SUMAYYA
18 September 2022
Medically reviewed by
Kajal Jain
M. Pharm
can-you-take-zolpidem-and-xanax-together
Table of Contents

You are not alone if you or your loved one experiences insomnia or anxiety. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), nearly 30% of the U.S. population finds sleeping difficult; other estimates are even higher. Almost 40 million American adults suffer from Anxiety disorders every year.

Two widely prescribed medications for these conditions are described below, i.e., Ambien (for insomnia) and Xanax (for anxiety/panic attacks).

Both medications are safe and effective alone, but what if they are taken in combination?
Let's begin to study more.

What Is Ambien (Zolpidem)?

Ambien is an imidazopyridine non-Benzodiazepine. These drugs typically have a calming and depressing effect on the brain. Ambien interacts with GABA and the central nervous system inducing relaxation and sleepiness.

Ambien is known to be habit-forming. The duration of treatment should be only short-term. 

Mechanism Of Ambien

Ambien is a prescription medication for cases of insomnia in adults who have difficulty falling asleep and other sleep issues. 
Zolpidem works as a gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a receptor chloride channel modulator/agonist that increases GABA inhibitory effects.
It activates these receptors, resulting in sedative effects that help maintain deep sleep. It improves the total sleep time while decreasing sleep latency and nocturnal awakening frequency.

Doses

  • The initial dose of Ambien is 6.25 mg for women and either 6.25 or 12.5 mg for males.
  • Tablet, immediate-release: 5 mg, 10 mg
  • Tablet, extended-release: 6.25 mg, 12.5 mg
  • Tablet, sublingual: 1.75 mg, 3.5 mg, 5 mg, 10 mg
  • Oral spray: 5mg/spray

Indications And Doses Of Ambien

Indicated for the short-term treatment of adults who have trouble falling asleep (insomnia)
Indicated for anxiety, migraine, and neurological conditions; to relieve stress.

When traveling to new time zones upsets regular sleep habits, people frequently use Ambien to lessen the effects of jet lag.

In an experimental setting, zolpidem proved to help patients regain consciousness after suffering brain damage from a stroke or other trauma. According to a recent Stanford University study, mice treated with low dosages of zolpidem recovered from stroke more swiftly.

When traveling to new time zones upsets regular sleep habits, Ambien is frequently used as a means to lessen the effects of jet lag.

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What Is Xanax (Alprazolam)?

Xanax (Alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It calms the neuronal activity in the brain. Xanax has the potential for abuse.

Due to this, users often combine Xanax with other addictive substances, raising the risk of an overdose and having deadly effects.

Mechanism Of Xanax

The action of Xanax is due to the potentiation of the neuronal inhibition mediated by gamma-aminobutyric acid. It works by increasing the reuptake of GABA in the brain, thereby decreasing levels of abnormal excitement or anxiety. 

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Indications And Doses Of Xanax

  • Indicated for anxiety disorder and panic disorder
  • Mixed anxiety-depression
  • For people with seizure disorders, the medicine reduces feelings of worry and panic and even helps them avoid having seizures.

Dose

The optimum dosage of Xanax should be individualized based on the severity of the symptoms and individual patient responses.

The usual starting dosage for Xanax tablets: 

  • Anxiety: - 0.25 to 0.5 mg three times daily
  • Depression: Usual starting dosage- 0.5 mg three times daily
  • Panic disorder: Usual starting dosage- 0.5 to 1 mg, given at bedtime or 0.5 mg three times daily 
Side Effects Of Ambien Side effects of Xanax

Drowsiness and fatigue

Drowsiness or sedation

Headaches

Talkativeness

Lightheadedness and dizziness

Dry mouth

Hallucinations

Headaches and sensitivity to light

Sleepwalking

Severe memory issues

Suicidal thoughts and behaviors 

Addiction

Can You Take Xanax And Ambien together?

Generally speaking, you should not take Xanax and Ambien together. Both Ambien and Xanax are CNS depressants that increase the effects of GABA. As a result, those with both insomnia and Anxiety should not take the two drugs together.

When combined, it may exacerbate the side effects of either one or both of them. Both have similar side effects; therefore, they can potentiate the side effects when taken together.

Both are also recognized to have habit-forming qualities that frequently result in dependency and addiction. 

What Happens When You Mix Ambien And Xanax?

The combined effects of the two medications increase their respective side effects. They both have CNS depressive properties, so combining them could cause the CNS to become permanently depressed. Sedation, respiratory depression, and overdose could arise from this.

The adverse outcomes of combining Ambien and Xanax are as follows:

  • Memory loss
  • Issues with learning
  • Psychological and physical dependency
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sedation
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma
  • Death
Both drugs belong to different categories and have different indications, dosing and adverse effects. Ambien is used for the short-term treatment of insomnia, while Xanax is prescribed for anxiety or panic disorder.
Xanax may cause fetal abnormalities and is not preferred during pregnancy. Also, if taken during the third trimester, Ambien causes respiratory depression and sedation in neonates. For further guidance, contact the healthcare provider.
The consumption of alcohol while on drugs like Xanax or Ambien can be dangerous. It causes respiratory depression, extreme sedation, psychomotor impairment, coma or even death.

Dangers Of Mixing Ambien And Xanax

The effects of combining Ambien and Xanax could be lethal. Both drugs are highly addictive and habit-forming. Therefore, combining the two could result in polydrug addiction.

Polydrug Dependence - A person who develops a polydrug addiction uses two or more drugs concurrently. Zolpidem and alprazolam are well-known addiction triggers, people who use them both around the same time run the risk of becoming dependent on them. Polydrug addiction frequently leads to overdoses that can be lethal, deteriorating physical and mental health conditions.

Overdose

 Mixing Ambien and Xanax can sometimes lead to a fatal overdose. The use of two CNS depressants at the same time can severely impact bodily functions and organs.

The symptoms of overdose include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Loss of consciousness or sedation
  • Difficulty speaking 
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin
  • Loss of coordination and balance
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Deat

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

The recommendation of this or any combination usually comes from the physician, but the combination of Ambien and Xanax is generally not preferred. Ambien and Xanax are both regulated drugs and have the potential for abuse and dependence.

These two depressants, when combined, aggravate the side effects of one another and may decrease the CNS's function to an excessive degree, resulting in an overdose.

It may substantially raise the risk of addiction. The potential to cause physical dependence might result in withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using them.

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