Xanax-related ER visits double in 6 years
May 22nd, 2014
07:32 AM ET

Xanax-related ER visits double in 6 years

Alprazolam, the prescription sedative more commonly known by its brand name, Xanax, is being implicated in a spiraling number of emergency room visits, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Over the past few years, the number of ER visits associated with misuse of the drug more than doubled. In 2005, the number of patient cases involving Xanax was 57,419, and by 2011 (the last year for which there is data), there were 123,744.

"We have been clamping down on opiates (prescription painkillers) but Xanax is becoming a fast-riser in the game," said Dr. Howard Mell, an emergency room physician based in Cleveland, Ohio.

"It's not even a little surprising," he said of the new figures. "I wish it was."

In 2011, 1.2 million visits to the emergency room involved prescription drug misuse and abuse. And, according the report, alprazolam was involved in 10% of those visits.

Part of alprazolam's fast rise: It is a go-to anti-anxiety drug for psychiatrists and primary care physicians. According to recent studies, Xanax was the most commonly prescribed psychiatric medication in 2011.

And with its addictive qualities, abuse is common, said Mell, a spokesman for the American College of Emergency Physicians.

The most common drug combinations he encounters in ER patients are Xanax and alcohol, and Xanax combined with prescription opiates like hydrocodone and oxycodone.

According to the SAMHSA report, in 81% of cases, alprazolam was mixed with another drug (including alcohol).

"Alprazolam...has been shown to be significantly more toxic than other benzodiazepines," a class of anxiety medications that includes Valium, "if more than the prescribed amount is taken," according to the report.

The impact - what leads patients to the emergency room - is the sedating effect of each of these drugs. When one sedative (Xanax) is added to another (alcohol or painkillers) there is what is called a synergistic effect, with each drug amplifying the other.

To use a mathematical analogy - instead of 1+1 equaling 2, 1+1 equals 5. The worst case scenario for a patient is that he or she stops breathing.

"If you're someone taking Xanax and you take an extra before going out Saturday night, then have a couple of mixed drinks, it's going to hit you much faster," said Mell. "It's going to cause an interaction that could be deadly."

Mell says his typical patient is not the "pimply-faced" kid you might expect to be abusing drugs. His overdose patients, he says, are soccer moms, local politicians and business leaders.

"They think because the drugs (are) given out by doctors that they can handle it," he said. "They figure 'I wouldn't put anything in my medicine cabinet that's unsafe to take,' and that's just not true."

Between 2005 and 2011, according to the SAMHSA report, the age group most likely to show up in the ER as a result of alprazolam was 25 to 34 year olds. In 2005, about 12,731 visits were among that age group, but by 2011 that number had risen to 39,651.

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Umberto

    Thanks for sharing this information! Umberto


    December 7, 2019 at 08:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. jordans 13 melo

    It keeps the fire in my belly and I never once thought about retiring from international football.
    jordans 13 melo http://dvse.sikerszoftver.hu/jd.aspx?cid=446&shop=jordans+13+melo&xi=4&xc=19&pr=76.99&you=0

    September 27, 2020 at 09:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Greenwood

    I am from United States..

    With his effective herbal Medicine i was cured from herpes virus just in 2 weeks WOOOO! ]]]] ]]]]]]]] **

    Contact him_______________robinson.buckler [@]yahoo[.] com..]]]]]!!!

    He has solution to all health issues…..

    Do you have Cancer ??????

    Do you want to get pregnant ??????

    Do you have shingles/herpes 1&2???????

    Do you have erectile issue???????

    Do you have Prostate cancer??????

    Do you have diabetes???????

    Do you have Fibroid???

    November 5, 2020 at 06:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Gabrielfet

    https://t.me/Dating_Flirting – Meet, be inspired, communicate and continue flirting! Follow the link

    – Flirting in your city


    November 30, 2020 at 15:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Dessie

    Здравия Желаю,
    Дорогие Друзья.

    Сейчас я бы хотел оповестить немного про Деньги под залог занять.

    Я думаю Вы ишите именно про
    Деньги под залог быстро?! Значит
    эта больше актуальная информация про Деньги под залог квартиры в москве будет для вас наиболее полезной.

    Мы предлагаем больше актуальной информации
    про Деньги под залог коттеджа и также про Деньги под залог срочно и про Деньги под залог квартиры за 1 день.

    На нашем сайте больше про Деньги под залог коммерческой недвижимости, также информацию про
    Деньги под залог недвижимости оформить и про Деньги под залог квартиры
    за 1 день.

    Узнай больше про Деньги под залог доли дома
    или по ссылке https://xn--7cdlbddcedhphlkba2c2aekpfki6e2a0y.xn--80adxhks/

    Наш сайт имеет Теги: Деньги
    под залог недвижимости с отказниками,
    Деньги под залог недвижимости с отказниками, Деньги под залог
    недвижимости мск, Деньги под залог магазина

    Удачного Дня

    December 1, 2020 at 02:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Tsears56245afsdfsaf5621

    10 evidence in which your ex prefers person

    often it can be difficult to know regardless of whether a lady likes or maybe your daughter precisely actually being professional and polite and is certain we all about as mouthwatering as a bowl regarding warming exploit. release try and give you a certain tactics therefore you never need to question even if mother desires you.

    those are the quick symbols that a female likes your family:

    1. if you notice her folding her blow round her fingers, what a sign. This is among those unconscious things that she helps to but yet engage in with a " friend,a working male that she tastes. however, if she's having fun with her mane, because of this she wants to look her best for you.

    2. upcoming warning is if you think the girl gazing throughout the room, now gazing at a person, struggling to take your big eyes off you. not surprisingly, I sharing that focus for instance, "make an impression on, a girl are hot, And not wish "what is wrong due to your pet, all the difference is extremely precise in addition to shouldn be near on impossible to tell which always it will be.

    3. the time she or he seeks away when you are done helping to make his full attention, can be another naturally signing your name just that your lady wants then you. accessible right down, the woman with sending. this is an transformative outcome and you could synthetic these products.

    4. another absolutely sure put your signature on brand new boat your sweetheart poking fun at everything you could disclose particularly the dumb goods. leave her with a bad one to run a test her and view if lindsay fun. (page one: alternatives had to do digital consider tell your man's wife? "look friend correct hands and fingers,)

    5. an additional hint your girl interests you is you may notice her biting at her lips also known as licking those regularly if you find yourself talking with her.

    6. objective complicated billboards best to buy your ex claims charmdate uptight an individual suggests that you and them are generally a service or that you choose to be moving out. jane perhaps hanging around in order to may him / her along with, in addition to they obviously doesn want to appear basically keen.

    7. another put your signature to that my wife might familiar truth that possibly cusine you meet, nonetheless bizarre that might sound. generally, your girl sees that it basically unfeasible that will lasts eye-catching as long as submission shoveling meatball in their jaws.

    8. your girlfriend might be interesting and inquire for anyone who is romance a loved one. This is a huge put your signature on, and it also simply speaking assurances actuality that girl enjoys your entire family.

    9. to confirm she is delivering the most suitable option in matchmaking the public, She will take you in order to satisfy your ex others that she can obtain war stories of you. should they be giggling for instance like are more effective the current tip, This is a popular complete.

    10. future symptom, this kind of is tremendous, ought to purchase that she will follow you everyday. if you're ignore your unaware signage, you then must be shades or something! past the saying yes, She is intending to show you that you both have a lot in accordance.

    of these problems will assist you to figure out in the event that she definitely would like you an individual. quickly as you master quite a number of signs or symptoms, you're able mearly "undergo the following" with figure out if the young woman can imagine you have or not satisfying you. Work about your hobby so when you have a discussion with the lady, associated with warnings got back a little more of course in your direction.

    December 1, 2020 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Melida Delpit

    Magnificent beat ! I wish to apprentice while you amend your website, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal. I had been a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast offered bright clear idea


    January 17, 2021 at 21:48 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.