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What are Xanax Bars? Side Effects and Overdose Risk

Last Updated: December 20, 2022

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Xanax, the brand name for the benzodiazepine alprazolam, can come in several different dosage forms, including a Xanax bar. Xanax bars can come in many colors with different imprints. Knowing how to identify them is important if you or a loved one take the drug.

What Is a Xanax Bar?

A Xanax bar is a type of Xanax oral tablet. Different types of Xanax tablets exist — while many are oval-shaped, some are rectangular and bar-shaped. Xanax bars contain score marks, so they can be broken into smaller doses.

What Do Xanax Bars Look Like?

Xanax bars are rectangular and can be in different colors. An entire bar contains 2 mg of the active drug alprazolam unless it is counterfeit. This is true regardless of the manufacturer. Xanax bars are scored so they can be split into smaller doses, specifically, four 0.5 mg pieces or two 1 mg pieces.

White Xanax Bars

White Xanax bars are imprinted with “XANAX” on one side and “2” on the other. White Xanax bars are the only alprazolam product actually sold under the brand name Xanax, which Pfizer owns.

Blue Xanax Bars

Blue Xanax bars contain alprazolam but are a generic drug not sold under the brand name Xanax. Instead, Breckenridge Pharmaceutical produces them. They are imprinted with “B707” on one side with no imprint on the other.

Yellow Xanax Bars

Yellow Xanax bars are sometimes called “school buses” because of their color. They are a generic drug not sold under the brand name Xanax. Rather, the drug company Actavis manufactures them. They are imprinted with “R039” on one side, with the R written in a looped cursive style. The drug’s other side has no imprint.

Green Xanax Bars

Green Xanax bars are sometimes called “hulks” because of their color, a reference to the green-skinned Incredible Hulk in the Marvel entertainment universe. They are not sold under the brand name Xanax but are a generic equivalent manufactured by Dava Pharmaceuticals. They are imprinted with “S903” on one side and have no imprint on the other.

Red Xanax Bars

Red Xanax bars are counterfeit and contain a much higher than expected amount of the active drug alprazolam. These bars, believed to contain the equivalent of 5 mg of Xanax, are nicknamed “Red Devils” and sometimes imprinted with XANAX on one side and “R666” on the other. Because they are counterfeit, it is impossible to be sure of their ingredients, only that they are not legitimate alprazolam products.

How Many MG Is a Xanax Bar

All legitimate Xanax bars contain a total of 2 mg of the active drug alprazolam. The bars are scored so they can be broken into four pieces of 0.5 mg each or two pieces of 1 mg each. 

Street Names for Xanax Bars

Xanax bars have many common street names, many referring to the drug’s color or shape. These include:

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

Xanax Side Effects 

Like all drugs, Xanax has some side effects. These can be especially pronounced when the drug is misused. Common Xanax side effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness
  • Memory problems
  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Feeling sluggish
  • Problems concentrating
  • Sleeping for unusually long periods

Xanax Bar Addiction and Abuse

As a Schedule IV controlled substance, Xanax carries a risk of abuse, addiction and dependence. Some signs of Xanax addiction include:

  • Taking more Xanax than intended or for a longer time than intended
  • Previous unsuccessful efforts to stop or cut back on Xanax
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using or recovering from Xanax
  • Cravings for Xanax
  • Xanax use interferes with obligations at work, school or home
  • Interpersonal or social problems caused by Xanax use
  • Stopping social or recreational activities due to Xanax
  • Using Xanax even when it is physically dangerous to do so
  • Taking Xanax even though you know doing so is harmful to you
  • Needing increasing doses of Xanax to achieve the same effects as before
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking Xanax

To minimize the risk of addiction, it is important only to take Xanax prescribed to you and to take it exactly as prescribed. Do not take the drug more often or at a higher dose than your doctor tells you. Doing so can increase your risk of addiction and overdose.

Xanax Overdose Risk

It is possible to overdose on Xanax. Since the drug is a central nervous system depressant, it slows down brain and body function. Sometimes, this can lead to dangerous or life-threatening effects. Possible signs of a Xanax overdose include:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Coordination problems
  • Decreased reflexes
  • Slowed breathing
  • Unresponsiveness

These effects are even more dangerous when Xanax is mixed with other central nervous system depressants like opioids. For this reason, the FDA has a boxed warning about taking Xanax with opioids. Combining them can increase the risk of overdose and death. In 2020 alone, 16% of overdose deaths from opioids also involved a benzo like Xanax, and more than 1,200 fatal Xanax overdoses occurred.

If you think someone may be overdosing on Xanax, you should call 911 right away. Seeking emergency medical attention can save their life.

Xanax Addiction Treatment in Columbus, OH 

If you or a loved one is addicted to Xanax, help is available. The Recovery Village Columbus offers medical detox and rehab programs to get you off Xanax for good. Our medical detox program safely weans you off Xanax and helps you avoid withdrawal symptoms. Following detox, our rehab program ensures you have the tools to stay off Xanax for good. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help.


Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.