GENERIC NAME: Alprazolam

COMMON BRANDS: Xanax XR, Xanax, Alprazolam Intensol, Niravam, Alprax

Alprazolam is an oral prescription drug belongs to a class of drugs called as benzodiazepines. A group of medications that works similarly. These drugs primarily used to treat some mental illnesses. This medicine is available under the brand-name: Alprazolam Intensol, Xanax, or Xanax XR. It’s also available as a generic drug which cost less.

This drug acts upon specific benzodiazepine receptors in the brain and nervous system, this triggers the activity of a chemical known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which produces a calming effect in your brain.

What is Alprazolam used for?

This medication is used for the treatment of panic and anxiety symptoms associated with panic disorder. It may be used for the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety, or anxiety linked with depression. This drug may be used in combination therapy as well.

How to use Alprazolam?

Read the Medication Guidelines carefully provided by your pharmacist before you starting alprazolam and each time you get a new refill. If you have any concerns regarding the medication, ask your doctor/chemist.

Take this medication orally as advised by your doctor, typically once a day in the morning. Do not take with a fat-rich meal as it can increase the risk of side effects. Do not smash or chew the extended-release tablet, doing this can release all of the drug at once. Therefore increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split divide the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist advice to do so. Swallow the whole tablet or split tablet without crushing or chewing. Dosage depends on your condition, age, and response to the treatment. Your dose strength may be slowly increased until the drug starts acting well. Follow your doctor’s directions closely to reduce the risk of side effects.

This medication may cause withdrawal symptoms, mainly if it has been used regularly for a long time or in a higher dose. In these cases, withdrawal symptoms such as seizures may occur if you abruptly stop the use of this medication. To counter withdrawal reactions, your doctor may decrease your dose strength gradually. Report any withdrawal symptoms immediately.

Though it benefits many people, this medication may cause addiction in some cases. This risk may be detrimental if you have a substance use disorder (for example overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication precisely as prescribed to reduce the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for further details.

If this medication is used for a longer duration of time, it may not work well. Talk to your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Inform your doctor/physician if your condition continues or worsens.

What are the side effects of Alprazolam?

See also Warning section.

Drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, increased saliva production, constipation, or change in sex drive/ability may occur, if any of these effects continue or worsen, report your doctor or pharmacist immediately.

To minimize lightheadedness and dizziness, stand up gently when standing from a seating or sleeping posture.

Remember, the doctor has prescribed this medication to you because your doctor has found that the benefit to you is higher than the chance of side effects. Several people using this medication do not have dangers of side effect.

Inform your doctor immediately if you experience these unlikely but serious side effects such as mental/mood changes and also hallucinations, thoughts of suicide, or difficulty talking, trouble walking, memory problems, loss of coordination, and slurred speech.

Get medical assistance right away if these rare but very serious side effects occur such as seizures, yellowing skin or eyes.

Severe allergic reaction to this drug is very rare. However, seek medical help right away if you observe any symptoms of allergic reaction, including rashes, swelling/itching (especially of the face/tongue/throat), trouble breathing, severe dizziness.

This is not a full list of every possible side effects. If you mark other side effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

What are the precautions while using Alprazolam?

Before taking alprazolam, inform your doctor/ physician/ pharmacist if you are allergic to it or any other benzodiazepines like diazepam, lorazepam or if you are allergic to some other medication. This product may consist of some inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for further information.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor/ physician/ pharmacist your medical history, especially of: severe lung/breathing problems (such as COPD, sleep apnea), liver disease, kidney disease, personal or family history of a substance use disorder (for example overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol), glaucoma.

This drug may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Alcohol or marijuana can make you extra dizzy or drowsy. Don’t drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs sharpness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Consult your doctor/ physician if you are a marijuana user.

Before having any surgery, inform your doctor/dentist about all the products you use like prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and any herbal product.

Older may be more susceptible to the side effects of this drug, especially loss of coordination and drowsiness. These side effects can have the risk of slipping and injuring themselves.

Alprazolam is not recommended for use during pregnancy due to the potential for harm to an unborn baby. Consult your doctor for more details.

This drug passes into breast milk and can have undesirable effects on a nursing infant. Therefore, breastfeeding while using this drug is not recommended. Consult your doctor before breastfeeding.

What are the drug interactions of Alprazolam?

Refer to Warnings.

Drug interactions may alter how your medications act or increase your chance for serious side effects. This report does not contain all possible drug interactions. Have a list of all the products you are using including prescription/nonprescription drugs and herbal products and inform it to your doctor/ physician and pharmacist. Do not start, stop, or modify the dosage of any medicines without your doctor’s consent.

Some of the examples of products that may interact with this drug are sodium oxybate, kava.

Other medications can affect the excretion of alprazolam from the body, which may affect alprazolam’s mechanism of action, like azole antifungals; itraconazole, ketoconazole, H2 blockers; cimetidine, certain antidepressants; fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, nefazodone/ drugs to treat HIV;delavirdine/ protease inhibitors; indinavir/ macrolide antibiotics; erythromycin/ rifamycins; rifabutin/ St. John’s wort drugs used to treat seizures; phenytoin.

The risk of serious side effects include shallow/ slow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness may occur if this drug is used with other products that may also produce drowsiness or breathing problems. Notify your doctor/ physician/ pharmacist if you are using other products like opioid pain or cough relievers; codeine, hydrocodone or alcohol or marijuana or other drugs for sleep or anxiety (for example diazepam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (for instance carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (for example cetirizine, diphenhydramine).

Read the labels on all your medicines (example allergy or cough-and-cold products) because they may consist of ingredients that produce drowsiness. Ask the pharmacist about using these products safely.

Cigarette smoking lowers the blood concentration of this medication. Inform your doctor/ physician if you are smoking or if you have recently quit smoking.

WARNINGS:

Taking alprazolam along with opioid medications (such as codeine or hydrocodone) may develop the risk of dangerous side effects, and even death. To reduce your risk, your doctor will prescribe the smallest dose of alprazolam initially, and take it for the shortest possible duration. Get medical assistance right away if any of these dangerous side effects occur such as slow/shallow breathing, severe drowsiness/dizziness, unusual lightheadedness, difficulty waking up.

What are the forms and strengths of Alprazolam?

Generic: Alprazolam
Forms: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 2mg

Forms: Oral disintegrating tablet
Strengths: 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 2mg

Forms: Oral extended-release tablet
Strengths: 0.5mg, 1mg, 2mg, 3mg

Brand: Xanax
Forms: Oral immediate-release tablet
Strengths: 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 2mg

Brand: Alprazolam Intensol
Forms: Oral solution
Strengths: 1mg/mL

What is the dosage of Alprazolam?

For Anxiety:

Adult (18–64 years)

Immediate-release tablet/orally disintegrating tablet/oral solution:

Generally starting dosage: 0.25–0.5mg three times per day.

Your doctor/physician may increase your dosage every 3–4 days until you get desired dose.

Maximum dose: 4mg daily, given in divided doses.

When you are withdrawing treatment, your dose should be decreased gradually. Your doctor/physician may decrease it by 0.5 mg every 3 days.

Pediatric

Children (0–17 years)

This drug is not recommended to be used children below 18 years, as it has been not studied in children.

Geriatric (65 years and above)

Immediate-release tablet/orally disintegrating tablet/oral solution:

Generally starting dosage: 0.25mg, 2–3 times/day.

Special considerations:

For people with advanced liver disease: The immediate-release tablet, the usual starting dose is 0.25mg, two or three times daily. Your doctor may gradually increase your dosage if needed.

For Panic Disorder:

Adult (18–64 years):

Immediate-release tablet/ orally disintegrating tablet/oral solution:

Generally starting dosage: 0.5mg three times daily.

Your doctor may increase your dose every 3–4 days not more than 1mg per day.

Maximum dosage: 10mg a day, in divided doses.

When you are discontinuing treatment, your dosage should be reduced slowly. Your doctor may decrease it by not more than 0.5mg every 3 days.

Extended-release tablet:

Generally starting dosage: 0.5–1mg once per day.

Your doctor may increase your dose every 3–4 days until you reach the desired dose for you.

Maximum dosage: 10mg per day.

When you are withdrawing treatment, your dose should be decreased gradually. Your doctor may decrease it not more than 0.5mg every 3 days.

Pediatric

Children (0–17 years)

This drug is not recommended to be used children below 18 years, as it has been not studied in children.

Geriatric (65 years and above)

Immediate-release tablet/orally disintegrating tablet/oral solution:

Generally starting dosage: 0.25mg, 2–3 times/day.

Extended-release tablet:

Generally starting dosage: 0.5mg once/day.

Special considerations

For people with advanced liver disease: The immediate-release tablet, the usual starting dose is 0.25mg, two or three times daily. Your doctor may gradually increase your dosage if needed.

Most common questions asked about Alprazolam / Q&A’s:

Will Alprazolam (Xanax) increase your blood pressure?

No, alprazolam (xanax) does not cause an increase in blood pressure. However, if you have episodes of hypertension like stress-related hypertension, this drug helps to reduce your blood pressure, but long-term hypertension is treated with antihypertensive medications. This drug is primarily prescribed for the treatment of panic and anxiety symptoms associated with panic disorder.

Disclaimer

TheMedPharma has made every effort to make sure that all the information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this website should not be considered as a substitute for the advice, knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or licensed health care professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subjected to changes if required. The lack of warnings or other information for a given drug does not mean that the drug or its combination is safe, effective or appropriate for use in all patients.