The Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Blood Pressure Medications

prescription medications

Xanax is a prescription benzodiazepine medication intended to treat anxiety and seizure disorders. This medication is a mild tranquilizer, causing feelings of calmness and euphoria. 

Because Xanax is a benzodiazepine, taking this medication comes with the risk of developing an addiction. When misused, Xanax is a highly addictive drug that can cause many complications. 

Unfortunately, many people taking Xanax fail to realize the dangerous interactions it causes when mixed with other drugs. One of the most dangerous substances to mix with Xanax is blood pressure medications.

What are Blood Pressure Medications and How Do They Work? 

Blood pressure medications are also referred to as antihypertensive medicines. They are prescribed to treat high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Hypertension is characterized by an individual’s blood putting too much pressure on the walls of their arteries.

Leaving high blood pressure untreated could lead to issues such as stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease. Individuals who cannot lower their blood pressure through natural remedies like exercise are prescribed blood pressure medication. 

Common blood pressure medications include:

  • Valsartan (angiotensin II receptor blocker)
  • Olmesartan (angiotensin II receptor blocker)
  • Candesartan (angiotensin II receptor blocker)
  • Lisinopril (ACE inhibitor)
  • Captopril (ACE inhibitor)
  • Fosinopril sodium (ACE inhibitor)
  • Amlodipine besylate (calcium channel blocker)
  • Verapamil hydrochloride (calcium channel blocker)
  • Nifedipine (calcium channel blocker)
  • Generic hydrochlorothiazide (diuretic)
  • Chlorthalidone (diuretic)
  • Methyclothiazide (diuretic)
  • Metoprolol (beta-blocker)
  • Propranolol (beta-blocker)
  • Penbutolol sulfate (beta-blocker)

Each type of blood pressure medication works differently:[1]

  • ACE inhibitors and angiotensin II receptor blockers stop the blood vessels from narrowing, limiting the pressure from the blood. 
  • Calcium channel blockers relax the blood vessels by preventing calcium from entering the muscle cells of the heart and blood vessels. 
  • Diuretics remove the excess sodium and water from an individual’s body, lowering the amount of fluid in their blood.
  • Beta-blockers limit the excess blood flowing through an individual’s heart by helping their heart to beat slower and with less force.

Why Do People Mix Blood Pressure Medications and Xanax? 

Most individuals who mix blood pressure medications and Xanax are already prescribed their blood pressure medicine. They may not think about the potential drug interactions between Xanax and antihypertensives. When someone takes medication every day, they may be less likely to think about it before taking another substance. 

Someone who is addicted to Xanax but prescribed blood pressure medications may continue to mix the substances without worrying about the consequences. Even if they are aware, their addiction to Xanax may overpower their worries about drug interactions. 

Lastly, some individuals may attempt to mix the two medications to increase the effects of Xanax. While their feelings of lightheadedness and dizziness may increase, mixing these drugs is never recommended.

Unfortunately, mixing blood pressure medications and Xanax is highly dangerous. 

Is Mixing Xanax and Blood Pressure Medications Dangerous? 

Mixing Xanax and blood pressure medications of any kind is extremely dangerous. The most obvious danger is the risk of dangerously low blood pressure, as both medications tend to decrease pressure in the blood. However, there are a few other interactions of concern. 

Additive Effects in Lowering Blood Pressure 

Benzodiazepines like Xanax slow down bodily functions like breathing and heart rate. Additionally, Xanax may temporarily lower an individual’s blood pressure. 

When someone is already taking blood pressure medications, their blood pressure has been lowered to a safe level. However, once they consume Xanax their blood pressure could drop dangerously low. This may lead to headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and changes in pulse or heart rate.

Rebound Anxiety Due to Xanax Abuse

If an individual is abusing Xanax to self-medicate their anxiety, they may be doing more harm than good. Once an individual is addicted to Xanax, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal when they do not take the drug. 

During Xanax withdrawal, individuals may experience rebound anxiety. This often leads to irregular blood pressure and high spikes in blood pressure. As a result, Xanax may be causing blood pressure medications to become ineffective. 

This is extremely dangerous, as individuals are taking blood pressure medications to prevent serious side effects like stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease.

Increased Blood Pressure 

While benzodiazepines typically lead to lowered blood pressure, they may cause hypertension in some cases. According to a study in 2019, this is most common among individuals taking benzodiazepines for sleep disturbances.[2] 

This is dangerous for individuals with a history of hypertension. While they are taking blood pressure medications to lower their blood pressure, Xanax could increase their blood pressure. This may cause their blood pressure to rise dangerously despite their antihypertensive medication. 

Find Help for Xanax Abuse and Addiction Today

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, it’s time to consider professional help. This is especially important for individuals also taking blood pressure medication, as this could easily turn into a medical emergency. Thankfully, addiction treatment centers like Moving Mountains Recovery are equipped to treat the mental, emotional, and physical effects of substance abuse. 

Contact us today for more information on our Xanax abuse and addiction treatment program. 

References:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/medicines.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8345503/

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