Halcion and Xanax: Similarities and Differences


Any drug, no matter how helpful it can be, poses certain risks. Xanax and Halcion, both powerful prescription drugs, have a strong potential for misuse and addiction. Learning more about them and how to avoid exacerbating their dangers is important.

What Are The Similarities Between Halcion and Xanax?

Both of these drugs fall into the benzodiazepine category. Other kinds of benzos are lorazepam,

temazepam and clonazepam. Benzodiazepines are depressants often prescribed for anxiety issues, seizures, insomnia and as a muscle relaxant. Clinicians may also use them in other ways, such as for sedation or anesthesia.

These drugs influence gamma-aminobutyric acid , a neurotransmitter that decreases activity in your nervous system and produces calming effects. When taken with medical guidance, benzos may help improve people’s health and quality of life. However, there’s always the risk of adverse effects, including:

  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Tremors
  • Hypotension
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion and agitation
  • Memory problems
  • Depression
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Respiratory depression
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lightheadedness
  • Coordination impairment

The likelihood of different adverse effects depends on multiple factors, including the type of benzodiazepine you’re using, the dosage, other drugs you’re taking, and your overall medical and psychological health. When used regularly, benzodiazepines can generate a strong physical dependence, and they have the potential to become addictive.

Doctors try to reduce the risk of addiction by prescribing the right doses recommended usage for a relatively short time. They also warn against abruptly stopping benzodiazepine use. The potential for severe withdrawal symptoms means that patients have to reduce the amount and frequency of the drug gradually.

In general, people are at the greatest risk of addiction and other serious adverse effects when one or more of the following is true:

  • They’re taking the drug for too long a period of time or using it in other unsafe ways against the doctor’s medical advice. Maybe they aren’t following a doctor’s instructions, or maybe they’re taking it without any prescription at all.
  • They use the drug with alcohol, opioids, or other medications that may have drug interactions with benzodiazepines like antidepressants. These dangerous combinations may result in coma or death.
  • They’ve developed a dependence on the drug and face serious and sometimes life-threatening withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking it. Benzodiazepines are notorious for the potential severity and longevity of their withdrawal symptoms. Medically supervised withdrawal at a reputable treatment center is highly recommended.

Halcion vs Xanax: What Are Their Differences?

Primary Use

Xanax is a popular brand name for alprazolam, a benzodiazepine typically prescribed for mental health problems like anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Halcion is a brand name for triazolam, which is primarily used for insomnia, including problems with falling asleep and staying asleep.

Quickness and Duration of Effects

Both Xanax and Halcion have high potency and can act quickly on the brain and body. But alprazolam is classified in some scientific sources as an intermediate-acting drug, while triazolam is considered a short-acting drug. Triazolam may affect your central nervous system (CNS) and body quickly, and it may take less time to leave your system.

In their standard forms, neither of these drugs is a long-acting benzodiazepine. When a drug isn’t long-acting, people may take more frequent doses of it to sustain its effects. The risk of abuse or dependence may be higher.

For Xanax, there’s an extended-release version that does get absorbed and broken down more slowly by the body. People who take extended-release Xanax may need only one dose per day, not a few daily doses. However, the long-acting version still isn’t free from the risk of addiction, especially if it’s taken for a long time or misused.

Likelihood of Abuse or Addiction

Which drug may prove more addictive depends on multiple factors. For example, what’s the frequency of use? Someone may have started taking Xanax regularly to ease their social anxiety, but maybe they’ve taken Halcion only once to help them fall asleep. A regular exposure to Xanax may increase the chances that they’ll start misusing the drug and develop a physical dependence on it, that is considered substance abuse already.

The likelihood of misuse or addiction can be affected by something as simple as easy access to the drug. Someone may have an easier time obtaining Xanax by purchasing it illegally or stealing pills from family or friends.

People may also continue abusing a drug if it doesn’t initially hit them with unpleasant side effects. For example, if somebody tries both Halcion and Xanax, they may keep using the one that doesn’t leave them with nausea, dry mouth, or headaches. Reactions to each drug can be highly individualized and difficult to predict.

For both Halcion and Xanax, short-term use is strongly recommended to reduce the chances of developing an addiction. The recommendation for Halcion is to avoid taking it for more than a week to 10 days at a time. For Xanax, dependence on the drug can develop after only a few weeks of use. Withdrawal from Xanax is especially infamous for its potential severity and persistence of symptoms.

How does a person get addicted to Xanax or Halcion? This is due to continued use and a person developing tolerance to the drug. The more they take these drugs, they build up tolerance and end up needing larger doses to take more to achieve the desired effect.

Bans in Other Countries

Back in 1991, the U.K. banned Halcion. This move, which was considered controversial, arose from concerns over reports and allegations of severe side effects, including paranoia, memory loss, depression and increased suicidal thoughts. Because of the availability of similar drugs that are safer, Halcion wasn’t deemed necessary for the U.K. marketplace. However, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the drug.

Can Halcion and Xanax Be Taken Together?

Before taking any medications together, you need to consult with a doctor. Various medications interact poorly, and benzodiazepines are especially dangerous in combination with other substances, including certain prescription drugs.

Combining Halcion and Xanax may increase the number and intensity of various side effects, such as confusion, dizziness, and poor motor coordination.

Contact Long Island Treatment Center

If you’re struggling with benzodiazepine abuse or addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Whether the drug is Xanax, Halcion, Diazepam (Valium), Ativan, Klonopin, barbiturates, or something else, we’ll provide you with support during every stage of recovery, including withdrawal.

You deserve compassionate, personalized care delivered by trained and experienced healthcare professionals. Don’t look for an addiction treatment center elsewhere, Long Island Treatment Center is here for you. We are one of the best treatment programs in the country whether be it for substance abuse disorder or alcohol dependency. You can contact us today via online chat or by calling us.


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Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Long Island Treatment Center