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Modafinil and Xanax Mix: Results That You Should Expect

Taking two or more drugs concomitantly may be necessary to treat two or more different diseases. An individual suffering from anxiety or panic disorder and a sleep disorder such as narcolepsy may see the need to take modafinil and Xanax together. Modafinil for sleep disorder and Xanax for social anxiety disorder: While this sounds practical when you think about it, is the combo really safe? What should you expect from mixing both medications? You will find the answers to these questions in this article.

Modafinil and Xanax

What Is Modafinil?

Modafinil is a wakefulness-promoting medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat excessive daytime sleepiness caused by 3 major sleep disorders [1]:

Doctors often prescribe it off-label over Adderall to treat symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) [2]. This is because it is better tolerated, has fewer side effects, and poses a much lower risk of addiction. Modafinil is so safe that Oxford and Harvard University lecturers dubbed it the โ€œworldโ€™s first safe โ€˜smart drug.โ€™โ€

Modafinil is commonly marketed under the brand name Provigil. Generic versions became available in the United States in 2012, after the patent that protected its formula expired [3]. Some of the most popular brands include ModaXL, Modavinil, Modafresh, Modaheal, and Modalert, among others. The common modafinil dose strengths for both the branded and generic versions are 100 mg and 200 mg. Although the recommended initial dosage is 200 mg daily, a doctor may adjust the dose based on the patientโ€™s health condition and drug history.

Modafinil is only indicated for use in people over the age of 17. It is not to be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women and individuals with heart-related diseases, among other health issues.

It is advisable to consult a doctor or healthcare provider before starting treatment with this drug.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines. It contains alprazolam as its active ingredient, and it is used to treat panic disorder and anxiety disorders, including those caused by depression. Xanax was approved by the FDA on October 16, 1981. It has since grown to become one of the most prescribed benzodiazepines because of its high level of effectiveness.

Xanax

At this point, it is worth noting that of the more than 15 different types of benzodiazepines, Xanax is one of the most abused ones. This is mostly a result of 3 major factors [4]:

  1. It is short-acting. Although super-effective in eliminating anxiety and bringing about calmness, the drugโ€™s effects wear off fast. Consequently, patients who take it often find themselves wanting to pop the pill more often than normal or take it at higher doses.
  2. It has severe withdrawal symptoms. At some point, individuals who take the pills too frequently or overdose on them soon realize that they are doing a terrible thing. Some of them try to stop, but then they find themselves falling sick. They suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, seizures, sweating, vomiting, and hallucinations, which disappear only after they resume taking the pills. This keeps them dependent on the drug.
  3. It is habit-forming. Xanax works by influencing the parts of the brain that produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and dopamine, among other neurotransmitters. Some people get addicted to the relaxation and feel-good โ€œhighโ€ that it provides when it acts on the brain to trigger the release of the neurotransmitters. And because it is short-acting, they overdose on it, and when they eventually try to quit, the withdrawal symptoms kick in. The cycle goes on and on.

Generally, Xanax is a great drug, but it is dangerous. There has been a sharp increase in the number of people who have died from an overdose over the years. To put this in perspective, the number of related deaths in women between the age of 30 and 64 increased by 830% between 1999 and 2017 [5]. This medication should only be used based on the recommendation and under the close supervision of a doctor or healthcare provider.

Difference Between Modafinil and Xanax

Xanax brings about feelings of calmness and relaxation, while modafinil decreases sedation and boosts alertness. There are some other differences, as well as similarities, between both drugs; learn about them in the table below.

Modafinil Xanax
First Approval Date December 24, 1998 October 16, 1981
Prescription Prescribed medically to treat 3 major sleep disorders:

  • narcolepsy;
  • SWSD;
  • OSA.

Also prescribed off-label to treat ADHD, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc. Healthy individuals take it off-label to enhance cognitive function and ultimately increase productivity.

Prescribed to treat panic disorder and anxiety disorders, including those triggered by depression.
Ratings & Reviews From a total of 433 reviews on Drugs.com, 64% of users reported achieving positive results, while 18% reported a negative experience. It scored an average of 7.2/10 from the total number of reviewers [6]. From a total of 792 reviews on Drugs.com, 83% of users reported achieving positive results, while 8% reported a negative experience. It scored an average of 8.7/10 from the total number of reviewers [7].
Drug Class Central nervous system (CNS) stimulants or wakefulness-promoting agents Benzodiazepines
Side Effects Common ones include:

  • headache;
  • nausea;
  • upset stomach;
  • diarrhea;
  • stuffy nose;
  • insomnia.

More serious ones may also occur. They include ringing in one or both ears, palpitations, hallucinations, anxiety, and depression, among others.

Common ones include:

  • insomnia;
  • tiredness;
  • drowsiness;
  • upset stomach;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • dry mouth;
  • stuffy nose;
  • headache.

Memory loss, impaired concentration, slurred speech, seizures, depression, and anxiety are some more serious side effects of the drug.

Generic Availability Yes (ModaXL, Modavinil, Modalert, etc.) Yes (generic alprazolam)
Brand Names Provigil Niravam, Xanax, Xanax XR
Half-Life 15 hours 11 hours
Controlled Substances Act Schedule Classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance. However, it is less habit-forming and has a low potential for abuse relative to the medications in the Schedule III class. Classified as a Schedule IV controlled substance. It is habit-forming and has a high potential for addiction.
Drug Interactions According to Drugs.com, modafinil is known to interact with a total of 449 medications, of which 182 are minor, 205 are moderate, and 62 are major. According to Drugs.com, Xanax is known to interact with 517 medications, of which 39 are minor, 426 are moderate, and 52 are major.
Interaction with Diseases Modafinil has 9 disease interactions, according to Drugs.com. They include:

  • liver disease;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • seizure disorders;
  • psychotic disorders;
  • hypertension;
  • bipolar disorders;
  • psychiatric disorders;
  • renal dysfunction;
  • cardiac disease.

Consult your doctor before starting treatment with modafinil if you are suffering from or have a history of suffering from any of the above diseases.

Modafinil has 9 disease interactions, according to Drugs.com. They include:

  • obesity;
  • seizures;
  • paradoxical reactions;
  • respiratory depression;
  • closed-angle glaucoma;
  • renal/liver disease;
  • acute alcohol intoxication;
  • drug dependence;
  • depression.

Consult your doctor before starting treatment with Xanax if you are suffering from or have a history of suffering from any of the above diseases.

Interaction with Food/Alcohol Modafinil interacts with alcohol in a way that alters its mechanism of action and increases the risk of complications. Most foods work well with the drug, but fatty foods may reduce its absorption rate and thus the onset of action. Taking modafinil with grapefruit/grapefruit juice may cause some serious negative effects. Xanax interacts negatively with alcohol and certain foods including grapefruit and grapefruit juice. Taking it alongside any of them can increase the concentration of Xanax in the blood and ultimately increase the risk of experiencing severe side effects.

Another major difference between both medications is the company behind their production. While Cephalon Inc., part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., manufactures Provigil (brand-name modafinil), Pfizer makes Xanax.

Can You Take Modafinil & Xanax Together?

Yes, you can take modafinil and Xanax together, but you probably shouldnโ€™t unless advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare provider. While it isnโ€™t set in stone, there is a possibility that Xanax may reduce the effectiveness of modafinil because of its CNS-depressant effects. Thus, users may not be as alert and focused as they should after popping a modafinil tablet. According to Drugs.com, interaction between both drugs tend to be minor, but dose adjustments may be necessary, and the use should be monitored by a doctor [8].

Is This Combination Safe?

Yes and no.

The answer is yes because an interaction checker indicates a minor interaction if both drugs are combined. This is not to mention the fact that several individuals who have tried mixing both meds have reported no serious side effects. However, it is worth noting that meds work differently in different individuals; the fact that the combination is safe in certain individuals does not guarantee that it will be safe for you.

The answer is no because the information on modafinilโ€™s label warns that taking this drug alongside benzodiazepines such as Xanax may cause undesired effects [9].

Positive Effects of Drug Mixing

Combing modafinil and Xanax may come in handy to individuals who suffer from panic disorder or anxiety disorders alongside sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, OSA, and SWSD. Since modafinil is safe, well-tolerated, and super-effective, it could help treat a sleep disorder, while Xanax takes care of panic disorder or an anxiety disorder. However, it is important to be cognizant of potential risks. Be sure to consult a doctor before mixing these medications.

Possible Side Effects

Modafinil and Xanax have similar side effects. Thus, combining both of them may increase the risk of one or more of adverse reactions occurring. The common adverse effects they both have include headache, upset stomach, vomiting, dizziness, nausea, stuffy nose, insomnia, and dry mouth. Their more serious side effects include memory loss, depression, hallucinations, and anxiety, among others. Severe adverse reactions rarely occur; they are mostly triggered by an overdose or misuse of the drugs. Note that Xanax is more habit-forming than modafinil.

Withdrawal Period

Drug withdrawal may occur if Xanax or modafinil use is stopped abruptly during long-term use. For Xanax, symptoms such as insomnia, anxiety, loss of sex drive, and mood swings may begin within 24 hours of stopping treatment with it and can last for 5โ€“28 days. Modafinil has a low potential for addiction, but on rare occasions, it may cause withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, shaking, and confusion. If you decide to stop using either drug, your doctor will help you taper off the doses over time to help your body adjust normally. Do well to consult your doctor for more help [10][11][12].

The Verdict: Mixing Modafinil and Xanax

Mixing modafinil and Xanax can be helpful for some individuals who suffer from both a sleep disorder and anxiety or panic disorder. While modafinil would help to promote wakefulness and increase alertness, Xanax would help treat anxiety and bring about calmness.

Based on Drugs.comโ€™s interaction checker, combing both drugs poses a risk of only minor negative interactions. However, it is worth noting that while the combination may work out well for some, the reverse may be the case for others. If you feel that you need to have Xanax and modafinil prescribed together, do well to consult a doctor or medical expert to assess your health properly so they can help you determine a dose that will both be effective and safe for you.

References

  1. Modafinil (Oral Route) Side Effects. Written by IBM Micromedex. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Mayoclinic.org.
  2. Modafinil: Stimulant Medication Overview. By Janice Rodden. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Additudemag.com.
  3. Modafinil. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Wikipedia.org.
  4. Xanax Abuse and Addiction. Written by Stacy Mosel, LMSW. Edited by Laura Close. Reviewed by Ryan Kelley, NREMT. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Oxfordtreatment.com.
  5. Drug Overdose Deaths Among Women Aged 30โ€“64 Years โ€” United States, 1999โ€“2017. By Jacob P. VanHouten, MD, Ph.D., Rose A. Rudd, MSPH, et al. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Cdc.gov.
  6. Modafinil Reviews & Ratings. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Drugs.com.
  7. Xanax Reviews & Ratings. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Drugs.com.
  8. Drug Interaction Report: Modafinil, Xanax. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Drugs.com.
  9. Use of Alertness Drug Modafinil Takes Off, Spurred by Untested Uses. By Melissa Healy. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Latimes.com.
  10. What Happens When You Stop Taking Benzodiazepines? Written by Jon Johnson. Medically reviewed by Dena Westphalen, Pharm.D. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Medicalnewstoday.com.
  11. Modafinil Oral: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings, and More. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Webmd.com.
  12. Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms, and What You Can Do About Them. By Gillian Tietz and John McGuire. Retrieved: October 1, 2022. Wedmd.com.

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