Can You Take Xanax On An Empty Stomach?

Alprazolam, also known as Xanax, is a benzodiazepine that is commonly used to treat panic disorders and anxiety, per Medical News Today. A controlled substance, Xanax runs the risk of patients either misusing the drug or becoming dependent on it. Because of this, your doctor may start you on a lower dose, preferably the lowest possible dose that produces the right effect. To do this, your physician may even adjust your dose as often as every three or four days until the effects are right. 

A lot of medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and certain antibiotics, should be taken with food, according to GoodRx. This can either mitigate potential side effects or promote absorption of the drug in the body. In contrast, medications like Xanax are ok — and might be advisable — to take on an empty stomach, explains Wholesome Alive. Benzodiazepines are lipid-soluble, which means that they can compete with food for absorption when both reach the intestine. As a result, taking Xanax on a full stomach may cause a delay in the medication's effects — though this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Let's dig in further.

There are pros and cons to taking Xanax on an empty stomach

Although it may be more beneficial to take Xanax on an empty stomach in order to get the swiftest effect from the medication, that doesn't mean that you must avoid eating beforehand.  According to a 2007 study published in Pharmacology, taking Xanax either while eating or right after a meal does not affect the amount of medication absorbed into the body. However, there was a decrease in the rate of absorption, which might in some cases be desirable. 

Indeed, there are some potential risks of taking Xanax on an empty stomach, notes Wholesome Alive. When the medication is absorbed quickly into your body, it can leave equally quickly. Over time, this can cause you to build up a tolerance, requiring more and more of the drug to be effective and leading to the potential for addiction. It could also cause the lining of the stomach to become irritated, lead to ulcers, indigestion, and acid reflux. If you experience any of these side effects while taking Xanax, be sure to contact your doctor immediately. 

What constitutes an empty stomach?

In addition to the potential risks posed by introducing Xanax to your body before eating, there are some food interactions that you should be aware of (via Grapefruit juice, for example, should be avoided while taking Xanax, as the juice can impact the enzymes in the liver that break the drug down. In turn, this can increase the concentration of Xanax in your bloodstream, thereby exacerbating the drug's side effects, including confusion and drowsiness. In addition, according to Medindia, taking Xanax with Kava could also increase drowsiness. 

While taking Xanax on an empty stomach is effective due to the increase in absorption rate, you may wonder what actually qualifies as "empty"? In general, you should look to take your medication either one hour before a meal or two hours after. However, you should consult with your doctor as to what he or she recommends in terms of when and how to take this medication.