My Loved One Committed Suicide While Taking Xanax January 21, 2013.

A Xanax prescription may be dangerous if not taken properly or adequately overseen by a medical professional. From mood swings and confusion to hallucinations and suicidal thoughts, the drug can have varied and potentially serious and life-threatening consequences.

While a report in Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry notes that 71.9 percent of patients prescribed alprazolam (of which Xanax is a brand name) see an improvement in their depression and suicidal ideation, it may be possible for the drug to contribute to thoughts of suicide in some patients.

The report describes one such case in which a woman who’d never thought about killing herself began considering it. The case report found "high probability … that alprazolam contributed to the emergence of suicidal thoughts in this patient."

If you believe a loved one killed him- or herself as a result of taking Xanax, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim, depending on the following factors.

  • Dosage errors – The drug is prescribed in highly sensitive situations, such as when a patient suffers from extreme anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation. If a doctor prescribes the wrong dose, his or her mistake could worsen the patient’s symptoms. If a patient commits suicide while taking the drug, and a medical expert determines that the dose was insufficient or excessive, this may be considered grounds for a prescription error claim.
  • The care provided to the patient – As Xanax is prescribed in serious instances, it is important that doctors educate the patient about potential adverse side effects and conduct regular reassessments to ensure the medication is working as intended. A doctor’s failure to provide proper oversight could constitute negligence.
  • The patient’s mental health – If, like the woman in the study mentioned earlier, the patient never considered suicide in the past, then it may be inferred that the drug contributed to a worsening of his or her condition. If, however, the patient had a long history of suicidal thoughts, it may be difficult to prove that the drug played a role in his or her death.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

If your loved one committed suicide while taking Xanax, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim and pursue compensation for pain and suffering as well as costs you’ve incurred, such as:

  • medical bills;
  • lost income;
  • funeral and burial expenses; and
  • punitive damages.

If you think this drug contributed to your loved one’s suicide, contact our dangerous drug attorneys today for a free consultation.