What Are Xanax Bars? (Types, Strengths and Risks) | Zinnia Health (2024)

Identifying Xanax Bars (Alprazolam)

Xanax bars are prescription-grade benzodiazepines that come in a variety of strengths. Though Xanax pills are available in any strength — and all are called “bars” — the tablets commonly called “Xanax bars” are 2 mg. These tablets are shaped like bars.

When used as prescribed, Xanax bars provide much-needed relief to those crippled mental health conditions like anxiety disorders and panic attacks. When misused, Xanax bars lead to abuse and addiction.

By learning to identify Xanax pills and following your prescription as directed, you will significantly reduce your risk.

Are you using Xanax without a prescription? CallZinnia Healthat (855) 430-9439 to learn about our inpatient and outpatient programs to tackle benzodiazepine addiction.

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What Are Xanax Bars?

Alprazolam is sold under the brand name Xanax — also called Xanax bars. Xanax is a white crystalline powder compressed into a tablet. This medication belongs to the benzodiazepine class of drugs known as downers.

The downer Xanax binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the central nervous system, slowing activity. This results in the calming effect that makes alprazolam bars helpful in treating mood disorders like anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Though Xanax has a low risk for addiction, it has a high risk for abuse. As such, the Drug Enforcement Administration classed the drug as a Schedule IV-controlled substance.

As with any controlled substance, off-label use or misuse increases the risk of tolerance and addiction. Repeatedly introducing the drug to your system teaches the brain that it needs Xanax to feel good. This is the beginning stage of a substance use disorder.

Xanax is prescribed under medical supervision. If a physician feels that their patient no longer needs Xanax or is forming an addiction to Xanax use, they could refuse to renew the prescription. This makes selling Xanax to addicts a lucrative, albeit illegal, operation.

Common Street Names

Xanax bars are abused on the street for their calming effects. This is of particular interest to addicts that also use uppers like cocaine and meth who purchase Xanax bars on the street. They’ll then take them as is or crush them and snort the powder, as highlighted by the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Black market Xanax is often called:

  • Bricks
  • Benzos
  • Blue footballs
  • Upjohn
  • Z-bars
  • Bars
  • Zanbars
  • Bars
  • Zannies

Illicit Xanax pills aren’t always genuine. Some are fake and contain synthetic chemicals to mimic a Xanax high. Illicit Xanax has a street value of $3 to $5 each.

Synthetic Xanax Pills

There are two forms of Xanax: prescription Xanax and designer Xanax.

In 2020, U.S. Customs and Border Agency officers seized 27 shipments of “designer Xanax,” totaling 35 pounds. A press release statement from The United States Attorney’s Office announced the imprisonment of a man who sold 4.3 million Xanax pills that he purchased online. The man in question received 13 years in prison for his involvement in this illegal operation. Those are just a few counterfeit Xanax seizures highlighting a demand for synthetic Xanax on the streets.

Unlike Legit Xanax, the contents of fake Xanax aren’t always known. These pills could contain some of the same ingredients as Xanax or highly addictive additives like fentanyl.

Identifying Xanax By Color (Types of Xanax Bars)

Xanax pills have different colors, shapes, and markings. Each distinction indicates the strength, manufacturer, and brand name.

White Rectangular Xanax Bars

According to Drug.com’s pill identifier, white Xanax bars are imprinted with the word XANAX on the front and a “2” on the back. This 2 mg rectangular-shaped tablet is multi-scored down the front and back.

Xanax also comes in other forms, including:

White Oval Xanax

White, oval Xanax, display “XANAX 0.25” on the front and a score down the back. The 0.25 on the front indicates a strength of 0.25 mg. Doctors prescribe a starting dose of 0.25 mg three times per day for patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Smaller doses like are also recommended for geriatric patients.

Orange Oval Xanax

Orange, oval Xanax provides 0.5 mg of the drug. This pill displays the word Xanax on the front and 0.5 beneath. Like other Xanax pills, this pill is scored down the back. People with panic disorder start with a prescription of 0.5 mg Xanax pills three times per day.

Blue Oval Xanax

Blue Xanax pills are 1 mg and oval shaped with “XANAX 1” engraved on the front and a line down the back. These are known as blue Xanax bars on the streets.

Oddly-shaped Xanax Pills

The above listed are commonly sold on the streets. However, the same milligrams can look completely different.

Here are a few examples:

  • White five-sided — white five-sided Xanax pills indicate a strength of 0.5 mg. This pill has a 0.5 on the front and the letter X on the back.
  • Yellow square — yellow four-sided Xanax pills indicate a strength of 1 mg. This pill has a number 1 on the front and an X on the back.
  • Blue circle — Blue circular Xanax pills have a strength of 2 mg. This pill has a two on the front and an X on the back.
  • Green three-sided — Green Xanax has strength of 3 mg. It has a three on the front and an X on the back.

If you or a loved one has an addiction to Xanax bars, it’s not too late to quit. Quitting may seem unattainable, but withZinnia Healthtreatment centers, recovery is possible. Call our experts at (855) 430-9439 to learn about our addiction treatment programs.

Safety Tips for Xanax Bar Use

If you are prescribed Xanax bars for anxiety or another mood disorder, it is important to take them as directed. Misuse in any way can trigger uncomfortable side effects and even toxicity.

Follow these guidelines for safe use:

  • Follow the Prescription. The number one cause of benzodiazepine abuse and addiction is misuse. To minimize your risk of benzodiazepine addiction and to properly treat your condition, take the amount prescribed only.
  • Do not double up doses. Do not double up doses if you skip a dose or forget to take it on time. MedlinePlus guides Xanax users to take their missed dose as soon as they remember — unless it’s close to the time of the next dose. If it’s too close to the next dose, skip it completely and resume your regular schedule the following day.
  • Be sure you’re taking the right milligram. One way to tell if you’re taking the right milligram pill is to identify the markings on the pill and the color of the pill. Contact your healthcare provider or pharmacy if the color and identifying markers do not match the milligrams you were prescribed. Do not take the pills.
  • Do not increase your dose.Use your prescription as directed. If you feel it isn’t working, contact your healthcare provider to discuss increasing the dose or using an alternative medication. Do not increase the dose on your own.

Xanax Bar Risks

As with any benzodiazepine, long-term use or abuse comes with the risk of developing a substance use disorder. Substance use disorder is marked by a constant need to take a drug despite no longer needing it or experiencing negative effects.

The latter stage of Xanax abuse is addiction. A person who has an addiction to Xanax may lie or steal to get more of the drug, even resorting to purchasing it on the streets.

Common symptoms and signs of benzodiazepine addiction include:

  • Inability to function without Xanax
  • Physical discomfort when reducing or quitting Xanax (withdrawal symptoms)
  • Higher tolerance for Xanax
  • Using opioids along with Xanax to amplify its effects

If addiction isn’t addressed right away, the risk of overdose increases.

Xanax Overdose

Xanax has an elimination half-life of 11.2 hours, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is the time it takes for a prescribed dose of Xanax to decrease in your bloodstream by half. At this rate, it would take 22.4 hours for one Xanax pill to fully exit your system.

When you take more Xanax than prescribed, your liver cannot process the amount, and it builds up in the bloodstream. This causes symptoms of benzodiazepine toxicity, which can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of alprazolam overdose (benzodiazepine toxicity) include:

  • Confusion
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Drowsiness
  • Coma

Alprazolam overdose is only treatable by a medical professional in a hospital setting. The patient will require IV fluids and medications to reverse the effects of this overdose.

Getting Help for Xanax Addiction

Xanax addiction can take over your life. As a downer, Xanax has a sedation effect that can leave the user exhausted and unable to perform daily functions like working or exercising. People with Xanax addiction may live in a stupor, unable to enjoy time with family or friends.

Even if you’ve tried to quit and developed uncomfortable Xanax withdrawal symptoms, it isn’t too late to reclaim the life you once had.

If you’re ready to take the first step towards a drug-free life, contactZinnia Health.

Our comprehensive approach to alprazolam addiction includes detox, one-on-one therapy, group sessions, and holistic activities. Together, these programs isolate triggers and provide healthy alternatives to drug-seeking behaviors. Our operators are standing by 24/7 at (855) 430-9439 to answer any questions you have about our recovery centers.

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What Are Xanax Bars? (Types, Strengths and Risks) | Zinnia Health (2024)


What are the negative health effects of Xanax? ›

Side Effects
  • Being forgetful.
  • changes in patterns and rhythms of speech.
  • clumsiness or unsteadiness.
  • difficulty with coordination.
  • discouragement.
  • drowsiness.
  • feeling sad or empty.
  • lack of appetite.

Is Xanax a high risk drug? ›

Alprazolam has a risk for abuse and addiction, which can lead to overdose and death. Taking this medication with alcohol or other drugs that can cause drowsiness or breathing problems (especially opioid medications such as codeine, hydrocodone) may cause very serious side effects, including death.

Do Xanax bars help with anxiety? ›

Xanax bars are also informally known as “zanies” or “planks.” As mentioned earlier, Xanax bars are used to treat anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety.

What type of drug is Xanax? ›

Xanax is a prescription medication in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines (benzos). While not a narcotic (opioid) itself, it's possible it may be prescribed along with opioids, but this can be harmful. Xanax is typically prescribed to relieve anxiety disorders, panic attacks or depression.

Does Xanax have any health benefits? ›

In addition to treating acute anxiety and panic attacks, Xanax can act as a muscle relaxant and sedative. However, these are off-label uses. Off-label use means that the drug may be of benefit, but this is not its approved function. People may notice that Xanax affects the mind.

Does Xanax affect your kidneys? ›

Long-term benzodiazepine misuse is associated with potential cardiac problems, including blood pressure issues, heartbeat irregularities, and an increased potential for heart attack and stroke. Other organ systems, such as the liver and kidneys, can be damaged by chronic misuse of Xanax and polysubstance misuse.

Who should avoid Xanax? ›

You should not take alprazolam if: you also take antifungal medicine such as itraconazole or ketoconazole; or. you have a history of allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine (alprazolam, lorazepam, diazepam, Ativan, Valium, Versed, Klonopin, and others).

Who should not be prescribed Xanax? ›

You should not take Xanax if you have shown sensitivity to other benzos such as Valium and Ativan, have narrow-angle glaucoma, or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Alert your health care provider if you have liver problems, as there is a risk that Xanax may build up in your system and lead to overdose or heavy sedation.

Do doctors still prescribe Xanax? ›

Xanax for Anxiety Disorders

This medication is widely prescribed in the United States. Still, since it's a prescription drug, you cannot get it from any pharmacy without a verified prescription from a licensed medical professional.

What is the maximum milligrams of Xanax per day? ›

Your doctor may increase your daily dosage depending on your body's response to the drug. They may adjust your dose over time, typically increasing it by no more than 1 mg every 3 to 4 days. Xanax prescribing information reports a maximum dosage of Xanax as 10 mg daily.

Can you take a whole Xanax bar? ›

Some take an entire Xanax bar, which can create irritability, aggression, and hyperactive behavior. More symptoms may follow, like chest pain, low blood pressure, and drowsiness.

Is 1 mg of Xanax a lot? ›

Is 1 mg of Xanax a Lot? A normal starting dose of Xanax is 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg, but it may be up to 1 mg depending on what it is being used for. In unusual cases, people may be increased to doses as high as 10 mg per day, although this is not taken all at once.

What is the most common side effect of Xanax? ›

Xanax Effects

The most common adverse effects of alprazolam include impaired coordination, low blood pressure, difficulty speaking, and increased libido. Additional adverse effects of Xanax include: Decreased mental alertness.

What is a Xanax equivalent to? ›

Benzodiazepine Equivalency
Approximately Equivalent Oral Doses, mgHalf-life, hours
Alprazolam (Xanax)0.5–112
Bromazepam (Lexotan)*3–620
Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)10–25100
Clonazepam (Klonopin)0.25–0.534
10 more rows
Feb 21, 2024

What is Xanax equal to? ›

Benzodiazepine equivalency tables state that 0.5mg of alprazolam (Xanax) is approximately equivalent to 1mg lorazepam (Ativan).

What is the best drug to replace Xanax? ›

The following are some of the most common alternatives to alprazolam.
  • Klonopin.
  • Zoloft.
  • Cymbalta.
  • Buspirone.
  • Vistaril.
Jun 11, 2023

Is it bad to take alprazolam every night? ›

If you use alprazolam frequently — even if only as a sleep aid — and suddenly stop, you may experience symptoms like anxiety, difficulty concentrating, poor memory, sleep issues and others.

Why is Xanax banned in the UK? ›

There is a serious risk of harm from the misuse of Xanax. Its long-term use can lead to dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms if use is stopped suddenly. There have been reports in the UK of recreational misuse of Xanax among young people.


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