Xanax Side Effects

Xanax Side Effects

Alprazolam is the active ingredient in Xanax tablets which shares similar adverse reactions to other benzodiazepines. Side effects that are considered common only affect up to about 10% of people and they tend to be brief and can be managed with ease. They are usually mild and the benefits, such as relief from anxiety and panic attacks, far outweigh adverse reactions. Less common Xanax side effects are discussed further below.

Common Xanax Side Effects

Adverse events are more likely to happen at the beginning of treatment and they generally disappear with continued use. In the average patient, the most common adverse event is likely to be related to the pharmacological effect of this anti-anxiety medication, for example, sedation and sleepiness. The following are common adverse reactions that may affect about 1 in 10 people:

Adverse reactions How to cope with Xanax side effects
Dizziness or light-headedness If you feel dizzy after taking a dose, make sure you change positions slowly to avoid vertigo. Sometimes, lying down until the dizzy feeling passes may be the best option.
Headaches If you get a headache, a cold cloth on the forehead along with a suitable painkiller can relieve this adverse effect
Dry mouth A dry mouth can be prevented by using a mouthwash that has a non-alcohol base. Keeping well hydrated by drinking enough liquid can also prevent this adverse effect.
Sleepiness As your body gets used to this medication, this side effect tends to wear off. If you still experience daytime sleepiness after one or two weeks, try reducing the dose or increase it at a more gradual rate.
Nausea If you feel sick after taking a tablet, rather take this medication with or immediately after food to prevent this adverse effect. It is advisable to avoid rich or spicy food if you experience nausea.

The likelihood of adverse reactions tends to increase with higher doses and if this medication is not used as recommended. For this reason, it is highly advisable to carefully adhere to usage and dosage guidelines.

Uncommon Xanax Side Effects

Less common adverse reactions include those listed in the following table. Although these Xanax side effects are uncommon, it may be helpful to know what to do in the unlikely event that you experience them.

Adverse reaction How to manage this adverse effect
Muscle weakness Try to sit down or rest if you experience muscle weakness. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if this side effect persists for longer than a week.
Weight changes If you gain weight during treatment, try to follow a balanced diet and participate in regular exercise to keep your weight stable. Weight loss is also a potential side effect associated with the use of this medication. Increasing calories and protein in your diet can counteract weight loss.
Feeling agitated If you feel agitated, limit the use of caffeine and try and avoid environmental stressors like noise, glare or background distractions. Simplifying tasks and routines may help as well as physical activity such as going for a walk.
Xanax Side Effects

Rare Xanax Side Effects

Although serious side effects of this medication are highly unlikely to happen, they may occur in a very small percentage of people. The following are rare Xanax side effects that may happen in less than 1 of 100 people:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Increased heart rate
  • Memory impairment
  • Sleep driving
  • Sleep walking
  • Depression or low morale

A very small percentage of people may be hypersensitive to this medication and develop an allergic reaction. The symptoms of an allergic reaction include swollen lips, tongue, eyes or face. Stop using alprazolam 1 mg and seek medical attention if you experience an allergic reaction.

The use of alcohol should be avoided when taking alprazolam as it can intensify the adverse effects of both substances. Furthermore, the combination of alcohol and alprazolam is associated with memory loss and an increased chance of unusual behaviour like sleep walking or sleep driving.

Some people with certain pre-existing conditions may be more vulnerable to Xanax side effects so extra caution is advised. Administering a lower dose, for example half the adult dose, is recommended for the following patients:

  • Patients who are elderly
  • Patients with reduced liver or kidney function
  • Patients with respiratory disease
  • Patients who have recently suffered a loss or bereavement

People with underlying health conditions are advised to avoid Xanax as treatment may be unsafe. Do not take this medication if you have a serious lung disease such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Chronic bronchitis and emphysema are the two main forms of COPD. The use of this medication is also not recommended for people with sleep apnoea or myasthenia gravis.

Xanax Effects Explained

This medication has a sedating effect that can improve the body's response to stress and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety and panic. It achieves this effect by boosting levels of a chemical known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) which plays a fundamental part in perception and behaviour. When used as advised and to treat anxiety or panic attacks, a patient typically feels more 'normal', or balanced and healthy, after taking their first dose.

The anti-anxiety and muscle relaxing properties of this medication make it useful in the treatment of severe anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorders differ from usual feelings of worry and nervousness in that they involve overwhelming fear and anxiety on a daily basis. These anxiety disorders include:

  • Panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Alprazolam or Xanax effects slow down the central nervous system and keeps the brain in a more balanced and tranquil state. As a result, many people who struggle with anxiety disorders in their daily lives can benefit from the calming effects of this anxiety medication. Controlling the symptoms of excessive anxiety can improve a person's work performance, social life and general well-being.

Soon after administration, alprazolam helps settle a racing mind, which can also be useful for treating insomnia. Insomnia is frequently associated with persistent and racing thoughts at night. People who lie awake ruminating about their worries often find themselves in a state of mental hyperarousal. Alprazolam can help soothe excessive thoughts and mental stimulation, making it possible to fall into a deep and relaxing sleep.

Updated: 23rd January 2021
Review Due: January 2022



Fueled with a passion to try and help people less fortunate than himself Steve immersed himself in the medical industry. By researching new and innovative medical advancements and regularly sharing important information on social media Steve intends to make a difference where it matters most, people's health. His wealth of knowledge and keen eye for detail will help keep our readers informed and contribute towards improved health.

John Porter – Mar 14, 2021
Hi Steve, this is a very considered article and I wanted to pass on my appreciation. Although I find Xanax a highly effective medication your blog has ensured that any potential side-effects are minimised. John Porter

Post Comment

Your email address will not be published.
Required fields are marked *

Rate this article