Some doctors may prescribe their patients more than one medication to treat their ailments.
However, most if not all medical professionals strongly warn against the dangers of polydrug abuse or the use of more than one drug at a time. While polydrug use is often associated with substances like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, marijuana, and meth, there’s a growing trend of mixing prescription drugs for recreational purposes. Today, our Florida drug detox center is sharing the effects of taking Xanax and Percocet to determine whether they’re safe together or better apart.
Percocet vs. Xanax: What Are They?
Percocet is a combination of an opioid pain reliever (oxycodone) and a non-opioid pain reliever (acetaminophen) that’s prescribed to alleviate moderate to severe pain. The oxycodone in Percocet works to change how the body responds to pain, while the acetaminophen reduces fever.
Percocet is usually prescribed to people who have severe or chronic pain or to people who have undergone an operation. However, because it contains an opioid, Percocet is addictive and can lead to physical dependence, even in people who take it as directed for as little as a few weeks.
Opioids are addictive because of the way they impact neurotransmitters in the central nervous system. When someone takes an opioid, the drug binds to opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body.
When this happens, the drug blocks pain signaling from the body, relieving the person’s symptoms. However, opioids also activate the release of dopamine, so when taken in large doses, Percocet can produce a euphoric and sedative high.
Short-term effects of Percocet include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Abdominal pain
- Difficulty urinating
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
Xanax is the brand name for alprazolam, which is a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Much like Percocet, Xanax also carries the risk of addiction, and even users who take this drug as directed for long periods are at risk of becoming physically dependent.
Xanax is especially addictive when taken in high doses. Specifically, its mechanism of action is activating the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is an inhibitory chemical messenger that reduces nerve activity in the central nervous system.
As with Percocet, when taken in large doses, Xanax can produce a high associated with an extreme feeling of calm and sedation. In addition to sedation, other side effects of Xanax include:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Impaired coordination and movement
- Memory impairment
- Decreased libido or sexual drive
- Dry mouth
Prescription drugs like opioids and benzos are both addictive, and even people who take them as prescribed are at risk of developing physical dependence. Therefore, due to the risk of addiction, many states enacted laws limiting the opioids that doctors can prescribe.
Can You Take Xanax With Percocet?
Generally, no, you should not take Xanax with Percocet. However, some doctors may prescribe a Xanax and Percocet combination. If prescribed, they must be taken exactly as directed.
However, this is rare considering that both drugs act as central nervous system depressants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has even stated that mixing oxycodone with Xanax can be dangerous and even life-threatening.1
For this reason, they recommend that doctors avoid prescribing this combination whenever possible. However, the CDC also notes that patients who are taking a low and stable dose of benzodiazepines may be prescribed an opioid for severe short-term pain if the doctor finds it to be necessary.1
But aside from prescribing multiple drugs, others engage in polydrug use for recreational purposes. Opioids and benzodiazepines are among the most commonly abused drugs in the world, and combining the two types of drugs can be life-threatening.
As with taking methadone and Xanax or other similar mixes, taking an Oxy and Xanax combo can be dangerous because both drugs depress the central nervous system. When they’re taken together or on the same day, important functions like breathing and heart rate can be significantly impacted.
Other Percocet and Xanax side effects include:
- Extreme sedation
- Difficulty concentrating
- Impaired judgment
- Respiratory depression
Taking Xanax and Percocet together can also cause an overdose. An overdose occurs when the body is flooded with more drugs than it can filter out. In this case, taking multiple types of depressants can flood the system and impair important functions like breathing and heart rate, reducing them to the point where the person loses consciousness, stops breathing, and even dies.
Polysubstance Dependent Treatment
Unless directed by your doctor, do not take Percocet and Xanax together. And even then, be sure to take the two as directed to avoid physical dependence, addiction, and overdose.
Our specialists at Banyan Stuart understand that many prescription drugs are also addictive, and many people who take opioids and benzos regularly become addicted to them. If you’re struggling with benzo or opioid abuse, we can help.
Our substance abuse treatment center in Stuart, FL, has been working with people from all over the nation to help them overcome their addictions and achieve drug-free lives. If you’re addicted to your prescription medications, our prescription drug addiction treatment can help.
From medically monitored detox to therapy to aftercare services, our treatment center offers the recovery resources you need to get and stay sober. For more information, call Banyan today at 888-280-4763 to learn more about our Florida drug and alcohol treatment.
- NCBI - Dangers of Xanax Bars
- CDC - Prevent Opioid Misuse