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No, really, I'm better but did my brain trick me?
December 24, 2010 12:57 PM   Subscribe

DrugFilter: Is Xanax still "good" after two years? And secondly, how long does it last in the system?

I occasionally suffer from unpleasant panic attacks--they seem to be occurring less and less as time goes on, something I credit to a change of lifestyle--they still do happen. In December of 2008, I was given a prescription for Xanax, 0.5 mg, 20 of them, to take as needed. No refills offered.

Fair enough.

Those 20 pills have lasted me to present day because I would only take half (0.25 mg) and that seemed to allay the anxiety fairly well. But now that I think about it....is it even doing anything at all now? It's been a little over two years since these were originally prescribed and today was one of those days where I took half of one, felt better and moved on with my day. Is this a placebo effect in my brain if they aren't actually having any effect? Also, I took said half of Xanax this morning around 8 am and will be wanting to have a cocktail or two this evening for the holidays. Advisable? YANMD, of course, but finding info about this on the Internets leads to some very wonky advice.
posted by Kitteh to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
 
Yes, Xanax is still good after two years. Eventually as it gets old it loses some potency, but that's it-- it doesn't become "bad" in any meaningful sense.

According to wikipedia, its (non-XR) half-life is about 11 hours. So I guess that would mean you'd have, what, .12 mg tonight? From personal experience, I would be okay taking .25 in the morning and having a drink in the evening. Two drinks, even. But to be cautious, I wouldn't drink more than that-- I don't think it would put you at risk of death or anything (unless we're talking a lot more xanax and a lot more alcohol), but it will make you more drunk and out of it than usual.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:04 PM on December 24, 2010


Er, to clarify, I also think after two years the pills are definitely still having an effect-- it's not a placebo thing.
posted by J. Wilson at 1:05 PM on December 24, 2010


My doc says to throw them away and get new ones every six months, so I do (I find that they work for me more as talismans than as pills), but a while back I took one that was a year or more old and it seemed to work fine.

Drink plus a Xanax earlier in the day makes me much sleepier than usual, but that's the only effect on me. You have to get up to a much higher dosage than .25 and a cocktail or two before you get into Valley of the Dolls country.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:13 PM on December 24, 2010


I take 2 year old xanax routinely because I stash small bottles all over the place, like some kind of neurotic squirrel; they tend to turn up when and where I need them. I would have a drink 8 hours later without even thinking about it.

IANAD, just a Xanax fan.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:30 PM on December 24, 2010 [9 favorites]


In the US I would suggest that you phone a pharmacist—they would be able to answer these kinds of questions. I would guess this is probably true where you are too.
posted by Orinda at 2:10 PM on December 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


+1. I deliberately hoarded my prescriptions for an expected period in which I knew I wouldn't have health insurance. I hoarded them so successfully that I was taking some as long as four years after they'd been dispensed. The color had faded, but they still worked fine.
posted by scratch at 3:59 PM on December 24, 2010


I take 2 year old xanax routinely because I stash small bottles all over the place, like some kind of neurotic squirrel; they tend to turn up when and where I need them. I would have a drink 8 hours later without even thinking about it.

This is -- pretty much word for word -- my experience as well.
posted by Forktine at 4:05 PM on December 24, 2010


Thanks for everyone's input. I had two small glasses of maple cream liqueur and half a beer before I decided that I was starting to feel a little too funky for my taste and called it a night. (So glad that I declined our neighbor's offer of a glass of wine!) So now I am feeling oddly tingly so it's best not to try this again, with such a small dose.

Merry Christmas!
posted by Kitteh at 6:12 PM on December 24, 2010


REHYDRATE! I cannot stress enough how important that can be when introducing benzos and alchohol together. It can save some major HELL later!
posted by MuChao at 7:15 PM on December 24, 2010


wow, that wasn't meant to sound like you'd taken/drank a lot, just a small warning for future Googlers, I guess....
posted by MuChao at 7:16 PM on December 24, 2010




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