IRFANA PARVEEN
By Irfana Parveen

B.Sc (Psychiatry Ward)

20 May 2022
Medically reviewed by
Sumayya Salam
Pharm D
does-xanax-cause-weight-gain
Table of Contents

Everyone fears experiencing one of the other side effects of their medications. Weight gain and loss would be the biggest question a person might think of when taking medications. People take medicines to revive their life from some other conditions. 

Abusing Xanax has many detrimental impacts on physical and mental health, like using so many other illegal or controlled medications.

One of these consequences is the potential to affect weight fluctuations. In simple words, Xanax can lead to weight gain, but only under specific circumstances. So the question arises, will you gain weight by consuming Xanax? And if so, how?

What Is Xanax (Alprazolam)?

Xanax belongs to the drug class of Benzodiazepine. The FDA approved it on January 17, 2003. Another name for Xanax is its generic name Alprazolam. It is not available over the counter. You will need a prescription to buy Xanax online from a certified online pharmacy or any local drugstore. You must be curious about how it would work on the body. Let's get into the working mechanism of Xanax.

How Would Xanax Work On The Body?

Today, Anxiety disorders are common disorders. It is prevalent in a large number of people worldwide. XANAX  is an anti-anxiety medication that works on Anxiety issues. Use caution when selecting such drugs.

Xanax works on the body, enhancing the chemicals known as GABA receptors. These receptors work on the brain and central nervous system. Once Xanax starts producing the chemicals, it creates a calming effect on the brain and nerves that will control your Anxiety. 

Uses of Xanax (Alprazolam)

The most widely prescribed psychotropic drug in the US is Alprazolam, also referred to by other trade names. Alprazolam treats panic and Anxiety disorders. Due to its effects on disinhibition, euphoria, and anxiolytics, Alprazolam has also been misused recreationally. The majority of Alprazolam's near-fatal incidents are the result of polydrug abuse.

FDA-labeled Indications 

  • Anxiety disorders- generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorders- with or without agoraphobia

Off-label Indications 

  • Insomnia
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Depression
Benzodiazepines are one of the numerous medicines that have severe withdrawal symptoms. Weight gain is a common symptom of benzo addiction. Many people who take prescription benzos, such as Xanax or Clonazepam, gain weight.
The duration of a single Xanax dose in the body can range from 31 hours to 134.5 hours (5.6 days), depending on the individual factors of the user. The tranquil, calming, and relaxing effects of Xanax, however, often wear off within eight to twelve hours.
Yes, Xanax makes you sleepy. Sedation (sleepiness) is a widespread side effect of Xanax.

Will Xanax Cause You Weight Gain?

Change in weight after consuming Xanax happens partially. Weight change depends on different individuals, dosage, and other factors. Most people's weight changes according to the dosage they consume. A high dosage would have many side effects, and weight gain is one of them.

If you are taking Xanax continuously, there are chances of you falling asleep all day. Once you sleep all day, then there is a chance of you gaining weight with no exercise done. It happens in males and females.

Now getting into females specifically, where they observe premenstrual dysphoric disorder. It is a condition closely similar to premenstrual syndrome. With this syndrome, your appetite would increase and make you gain weight.

Contrasting to this, there are chances of weight loss as well. It is more similar to Xanax having withdrawal symptoms. 

Studies Related To Weight Gain Caused By Xanax

A 17-day investigation involved seven healthy male research volunteers from 22 to 44 years of age. The daily caloric intake increased by 975 kcal on days when Alprazolam (0.75 mg b.i.d.) was administered compared to days when it wasn't. 

In an unpublished study, Alprazolam (0.25, 0.50 mg) was administered to eight guys at 1300 and 1900 hours. The 0.50 mg dose raised daily caloric intake by 392 kcal compared to the low dose's average increase of 133 kcal.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax has properties that can be addictive. In a way, you might consume Xanax most of the time when you feel anxious. You might be dependent on medicine most of the time. If you try to stop the medicine intake abruptly, withdrawal symptoms could be seen, such as: 

  • Mood swings
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Muscle cramps

Precautions That You Should Take Before Consuming Xanax

Tell your doctor about your medical history, as side effects can affect your health. It is to avoid any undesired effects caused by the drug.

Precautions that you should take before consuming Xanax are as follows:

Do not consume if:

  • You are allergic to any Benzodiazepine medications.
  • Are you suffering from any breathing issues
  • Had any liver problems
  • Suffered from kidney damage
  • Have you been through any disorders

It would be best if you avoided the following:

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Using heavy machinery
  • If you consume marijuana.

Forms and Dosage of Xanax

You can find Xanax in tablet form with different strengths: 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg.

The FDA has approved a usual dosage to help cure Anxiety disorder and Panic attacks.

Anxiety Disorder:

  • Starting Dose: 0.25ng (3 times a day)
  • Continuous Dose: 0.25 to 0.5mg (3 times a day). It will depend on the dosage advised by your health provider.
  • Max Dosage: Not exceeding 4mg per day.

Panic Disorder:

  • Starting Dose: 0.5mg (3 times a day)
  • Continuous Dose: 0.5mg to 3mg (3 times a day)
  • Max Dose: Not exceeding 10mg per day

Side Effects of Xanax

It would be best if you had an idea about Xanax working on a person's weight differently. As gaining or losing weight is itself a side effect, apart from these side effects, there are other side effects also that you may observe.

There are two types of side effects-

  • common side effects that should not be neglected and
  • serious side effects which necessitate medical attention.

Common side effects

Severe Side effects

Drowsiness

Memory loss

Mild headache

Poor working of the brain

Dizziness

Decreased sex drive

Depression

Phobias

Dysarthria

Trouble in concentration

What Happens If You Overdose On Xanax?

You should get immediate help from the hospital. Overdosing on Xanax is risky and may make you severely dizzy. If you ever overdose on Xanax after consuming alcohol or opioid medicine, you might get symptoms like breathlessness. 

Drug Interactions Of Xanax

It is a common factor that every medicine is made from different medicinal compounds. These compounds react harshly on the person's body if taken together. As mentioned below are the medicines that may interact with Xanax; you should not consume them together.

  • Ambien
  • Cymbalta
  • Flexeril
  • Norco
  • Oxycodone
  • Tramadol

Bottom Line From Practical Anxiety Solutions

You can use Xanax to treat Anxiety disorders and panic attacks. It has side effects related to weight fluctuations, so you might be clear about Xanax, as it may cause weight gain or loss depending on the person's activity. If you are primarily towards physical activity, it is less likely to affect your health. 

One of the most problematic issues with using some psychiatric medications is weight gain or weight reduction. Assessment of weight and its changes is a crucial part of medical care.
Alprazolam caused weight changes with the circumstances.

 These findings confirm early clinical observations that several patients experienced weight gain or an increase in hunger after using benzodiazepines. As the medicine makes you dizzy, you should make sure that you are active all the time. There are various side effects of Alprazolam that may affect you, and withdrawal symptoms might appear upon abrupt discontinuation of the drug.

If there are weight fluctuations and no suitable alternative treatment is available, the patient should discuss continuing the drug, stopping it altogether, or modifying the dosage.

  • Evans, R. L., & Cardoni, A. A. (2016). Alprazolam (Xanax®, the Upjohn Company). Drug Intelligence & Clinical Pharmacy. https://doi.org/10.1177/106002808101500901 Obtain on 28/10/2022
  • de Armas, H. N., Peeters, O. M., Van den Mooter, G., & Blaton, N. (2007). Polymorphism of Alprazolam (Xanax®): A Review of its Crystalline Phases and Identification, Crystallographic Characterization, and Crystal Structure of a New Polymorph (Form III). Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 96(5), 1114-1130. From https://doi.org/10.1002/jps.20930 Obtain on 28/10/2022
What's on your mind?

Start a conversation, Post with kindness.