Drugs Q & A

Will Xanax Lower My Blood Pressure?

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries – the vessels that carry your blood from your heart to your brain and the rest of your body. You need a certain amount of pressure to get the blood moving around your body.

Your blood pressure naturally goes up and down throughout the day and night, and it’s normal for it to go up while you’re moving about. It’s when your overall blood pressure is consistently high, even when you are resting, that you need to do something about it.

our blood pressure is usually measured using a sphygmomanometer (pronounced ‘svig-mo-man-ometer’). This is usually a digital electronic monitor, which is connected to an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm.

When you have your blood pressure measured, the reading is written as two numbers. The first is when the pressure is at its highest (or systolic pressure), and the second is at its lowest (or diastolic pressure).

Systolic pressure: This is the highest level of your blood pressure – when your heart beats and contracts to pump blood through your arteries.

Diastolic pressure: This is the lowest level of your blood pressure – when your heart relaxes between beats.

If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, “120 over 80,” or write, “120/80 mmHg.”

A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg. A blood pressure reading lower than 90 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) for the top number (systolic) or 60 mm Hg for the bottom number (diastolic) is generally considered low blood pressure.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a brand of alprazolam, a benzodiazepine that works by enhancing the activity of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. Generic Xanax is also available as the brand-name medications Xanax and Xanax XR. A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generic blue, green, and yellow Xanax are considered to be just as safe and effective as the original drug but tend to cost less.

Xanax is prescribed for the treatment of anxiety disorders and anxiety caused by depression. Xanax is also used to treat panic disorders with or without a fear of places and situations that might cause panic, helplessness, or embarrassment (agoraphobia). Xanax is a federally controlled substance (C-IV) because it can be abused or lead to dependence.

Does Xanax Lower Blood Pressure?

Yes, Xanax can lower your blood pressure with prolonged use. This explains why the drug is not recommended for long-term use. Xanax essentially slows down functions like breathing and heart rate and temporarily lowers blood pressure. If you were to consume Xanax before getting your blood pressure testing, the reading would likely be lower than usual. In a controlled study of 53 participants with elevated blood pressure, Xanax was as effective as captopril at lowering blood pressure.

Xanax also produces similar effects over the long term. Those over the age of 60 who were administered benzodiazepines over a prolonged period reported lower blood pressure, and Xanax use was associated with a reduced risk of significant adverse cardiovascular events in those with high blood pressure, including strokes and heart attacks. With that said, using Xanax for extended periods is not recommended because of its addiction risk. It can lower one’s heart rate, so Xanax use must be monitored closely.

Studies have also shown that Xanax is as effective as captopril (an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor used for the treatment of hypertension) in lowering elevated blood pressure.

What are the side effects of Xanax?

Common side effects of Xanax include:

  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Headache
  • Increased sweating
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Memory problems
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Sleep problems (insomnia)
  • Slurred speech
  • Stuffy nose
  • Swelling in your hands or feet
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Upset stomach
  • Vomiting

Xanax may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online (http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch) or by phone (1-800-332-1088).

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