Alprazolam. Drug and Patient Information. Dosage. Overdose. Generic or Brand Alprazolam. For Professionals and Consumers.
Alprazolam is a tranquilizer used in the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety or the treatment of anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorder is marked by unrealistic worry or excessive fears and concerns. Anxiety associated with depression is also responsive to Alprazolam.
Alprazolam and the extended-release formulation, Alprazolam XR, are also used in the treatment of panic disorder, which appears as unexpected panic attacks and may be accompanied by a fear of open or public places called agoraphobia.
Only your doctor can diagnose panic disorder and best advise you about treatment. Some doctors prescribe Alprazolam to treat alcohol withdrawal, fear of open spaces and strangers, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and premenstrual syndrome.
Generic Name: Alprazolam
Brand Name: Xanax
Most important fact about Alprazolam
Tolerance and dependence can occur with the use of Alprazolam. You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop using the drug or reduce the dosage too quickly. Withdrawal symptoms are listed under “What side effects may occur?” The drug dosage should be gradually reduced and only your doctor should advise you on how to discontinue or change your dose.
How should you take Alprazolam?
Alprazolam may be taken with or without food. Take it exactly as prescribed. Do not chew, crush, or break the Alprazolam XR pills.
If you miss a dose of Alprazolam
If you are less than 1 hour late, take it as soon as you remember. Otherwise skip the dose and go back to your regular schedule. Never take 2 doses at the same time.
Storage instructions for Alprazolam
Store Alprazolam at room temperature.
What side effects may occur when taking Alprazolam?
Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, inform your doctor as soon as possible. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking Xanax. Your doctor should periodically reassess the need for this drug.
Side effects of Alprazolam are usually seen at the beginning of treatment and disappear with continued medication. However, if dosage is increased, side effects will be more likely.
Side effects of Alprazolam may include:
Decreased libido, drowsiness, fatigue, impaired coordination, memory impairment, speech difficulties, weight changes.
Side effects of Alprazolam XR may include:
Constipation, decreased libido, depression, drowsiness, fatigue, impaired coordination, memory problems, mental impairment, nausea, sedation, sleepiness, speech difficulties, weight changes.
Side effects due to a rapid decrease in dose or abrupt withdrawal from Alprazolam or Alprazolam XR:
Anxiety, blurred vision, decreased concentration, decreased mental clarity, depression, diarrhea, headache, heightened awareness of noise or bright lights, hot flushes, impaired sense of smell, insomnia, loss of appetite, loss of reality, muscle cramps, nervousness, rapid breathing, seizures, tingling sensation, tremor, twitching, weight loss.
Why should Alprazolam not be prescribed?
If you are sensitive to or have ever had an allergic reaction to Alprazolam or other tranquilizers, you should not take Alprazolam. Also avoid Alprazolam while taking the antifungal drugs Sporanox or Nizoral. Make sure that your doctor is aware of any drug reactions that you have experienced.
Do not take Alprazolam if you have been diagnosed with the eye condition called narrow-angle glaucoma.
Anxiety or tension related to everyday stress usually does not require treatment with Alprazolam. Discuss your symptoms thoroughly with your doctor.
Special warnings about Alprazolam
Alprazolam may cause you to become drowsy or less alert; therefore, driving or operating dangerous machinery or participating in any hazardous activity that requires full mental alertness is not recommended.
If you are being treated for panic disorder, you may need to take a higher dose of Alprazolam than for anxiety alone. High doses more than 4 milligrams a day of Alprazolam taken for long intervals may cause emotional and physical dependence. It is important that your doctor supervise you carefully when you are using this medication.
As with all anti anxiety medication, there is a small chance that Alprazolam could encourage suicidal thoughts or episodes of euphoria known as mania. If you notice any new or unusual symptoms after starting Alprazolam, call your doctor immediately.
Possible food and drug interactions when taking Alprazolam
Xanax may intensify the effect of alcohol. Do not drink alcohol while taking Alprazolam.
Never combine Alprazolam with Sporanox or Nizoral. These drugs cause a buildup of Alprazolam in the body.
If Alprazolam is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered.
It is important to check with your doctor before combining Alprazolam with the following:
Antihistamines such as Benadryl and Tavist
Certain antibiotics such as Biaxin and erythromycin
Certain antidepressant drugs, including Elavil, Norpramin, and Tofranil
Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune)
Major tranquilizers such as Mellaril and chlorpromazine
Nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia)
Other central nervous system depressants such as Valium and Demerol
Special information if you are pregnant or breastfeeding when taking Alprazolam
Do not take Alprazolam if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant. There is an increased risk of respiratory problems and muscular weakness in your baby. Infants may also experience withdrawal symptoms. Alprazolam may appear in breast milk and could affect a nursing infant. If this medication is essential to your health, your doctor may advise you to stop breastfeeding until your treatment with Alprazolamis finished.
Recommended dosages of Alprazolam
The usual starting dose of Alprazolam is 0.25 to 0.5 milligram taken 3 times a day. The dose may be increased every 3 to 4 days to a maximum daily dose of 4 milligrams, divided into smaller doses.
The usual starting dose of regular Alprazolam is 0.5 milligram 3 times a day. This dose can be increased by 1 milligram a day every 3 or 4 days. You may be given a dose from 1 up to a total of 10 milligrams, according to your needs. The typical dose is 5 to 6 milligrams a day.
If you’re taking Alprazolam XR, the usual starting dose is 0.5 to 1 milligram once a day taken in the morning. Depending on your response, the dose may be gradually increased by no more than 1 milligram every 3 or 4 days. The usual effective dose is 3 to 6 milligrams a day. Some people may need a larger dose to relieve their symptoms. Others, including older adults and those with liver disease or other serious illnesses, may need to use lower doses.
Safety and effectiveness have not been established in children under 18 years of age.
The usual starting dose for an anxiety disorder is 0.25 milligram, 2 or 3 times daily. The starting dose of Alprazolam XR is 0.5 milligrams once a day. This dose may be gradually increased if needed and tolerated.
PATIENTS SWITCHING FROM ALPRAZOLAM TO ALPRAZOLAM XR
If you’re taking divided doses of Alprazolam, the doctor will switch you to a once-daily dose of Alprazolam XR that equals the current amount you’re taking. If your symptoms return after switching, the dose can be increased as needed.
Overdosage with Alprazolam
An overdose of Alprazolam, alone or after combining it with alcohol, can be fatal. If you suspect an overdose of Alprazolam, seek medical attention immediately.
Symptoms of Alprazolam overdose may include:
Confusion, coma, impaired coordination, sleepiness, slowed reaction time.