Beta blockers vs. Xanax

What are beta blockers and Xanax?

Beta blockers are drugs that block the effects of stress hormones norepinephrine and epinephrine (adrenaline). These hormones are what cause the physical symptoms of anxiety and blocking them reduces these effects, helping control some of the physical symptoms of anxiety.

Xanax (alprazolam) is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, similar to diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), and others. Xanax acts to enhance the effects of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, reducing the stress response and helping the body relax.

What are the side effects of beta blockers and Xanax?

Beta blockers

Beta blockers may cause:

Other important side effects include:

As an extension of their beneficial effect, they slow heart rate and reduce blood pressure, but they may cause adverse effects such as heart failure or heart block in patients with heart problems.

Beta blockers should not be withdrawn suddenly because sudden withdrawal may worsen angina (chest pain) and cause heart attacks, serious abnormal heart rhythms, or sudden death.

Beta blockers that block β2 receptors may cause shortness of breath in asthmatics.

As with other drugs used for treating high blood pressure, sexual dysfunction may occur.

Beta blockers may cause low or high blood glucose and mask the symptoms of low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) in people with diabetes.

Other serious side effects of beta-blockers include:

  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis
  • Raynaud's phenomenon
  • Lupus erythematosus
  • Bronchospasm
  • Serious allergic reactions
  • Erythema multiform
  • Steven Johnson Syndrome
  • Toxic epidermal necrolysis

Xanax

Xanax is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are characterized by:

Panic attacks occur either unexpectedly or in certain situations (for example, driving), and can require higher dosages of Xanax.

SLIDESHOW

A Visual Guide to Generalized Anxiety Disorder See Slideshow

What are the drugs that interact with beta blockers and Xanax?

Beta blockers

Xanax

Summary

Beta blockers, usually used to control hypertension, can also treat anxiety. This drug class works differently from Xanax (alprazolam), which is a sedative specifically used to treat anxiety. Learn more about the side effects, uses, and drug interactions of beta blockers and Xanax.

Treatment & Diagnosis

Medications & Supplements

Prevention & Wellness

QUESTION

Panic attacks are repeated attacks of fear that can last for several minutes. See Answer

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

References
FDA Prescribing Information