Xanax is a benzodiazepines, so it works by relaxing our muscles through slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain. Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression. If taken correctly, Xanax is a great drug, for those that truly need it. Unfortunately, sometimes Xanax is misused.
As with every other drug out there, their is always going to be side effects, that patients should watch for. Some of the common side effects include, but not limited to, depressed mood, thoughts of suicide, confusion, agitation, hostility, urinating less that usual/not at all, chest pain with/without feeling of a racing heartbeat. sleeping problems, and more.
Misused Xanax included, but not limited to, taking to much of the drug (overdose), or taking the drug and it is not prescribed to you. For overdose, some signs/symptoms include drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, loss of balance, light-headedness, and fainting. In more serious cases, to much Xanax can cause respiratory depression, which may lead into respiratory arrest, which can turn into cardiac arrest.
For an overdose of Xanax, where the patient is unresponsive, or symptomatic, the patient need to transported priority 1, to the floes appropriate facility. You need to treat the patients signs/symptoms. For examples, is they are not breathing, you need to ventilate the patient; if they are in cardiac arrest, you need to perform CPR. If the overdose is minor, EMS care is usually just supportive care for the patient. As with all drug overdoses, close patient monitoring is vital.
If someone takes the drug, and it is not prescribed to them, always take that extra caution. Their is no way of knowing the effects the patient will present with. Xanax has different dosages, and they may take to much Xanax, thinking they would be a different dose than what would be actually prescribed.
Overall, monitor these patients, and treat with what they present with. If in doubt, rapid transport to the closest appropriate facility. Med-control can usually also guide you on what to do for these patients. In addition, make sure to follow local protocol.
I am not knocking Xanax, or saying anything bad about Xanax. The sole purpose of this post, is to inform EMS providers, on what Xanax is. Recently, I have been getting a lot of questions about Xanax and Adderall (see different post for Adderall). Xanax has been proven to help patient's, who need it.