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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Methadone and Xanax

08/01/2008

Question:

I am on 40mg/day Methadone for pain (Peripheral Artery Disease). I also take .5 mg Xanax as needed for anxiety attacks. I rarely take more than 2 Xanax a day. Both are prescribed by doctors. Both Doctors know I am on the combination, but I have been reading many horror stories on the internet of deaths caused by mixing the two. Have there been any professional studies on this mixture? I am interested to know of long-term effects too.

Answer:

Quality studies on the subject do not exist but reports suggest the risks are quite individualized based on susceptible individuals (usually combinations of medications, doses of these medications ,and other health related risk factors). The best communication between patients and the multiple (in your case two) physicians involved will decrease the potential risks. There are alternatives to this combination of medications with variable risks and benefits that could be discussed with your physicians.

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Response by:

Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP Nicholas A Votolato, RPh BCPP
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy
College of Pharmacy
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Emeritus
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University