functioning on the drug and will go into withdrawal once you stop taking it.

Withdrawal symptoms that may occur when coming off Xanax include:

  • headaches
  • blurred vision
  • muscle pain
  • tremors
  • diarrhea
  • numb fingers
  • sensitivity to light and sound
  • loss of appetite
  • insomnia
  • heart palpitations
  • sweating
  • anxiety
  • panic
  • paranoia
  • depression
  • suicidal thoughts

To stop taking Xanax safely, it’s recommended to seek professional help from a healthcare professional. They can make the process safer and more comfortable than if you do it on your own.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a Xanax addiction or another form of substance abuse, please call our helpline today.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.

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