More than 40 million adults have been diagnosed with and suffer from an anxiety disorder. If you are one of them, then you very probably have, at some point, been prescribed benzodiazepines (benzos). Benzos are typically prescribed for their anti-anxiety effects and as sleep aids, with the most commonly prescribed including Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, and Xanax. Out of all of these, Xanax is the most popular and widely prescribed.
Even though benzodiazepines have been widely used since the 1970s, there is still a lot of uncertainty and controversy that surrounds the possibility of extremely serious potential side effects such as cancer. A lot of studies have been conducted in order to establish a definite link between long-term benzo use and cancer, but the results of these studies often contradict each other. While some studies have found a link, others have not, and more still have found links to only specific kinds of cancer or that only certain types of benzos seem to increase somebody’s chances of developing cancer.
Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam and is an extremely powerful and fast-acting central nervous system depressant. It is intended only for short-term use due to how quickly a person is able to build up a tolerance to its effects and become dependent. Xanax binds to the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which slows down nerve cell activity. GABA is a neurotransmitter that blocks nerve signals which trigger feelings of anxiety, stress, and fear, from reaching the brain. Xanax essentially activates the GABA receptors and stimulates them into flooding the brain with GABA, thus producing a feeling of sedation and relaxation. The effectiveness of Xanax lessens long-term as the GABA receptors become more difficult to activate, to the point where the brain is unable to produce GABA on its own and becomes dependent on Xanax to provide it. Due to this, it can take more and more Xanax to produce the same desired effect, which may cause the user to begin abusing it and become physically and psychologically dependent.
Xanax is very useful when it comes to dealing with the often debilitating effects of anxiety and various sleep disorders- however, the dosage and length of use requires strict monitoring in order to avoid the high potential of abuse and addiction that comes with it. Besides the addictive potential, the long-term effects of Xanax (along with benzos in general), have been found to have a number of negative side effects, such as depression and memory problems. After many studies over the course of more than three decades, the clearest answer to whether or not Xanax causes cancer, unfortunately, is maybe. In 1982, an early study by the American Cancer Society found an increased risk of cancer among users of not only benzos but sleep aids in general, but a lot of follow-up studies were unable to replicate the observations and show a
clear link between the two. It is difficult to find conclusive proof because there are more than 2,000 different kinds of benzos and many types and forms of cancer. The cancers most frequently linked to long-term benzo use include brain, lung, prostate, and bladder. Moreover a lot of other studies have also found no significant association between breast, ovarian, cervical, and stomach cancer.
If you believe that the use of Xanax may have contributed to you getting cancer, call Madalon Law for a consultation today.