One common question people ask about benzos and opioids is, “How long after taking Xanax can I take oxycodone?” Benzos and opiates are common medications that are prescribed for many reasons, but they shouldn’t be taken together. Mixing benzos and opiates together can be incredibly dangerous, and it’s something that shouldn’t be done unless a doctor has told you to do so. Here, we’ll look at the effects of these drugs and why mixing them can be so dangerous.

The Effects of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a class of medications often used for their tranquilizing effects. They act as sedatives and muscle relaxants and are sometimes used prior to surgeries to relax muscles and induce amnesia. When used properly, benzodiazepines can be very useful, and when the dose is monitored carefully, they’re quite safe.

However, many people attempt to obtain these drugs without a prescription and use them for their sedative effects or to manage anxiety. This can be dangerous because of the potential for long-term side effects and the increased risk of overdose. When doctors prescribe benzodiazepines, they carefully adjust the dose to suit the person the medication is being prescribed for. Taking another person’s prescription isn’t a good idea.

Misuse of benzodiazepines can lead to several potential side effects, including:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of coordination
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Coma

If you see someone experiencing these side effects, seek emergency medical advice immediately.

The Effects of Opioids

Opioids are often used as painkillers. They’re prescribed to around 20% of people who go to the doctor looking for pain relief. Many drugs classified as opioids are derived from opium. Today, however, lab-made opioids such as fentanyl, methadone and oxycodone are commonplace as well. Opioid abuse is considered a national health crisis in the United States, with around 3 million people in the country either misusing opioids or doing so in the past.

Opioids give a pleasurable feeling, but people can develop a tolerance to them. This can lead to taking larger and larger doses to get the same sensations experienced previously. There were almost 92,000 drug overdoses in the United States in 2020, and 75% of those overdoses involved an opioid. One of the reasons opioids can be so dangerous when misused is that they’re a sedative. Low doses of opioids can make you feel slightly sleepy, which is desirable for people who are in pain. Higher doses slow your breathing and heart rate, which can lead to death.

Don’t attempt to stop taking opioids or other prescription medications without consulting a doctor first. Simply stopping a drug without first slowly reducing the dose can sometimes have unpleasant or dangerous side effects. Doing a controlled detox offers the greatest chance of successfully coming off a drug and staying off it for the long term.

Why Mixing Benzos and Opioids Together Is Dangerous

Mixing benzos and opioids is dangerous because both drugs have a sedative effect and can suppress respiratory functions. Taking these drugs together can greatly increase the risk of accidental overdose. This is something people are at risk of even if they aren’t deliberately misusing these drugs.

If someone is seeing more than one doctor and their health care professionals are unaware of the prescriptions they’ve already been given, or if they’ve been prescribed both classes of drugs but with explicit instructions about how and when they should be used, it’s possible a simple mistake could lead to adverse drug interactions.

If you were to take Valium and Klonopin together, for example, the side effects of these drugs could be serious. Both drugs can cause dizziness and drowsiness even in low doses, leading to confusion and loss of coordination. This could be dangerous by itself, especially in the elderly. At higher doses, the depressive effects of these medications can cause respiratory difficulties, loss of consciousness and even death.

Another issue with combining these classes of drugs is that both can be habit-forming, and taking them together may increase the risk of addiction and dependency in some people.

For these reasons, it’s important to make sure all health care professionals are aware of any prescription medications you’re taking. It’s also important to follow the directions for each medication carefully. If you’re worried about getting confused or forgetting when you took a dose, use pill boxes or an app tracker to help ensure you’re complying properly with the directions for your medication.

How Long After Taking Xanax Can I Take Oxycodone?

It’s not safe to take oxycodone and Xanax on the same day, unless your doctor has explicitly told you to do so. Xanax can remain in your system for up to 2 days, and the length of time it takes to fully eliminate the drug from your body can vary massively from person to person. How quickly your body processes Xanax and other drugs depends on your age, weight, whether you have a history of alcohol abuse and how healthy your kidneys and liver are.

Combining Xanax and oxycodone can increase the risk of accidental overdose. For this reason, the CDC advises against prescribing opioids alongside Xanax unless absolutely necessary. If you’ve been prescribed both drugs from the same physician, ask them to explain the risks of combining the drugs and make sure you fully understand the instructions they’ve given you, including the amounts and timings of the doses, to reduce the risk of adverse effects.

Getting Help for Drug Misuse

If you’ve found yourself intentionally taking benzos and opiates together, don’t assume that because you’ve escaped adverse effects so far that will always be the case. It’s important to seek advice from a qualified medical physician if you’ve found yourself misusing opiates and/or benzos. At Sunlight Recovery, we offer support for people living with drug abuse disorders and can help you safely withdraw from the drugs you’re taking. Contact us today for a consultation with a trained and compassionate counselor.