ZocdocAnswersHow does Xanax affect one's intestines?

Question

How does Xanax affect one's intestines?

Is it true that Xanax can have a deleterious effect on your digestion? I've just been prescribed Xanax by my doctor for a sleeping disorder, but I also have IBS. If the Xanax is likely to interfere with my IBS management strategy, I won't use it. What is the standard for situations like this?

Answer

Alprazolam (Xanax) is a medication that is commonly used in the management of anxiety disorders, including anxiety disorders that have a significant component of insomnia, which is likely your situation. Alprazolam can have some side effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Some of the more common gastrointestinal side effects of alprazolam include constipation, increased or decreased appetite, and dry mouth. I do not think, however, that taking the alprazolam is likely to worsen your irritable bowel syndrome. In fact, as you may know, irritable bowel syndrome has a significant stress and anxiety component, and many irritable bowel syndrome flares are triggered by times of increased anxiety or stress. Therefore, it is likely that taking the alprazolam, which will decrease your anxiety and help with your sleep, may actually improve your overall irritable bowel syndrome control. If you try the medication for a while and find that it does not help your anxiety or sleep, or if you find that it does indeed make your irritable bowel syndrome symptoms worse, then you can always work with your doctor to pick a different medicine. I recommend that you talk with your primary care doctor or the gastroenterologist who manages your irritable bowel syndrome about this issue.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.