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Xylazine: Side Effects, Addiction Risk, & FAQs

image depicting xylazine

Xylazine is a medicine used for animals, not meant for humans. It’s causing more people to overdose in the U.S. Often, people use xylazine with other drugs like heroin and fentanyl, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident.

What Is Xylazine?

Xylazine is a strong medicine used in animals as a sedative, anesthetic, muscle relaxant, and painkiller because it calms the central nervous system. It was made in 1962 to help with pain and sleep, and it’s similar to clonidine.

When mixed with heroin or fentanyl, people call it tranq or tranq dope. Xylazine usually comes in a liquid for animal treatment, which can be dried into a powder. Illegal xylazine comes in white or brown powder, so it’s hard to spot when it’s mixed with other drugs or pressed into pills.

Xylazine can be taken in different ways: by injection, snorting, or swallowing. There’s no data yet on people vaping or smoking it. It starts working in minutes and can last for more than 8 hours, depending on the amount, how it’s taken, and if it’s mixed with other drugs like opioids.

Side Effects of Xylazine

Effects of xylazine include:

  • Changes in blood pressure and heart rate
  • Tiredness
  • Dry mouth
  • High blood sugar
  • Body cooling
  • Shallow breathing
  • Coma

People who inject xylazine get soft tissue damage, which may lead to dead tissue, and in some cases amputation. Xylazine can also make people physically dependent, with withdrawal symptoms worse than those from heroin or methadone. These symptoms can include severe chest pain and seizures

When xylazine is mixed with fentanyl or other opioids, it increases the chance of a deadly overdose by making it harder to breathe.

It’s hard to spot overdoses involving xylazine in medical overdoses since they look like opioid overdoses but don’t show up in standard drug tests. There’s no approved antidote for xylazine poisoning in humans, Naloxone, the usual treatment for opioid overdoses, doesn’t work on xylazine. But it can still help with the opioid part of a mixed overdose by improving breathing and preventing life-threatening issues.

image of a conversation representing what is xylazine

Is Xylazine Addictive?

Using xylazine can be very risky because it can lead to addiction. If someone uses the drug, either alone or with other drugs like opioids, they might start depending on it. This means they’ll feel bad when not using it. The chance of xylazine addiction increases if people use it a lot or in large amounts, especially if they use it with other addictive drugs.

Xylazine Withdrawal Treatment

Quitting xylazine can lead to unique symptoms because of its effects. People who stop using xylazine after using it for a long time might feel:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • High blood pressure

The symptoms of xylazine withdrawal are not as well-known as those of other drugs, which makes it hard to recognize and treat them.

Treating xylazine withdrawal requires a broad approach, especially when it happens at the same time as opioid withdrawal. Medical professionals need to be ready to handle both types of withdrawal symptoms, usually in a hospital or inpatient rehab.

Medications that include benzos and clonidine can help ease xylazine withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, high blood pressure, and restlessness.

Treating opioid withdrawal symptoms involves using medicines for opioid addiction or pain relief. This can help ease pain and discomfort and stop xylazine withdrawal symptoms from getting worse.

Besides medicines, other kinds of care are important for xylazine withdrawal. This means checking blood pressure, ensuring people eat and drink enough, and giving emotional support.

Since xylazine and opioid withdrawal can be tough and risky, treatment should ideally be done under the care of experienced medical professionals. This is the safest way to recover, lowering the risk of problems and helping people recover from addiction.

a man celebrating which represents learning about xylazine addiction

Get Treatment for Prescription Medication Withdrawal at Drug Rehabs Centers

If you or someone you care about needs help with prescription drug addiction, finding the right treatment can be hard. Save time by contacting Drug Rehabs Centers in California.

We can help you find detox centers nearby,  so you can start your recovery right. These centers have the medicine and care needed to make the withdrawal process easier and help you break free from addiction. Detox usually takes about a week.

We’ll also help you find trusted rehabs across the state. All the treatment centers we suggest use a mix of proven and holistic therapies to help you move past addiction.

Call 866.559.4256 to get immediate help with addiction in Southern California.

Juan Bonnet
Author: Juan Bonnet

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