An Overview of Xanax (ALPRAZOLAM): Uses, Side Effects, Dosage & Precautions

What is Xanax

Introduction of Xanax

Xanax is a brand name which belongs to a class of medications called Benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines acts on brain and nerves or the central nervous system. It produces a calming effect.It works by enhancing the effects of certain natural chemical in the body which is called Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is an amino acid which is produced naturally in the brain. It functions as a neurotransmitter, facilitating communication among brain cells.

Xanax generic name is Alprazolam. Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. This is the sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme fear and worry about the attacks. Alprazolam decreases the abnormal excitement in the brain.

What is Xanax and its Classification?

Xanax (Generic name: Alprazolam) is an anti-anxiety medication that belongs in benzodiazepine drug family. This anti-anxiety medicine, Xanax classification, is in the same family of diazepam, lorazepam, flurazepam, clonazepam, and others. Alprazolam and other benzodiazepines boost the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is an amino acid that is used as a neurotransmitter that prevents activity in the brain. Neurotransmitter is a chemical that nerve cells used for communication with each other. It is believed that too much activity in the brain may cause anxiety or nervousness or other psychiatric conditions. In October 1981, FDA approved alprazolam.

Xanax is one of the most usuallyprescribed for drug abuse medication. As Xanax is classed as a benzodiazepine, it isused as sedatives or tranquilizers that depress the central nervous system. Generally, Xanax prescription is for treatment of anxiety disorders. It is prescribed to treat anxiety disorders, panic attacks, and insomnia. It is a central nervous system depressant because it slows normal brain function. However, abuse of this drug can lead easily to Xanax addiction. For cases of addiction one should seek professional help, treatment or drug rehab program.

XANAX is a brand name with generic name of alprazolam. Alprazolam which is a triazolo analog of the 1, 4 benzodiazepine class of central nervous system-active compounds.8-Chloro-1-methyl-6-phenyl-4H-s-triazolo [4, 3-α] [1, 4] benzodiazepine is the chemical name of alprazolam.

Alprazolam is a white crystalline powder, which has no appreciable solubility in water at physiological pH butis soluble in methanol or ethanol. XANAX pills or tablets which is taken orally, contains 0.25, 0.5, 1 or 2 mg of alprazolam.

Cellulose, corn starch, docusate sodium, lactose, magnesium stearate, silicon dioxide and sodium benzoate are the inactive ingredients of Xanax. Moreover, the 0.5 mg tablet contains FD&C Yellow No. 6 and the 1 mg tablet contains FD&C Blue No. 2.

How Does Xanax Work?

Xanax druggives fast relief of anxiety symptoms commonly seen in SAD and other anxiety disorders. So what does Xanax do? It works particularly by binding to GABA receptors in your brain. GABA is an amino acid which is produced naturally in the brain. It works as a neurotransmitterfacilitating communication among brain cells. Neurotransmitter is a chemical that nerve cells used for communication with each other. It is believed that too much activity in the brain may cause anxiety or nervousness or other psychiatric conditions. This slows down neuron activity or your brain activity. This results of reducing anxiety, fear, and feelings of terror. This might also leave you feeling drowsy, calm, and peaceful. The climax effects of taking Xanax occur within 1-2 hours of taking the drug, and it will wear off in about 11 hours normally.

Xanax drug will not lastingly treat your anxiety. However, it helps to lessen your symptoms often so that you can better involve yourself in other forms of treatment, like psychotherapy. It will give you some instant relief if you are suffering from relentless attacks of anxiety because Xanax starts working promptly.It is liable to treat symptoms you experience that come on suddenly. Hence, doctors give Xanax for your prescription. This isnot a long-term treatment alternative, but rather a short-term solution to panic or anxiety that you experience in particularcircumstances.

What is Xanax Used For?

Xanax is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Xanax is also used for treating anxiety linked with panic attacks. It is also used to control anxiety disorder or the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety or nervousness associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not entail treatment. Panic attacks happen either unexpectedly or in certain situation, and can need higher dosages of Xanax.

Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by unrealistic or extreme anxiety and worry about two or more life situation, for a period of 6 months or longer, during which the person has been troubled more days than not by these concerns.

What are other Xanax uses? Xanax is also used toprescribe for the medication of panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia, and may lessen the number of panic attacks incident. Agoraphobia is the extreme or irrational fear of entering open or crowded places, of leaving one's own home, or of being in places from which escape is difficult.

Xanax Anxiety Disorder
Xanax Anxiety Disorder

How Is Xanax Used to Treat Social Anxiety Disorder?

  • Unrealistic worry and apprehension
  • Symptoms of restlessness
  • Aches
  • Trembling
  • Shortness of breath
  • Smothering sensation
  • Palpitations
  • Sweating
  • Cold clammy hands
  • Lightheadedness
  • Flushing
  • Exaggerated startle responses
  • Problems concentrating
  • Insomnia

Panic disorder is described by regular panic attacks. Panic attacks are fairly short periods of extreme fear or uneasiness where four or more of the following indications build up all of a sudden and reach a peak within 10 minutes:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Sensations of shortness of breath or smothering
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or uneasiness
  • vomiting or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Derealization (feelings of unreality) or depersonalization (being detached from oneself)
  • Fear of losing control
  • Fear of dying
  • Paresthesia (numbness or tingling sensations)
  • Chills or hot flushes

How should I take Xanax?

Xanax comes in form of tablet, an extended-release tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet (tablet that dissolves quickly in the mouth), and a concentrated solution (liquid) to take by mouth.

Xanax taken orally must be followed as prescribed by a doctor. Dosage is based on the following factors:

  • Reason why it is being taken
  • the patient's age
  • how they react to medication

Normally, daily Xanax dosage prescribed by the physician will meet the needs of most patients, some will require doses greater than 4 mg/day. In such circumstance, dosage should be increased carefully to avoid undesirable effects.

For patients with anxiety, medication should begin with a dose of 0.25 to 0.5 mg, and must be taken three (3) times a day. The dose may be increased to achieve a highest therapeutic result, at intervals of 3 to 4 days, to a maximum daily dose of 4 mg, taken in divided doses. The lowest probablesuccessfuldosage should be impose, however, if there is need forcontinuousmedication, it must be reassessed regularly. Is Xanax addictive? Yes. The risk of dependence may increase with dose and period of medication.

The successful medication of many patients with panic disorder has required doses greater than 4 mg daily of XANAX. In controlled testsperformed,doses in the range of 1 to 10 mg daily were used to set up the effectiveness of XANAX in panic disorder. The mean dosage used was roughly 5 to 6 mg daily.

Symptoms of Withdrawal
Symptoms of Withdrawal

What happens if I miss a Xanax dose?

If you miss a dose, take the missed Xanax dose as almost immediately as you remember. But if you take numerous doses per day and miss a dose and it’s almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and carry on your usual dosing schedule. Do not take an additional dose to make up or catch up for a missed dose.Always follow the instruction of your physician to avoid misuse or overdose from medicine. To keep in track with your medicine intake, make a timetable or reminder that is easy to be notice. Or you can use alarm clock to keep in track of the schedule.An overdose of alprazolam can be deadly.

When dosage decrease takes place for any grounds, withdrawal reactions may arise. This includes determinedlessening, but also unintentionaldecrease of dose such as the patient forgets, the patient is admitted to a hospital. Consequently, the dosage of XANAX should be decreased or discontinued slowly.

Even after somewhat short-term use at the doses suggested for the treatment of transient anxiety and anxiety disorder like 0.75 to 4.0 mg per day, there is some danger of dependence. Certain unfavorable clinical events, some life-threatening, are a direct result of physical dependence to XANAX. Some patients have experienced great difficulty in reduction and discontinue from XANAX, particularly those getting higher doses for extended periods. Addiction-prone individual should be under careful supervision when receiving XANAX. As with all anxiolytics, repeat prescriptions should be restricted to those who are under medical supervision. Xanax information must be well read first and known before you start taking the medicine.

Xanax Overdose and Its Symptoms, Signs, Effects

The indications or signs of overdose may include: severe drowsiness, slowed/reduced reflexes, slowed breathing, loss of consciousness.Call a poison control center or emergency room immediately in case an overdose is suspected or it actually occur. Seek proper help immediately in the event that there is assumed Xanax overdose symptoms.

Furthermore, sharing or distributing of this medicine with others ispunishable by the law.Laboratory and/or medical tests like liver function tests should be performed regularly to monitor your development or test out for side effects.For more details consult your doctor.

To avoid overdose, always follow the instruction of your physician. Take only the medicine that is prescribed. Also, this will also keep you from addiction to the medicine. Keeping track of your medicine intake in controlled manner will most likely achieve the treatment you are trying to attain or accomplished. Keep and store your medicines properly. Keep all medications away from children and pets.Store at room temperature away from light and moisture. Avoid keeping your medicines in the bathroom.Be cautious in discarding or throwing your expired medicine. Appropriately dispose of this product when it is expired or no longer required.Unless instructed to do so, avoid flushing medications down the toilet or pouring them into a drain. Seek your pharmacist or local waste disposal company.

Side effects of Xanax

In the event that side effects to XANAX Tablet occurs, it isusuallynoticed at the beginning of treatment and usually disappear upon continuoustreatment. The most common side effects in ausual patient are likely to be an extension of the pharmacological activity of alprazolam, such as drowsiness or lightheadedness.

Here are the most common side effects of Xanax:

  • drowsiness
  • light-headedness
  • headache
  • tiredness
  • dizziness
  • irritability
  • talkativeness
  • difficulty concentrating
  • dry mouth
  • increased salivation
  • changes in sex drive or ability
  • nausea
  • constipation
  • changes in appetite
  • weight changes
  • difficulty urinating
  • joint pain

The following symptoms are uncommon and can be serious side effects. In any case you experience any of them, call your doctor or seek help immediately:

Side Effects of Xanax
Side Effects of Xanax

  • shortness of breath
  • seizures
  • seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
  • severe skin rash
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • depression
  • memory problems
  • confusion
  • problems with speech
  • unusual changes in behavior or mood
  • thinking about harming or killing yourself or trying to do so
  • problems with coordination or balance

To lessen dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a seated or lying position.Consult and tell your doctor or pharmacist immediately, if any of these side effects continue or worsen.Most of the people prescribed by this medication do not have serious side effects.Keep in mind that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has assessed that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects.

Inform your doctor immediatelyifthese serious side effects manifest: mental/mood shifts (such as hallucinations, ideas of suicide), incoherent speech or difficulty in speaking, lack of coordination, trouble walking, and memory problems. If yellowing eyes or skin, seizures occurs, seek medical help immediately. These are rare but very serious side effects.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug might occur. This is a rare case. However, if you detect any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, such as rash, itching/swelling (especially of theface/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathingget medical help immediately.

This is not a thorough list of potential side effects. Contact your doctor or pharmacist if you observe other side effects not listed above.

During your medication with alprazolam, do not drink alcohol or use street drugs. These will increase the danger that you will experience these serious, life-threatening side effects. Do not drink alcohol or use street drugs during your medication.

Warnings of Xanax

The FDA warns that there are serious risks linked with taking Xanax or other benzodiazepines at the same time. It is not advisable to take Xanax at the same time with opioid analgesics, like oxycodone and hydrocodone, among others, or with opioid-containing cough products. Always take into consideration the Alprazolam warnings before taking the prescription.

Taking together the opioids and benzodiazepines can result in excessive sleepiness, slowed or difficult breathing, coma, or even death. Always consult with your doctor about optionalmedication as well as the serious dangers involved before taking opioids and benzodiazepines like Xanax together.

There is utmost significance of dose and the risks of XANAX as a treatment for panic disorder.Because the treatment of panic disorder often needs the use of average daily doses of XANAX above 4 mg, the prone to dependence of panic disorder patients may be higher than that among those treated for less severe anxiety.

If you have allergy to alprazolam,do not take Xanax. Or to any of the inactive ingredients in the medicine, or other benzodiazepines, like Librium, Tranxene, Valium, Ativan, Serax, and others.

Avoid taking Xanax if you have acute narrow-angle glaucoma.

If you are taking the antifungal drugs Sporanox (itraconazole) or Nizoral (ketoconazole), avoid taking Xanax.

If you are you drive or operate a machine, avoid taking Xanax. It can make you sleepy and decline your capability to drive carefully or operate machinery. You may become mostly sleepy if you taken with other drugs and Xanax together. This might cause drowsiness, or if you are elderly or incapacitated.

Do not take higher doses of the medicine or use it for a longer time than your physician’scounsel.Xanax can develop habit-forming or dependence.

6 Things you should know before taking Xanax:

  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Asthma or other breathing problems
  • History of alcoholism or drug abuse
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Epilepsy or a history of seizures

Inform your doctor what other treatment and nonprescription drugs, vitamins, and nutritional supplements you are taking, because these may interact with Xanax. Further, inform your doctor if you smoke. Discuss to your physician if you have symptoms of your condition between doses. Do not increase the dose without consulting to your doctor first.

No alcohol intake during medication with benzodiazepines. Xanax is not recommended for use during pregnancy. If you are pregnant, or planning to have a child, or you become pregnant while you are taking this medication inform your doctor. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. Do not stop taking Xanax suddenly or reduce the dose with no consultation to your doctor because withdrawal symptoms can take place.

Drugs Interaction of Xanax
Drugs Interaction of Xanax

Precautions of (ALPRAZOLAM) Xanax

These are the precautions to follow and to consider before taking alprazolam (Xanax):

  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist if you have allergy reactions to alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide (Librium, in Librax), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Gen-Xene, Tranxene), diazepam (Diastat, Valium), estazolam, flurazepam, lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam, quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), any other medicine, or any of the ingredients in alprazolam products. Inquire your pharmacist for a list of the component of the medicine to verify if you have allergy to the ingredients.
  • Let your doctor or physician know if you are taking itraconazole (Onmel, Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral). Your doctor will most likelyadvise you not to take alprazolam.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medicine, vitamins, and nutritional supplements, you are taking at the moment. Be certain to cite any of the following: amiodarone (Cordarone, Nexterone, Pacerone); antidepressants ('mood elevators') such as desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), and nefazodone; antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan), posaconazole (Noxafil), or voriconazole (Vfend); antihistamines; cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin, in Prevpac); cyclosporine (Gengraf, Neoral, Sandimmune); diltiazem (Cardizem, Cartia XT, Tiazac); ergotamine (Ergomar, in Cafergot, in Migergot); erythromycin (E.E.S., ERYC, others); isoniazid (Laniazid, in Rifamate, in Rifater); medications for mental illness and seizures; nicardipine (Cardene); nifedipine (Adalat, Afeditab CR, Procardia); oral contraceptives (birth control pills); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Brisdelle, Paxil, Pexeva), and sertraline (Zoloft); sedatives; sleeping pills; and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to modify the doses of your prescription or supervise you cautiously for side effects.
  • Inform your doctor and pharmacist what herbal goods you are taking, particularly St. John's wort.
  • Notify your doctor if you have glaucoma (increased pressure in the eye that may cause loss of sight). Your doctor may advise you not to take alprazolam.
  • Inform your doctor if you have or have ever had depression; if you have had feelings of suicide or inflicting harm to yourself; if you have alcoholism or if you drink or have ever drunk large quantity of alcohol; if you use or have ever used street drugs or have overused prescription medicine; if you smoke; if you have had seizures; or if you have or have ever had lung, kidney, or liver illness.
  • Inform your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding. Most likely, Alprazolam can harm the fetus. If you become pregnant while taking alprazolam, tell your doctor.
  • Discuss with your doctor concerning the risks and benefits of taking this medicine if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults can only receive low doses of alprazolam because higher doses may cause severe side effects.
  • Tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking alprazolam, If you are having surgery, including dental surgery.
  • Alprazolam may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or control machinery until you know how this medication has an effect on you.

Xanax(ALPRAZOLAM): Drug interactions and Its Causes

Taking other prescribed medicines or non-prescribed medicines might cause interaction with Xanax drug. Always inform your doctor what other prescription and nonprescription drugs, vitamins, and nutritional supplements that you are taking, since these may interact with Xanax.

Let your doctor or pharmacistknow if you are using or taking any of the following drugs before taking Xanax. These following drugs listed below may interact and cause problems:

  • Antifungal drugs Sporanox or Nizoral
  • Other antifungals, such as Diflucan (flucanozole), Oravig, Noxafil, and Vfend
  • Other benzodiazepines, such as Librium, Librax, Klonopin, Tranxene, Valium, ProSom, Dalmane, Ativan, Versed, Serax, Restoril, and Halcion
  • Barbiturates, such as Amytal, Fioricet, Fiorinal, Butisol, Seconal, Nembutal, and Luminal or Solfoton
  • Antipsychotics, such as Abilify, Saphris, Thorazine, Clozaril, Prolixin, Haldol, Fanapt, Adasuve, Loxitane, Latuda, and others
  • Sleep medicine, such as Lunesta, Unisom, Rozerem, Sonata, and Ambien, Ambien CR, Edluar, or Zolpimist
  • Narcotic medicine, such as Stadol, codeine, Lortab, Vicodin, Levo-Dromoran, Demerol, Dolophine, Methadose, Kadian, MS Contin, Oramorph, Narcan, OxyContin, Darvon, and Darvocet
  • Antidepressants, such as Elavil, Etrafon, Asendin, Celexa, Anafranil, Norpramin, Sinequan, Lexapro, Prozac, Zoloft, and others
  • Antiseizure medicine, such as Carbatrol, Tegretol, Depakote or Depakote ER, Depakene, Felbatol, Trileptal, Dilantin, and Mysoline
  • Sedating allergy medicine, such as Chlor-Trimeton, Benadryl, or Atarax
  • Anesthetics
  • Antihistamines
  • Cordarone or Pacerone (amiodarone)
  • Antibiotics, such as Biaxin, erythromycin, Mycobutin, rifampin, Priftin, and Ketek
  • Birth control pills
  • Tagamet
  • Gengraf, Neoral, or Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
  • Cortastat, Dexasone, Solurex, or DexPak (dexamethasone)
  • Cardizem, Dilacor, or Tiazac (diltiazem)
  • Ergotamines, like Cafatine, Cafergot, Wigraine
  • HIV and AIDS medicine, such as Reyataz, Rescriptor, Sustiva, Atripla, Intelence, Crixivan, Viracept, Viramune, Invirase, Norvir, and Kaletra
  • Gleevec
  • Isoniazid
  • Cardene
  • Adalat or Procardia (nifedipine)
  • Quin-G
  • Theo-24 or Uniphyl (theophylline)
  • St. John's wort

Furthermore, some drugs that reduce stomach acid can slow the speed at which Niravam (alprazolam orally disintegrating tablets) get into the body.

Inform your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs before taking or using Niravam:

  • H2 receptor antagonist medication, such as Tagamet, Zantac, Pepcid, or Axid
  • Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), such as Dexilant, Nexium, Prevacid, Prilosec, Zegerid, Protonix, or Aciphex