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June  3, 2013, last updated July 5, 2016
By  Alison Turner, Contributing Columnist and Susan
Callahan, Health Editor






Across America, inside ordinary-looking homes in ordinary
neighborhoods, a secret epidemic is occurring.  Addiction to
Xanax, a prescription drug  designed to treat anxiety is
claiming hundreds of thousands of people.


In towns large as New York and, as recent news shows, as
small as Rutland, Vermont, authorities are struggling with
opiate addiction and Xanax addiction because Xanax is used
by some opiate abusers suffering from the effects of
withdrawal.


Xanax, also known as "alprazolam", belongs to a class of
drugs called benzodiazepines prescribed to treat panic
disorder.  

Unfortunately, Xanax has proven highly addicting and is
increasingly abused: data from the New York City
Department of Health showed that benzodiazepines were
connected to more than 30 percent of overdose deaths in
2009,  and the drug is believed to be partially responsible for
the overdoses of Heath Ledger,  Whitney Houston and many
other celebrities.  What happens after an overdose on Xanax
and how can we prevent it from happening?  

Benzodiazepines like Xanax work by slowing down the
nervous system.  Alprazolam/Xanax is only available by
prescription,  and while it has proven effective for many
patients for the treatment of
anxiety and panic disorder, it  
can easily be abused unintentionally or otherwise.

The reason is that Xanax is so powerful is that it actually
produces "euphoria", and it produces this feeling of
euphoria in the area of your brain that is activated by
addiction, according to a 2012 study from doctors at the
University of Pennsylvania's Perlman School of Medicine.

Symptoms of Xanax Overdose

Symptoms of alprazolam overdose can include drowsiness,
confusion, coordination problems, and loss of
consciousness.   

Check out the list below for recently conducted studies by
experts around the world and their discovery of reasons
why so many people overdose on alprazolam (Xanax).   





























1.
Xanax: More Toxic than Other Anti-Anxiety Drugs  

There are anti-anxiety drugs and there are anti-anxiety
drugs.  Like for any medical condition, drugs designed to
help with anxiety will not be a perfect fit for every patient.  
Some people need a gentle fix, while others need a bit more
kick.  

Research from Australia suggests that the reason many
people overdose on Xanax could be that it is stronger than
other benzodiazepines.  

In 2004, Dr. Geoffrey Isbister with the Emergency
Department at Newcastle Mater Hospital in Waratah and
other Australian specialists  compared the toxicity of
alprazolam (Xanax) with other benzodiazepines.  

During the period of study, the team analyzed 2,063
benzodiazepine overdose cases, 131 of which were from
Xanax.  The median length of hospital stay for Xanax
overdoses was 19 hours, which was 1.27 times longer than
other overdoses.  

Also, 22% of Xanax  overdose patients were admitted to
ICU, which was 2.06 times more likely than other
benzodiazepine overdoses.  The team concluded that
“alprazolam was significantly more toxic than other
benzodiazepines.”  

The researchers also took note of why people were taking
Xanax in the first place.  They found that 85% of
prescriptions were for “panic disorder, anxiety, depression
or mixed anxiety/depression.”  

If you are worried about overdose but feel you need
medication for these conditions, consider trying other
options before Xanax.  (Read more about
natural remedies
that help anxiety.)

2.
Poor Cardiovascular Health May Increase the Risk for
Xanax Overdose
  

Numbers of alprazolam-related deaths are at alarming rates
in the U.S., including rural West Virginia.  

Researchers at West Virginia University found that in 2005
17% of drug-related deaths involved alprazolam, which rose
to 27.5% in 2007.  

The team also found a trend amongst overdose patients:
many of them seemed to additionally suffer from previous
cardiovascular disease.  

In 2012, specialists with the Department of Pharmaceutical
Systems and Policy at West Virginia University in
Morgantown analyzed how alprazolam-related deaths varied
from non-alprazolam deaths in 1,199 drug-related cases in
rural West Virginia.  

People dying from alprazolam were “significantly more likely
to be obese and to have preexisting cardiovascular
disease.”    

Following a healthy lifestyle to decrease your risk for
cardiovascular disease could help you down the road to take
anti-anxiety drugs more safely.  (Read more about tips that
can help you
reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease.)

The team advises that whatever a population’s weight or
cardiovascular health, monitoring programs should be
“routinely used as one mechanism to help prevent potential
drug misuse/abuse.”    

3.
Cocktails: A More Dangerous Than Delicious Way to Take
Xanax
 

More often than not, Xanax is not the only drug responsible
for an overdose.  Patients often combine alprazolam with
other drugs or alcohol, creating compounding effects that
can be deadly.  

There are an infinite number of cocktail combinations, and
seeing the details of just one of them reveals how serious
mixing pills can be.  

In 2011 M.B. Forrester with the Texas Department of State
Health Services in Austin  noted the popularity of a particular
cocktail of hydrocodone, carisprodol, and alprazolam
(Xanax).  

Forrester found that from 1998 to 2009 Texas poison
centers reported 1,295 cases of overdose with this cocktail,
and that nearly 60% of the cases were marked as suspected
attempted suicide.  

If you or someone you know takes Xanax, be sure to ask a
professional before taking other medications or substances,
even alcohol.   

4.
Xanax for the Elderly Could Reduce Brain Function  

It seems that most parts of life get harder as we age – but
what if the medications we take make the most important
aspects, such as brain function and memory, even harder?  

A joint study from the U.S. and Australia finds that Xanax
could be one such medication.  

In 2012, Dr. Robert Pietrzak with the National Center for
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in West Haven and other
experts from Australia and the states  who conducted a
study responding to previous work showing that when
alprazolam is “administered acutely” it “results in impairment
in several aspects of cognition, including attention, learning,
and memory.”  

The team focused on how alprazolam affects older adults
when exposed to a single 1 mg dose and undergo “visual
pared associate learning and memory” tests.  

Results showed that taking the alprazolam “revealed
significant increases in distractor, exploratory, between-
search, and within-search error types.”  

The report concluded that acute doses of alprazolam
“decreases visual paired associate learning and memory
performance by reducing the strength of the association
between pattern and location, which may reflect a general
breakdown in memory consolidation.”  

There is much natural anxiety – and even panic – as we age,
so that grasping a prescription for Xanax may seem like a
reasonable answer.  However, be cautious when starting
Xanax, and vigilant with its side effects on you or your loved
one’s mind.  

5.
Xanax and Memory Disorders  

Continue reading   page 1  
page 2

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