What Meds

Psychiatric Medications


Alprazolam
Brand Name: Xanax

Overview
Xanax is the brand name for the tranquilizer Alprazolam, an antianxiety (anxiolytic) and antipanic drug. Xanax is a benzodiazepine (a class of drugs that slow down the central nervous system), which binds to a receptor in the brain (GABA) that helps make neurons less excitable.

The effects of Xanax can usually be felt within a few days to a couple weeks. Xanax should not be given longer than eight months.

Why is this drug prescribed?
Alprazolam is FDA-approved for treatment of anxiety and panic disorder in adults. Xanax is used primarily as short-term treatment of mild to moderate anxiety, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), and nervous tension.

Xanax may also be used to treat:

Xanax should not be used to treat everyday stress or tension.

How much of this drug is typically used?
Tablets: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg tablets
Extended Release Tablets: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg
Orally Disintegrating Tablets (orange flavored): 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg
Solution: 1 mg/mL

Warnings and Precautions
Xanax is not recommended for children under 18.

Xanax is very addictive. Patients can become dependent during the first few days of therapy. Suddenly discontinuing use of Xanax could cause withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, nervousness, insomnia, agitation, tremors, convulsions, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting, and mental impairment. Dosage should be gradually tapered. Patients can develop tolerance to Xanax.

Xanax can also affect alertness and coordination. Patients taking Xanax should not drive or operate heavy machinery, especially near the beginning of therapy, until they know that Xanax does not affect the ability to safely engage in these activities.

For Pregnant or Nursing Mothers: The safety of Xanax during pregnancy has not been adequately studied. Studies of pregnancy and the use of other Benzodiazepines indicated that Xanax could be harmful to the fetus, especially during the first trimester including the risk of respiratory problems and muscular weakness in your baby. Infants may also experience withdrawal symptoms. Xanax is passed into breast milk, and nursing is not recommended for patients taking this drug.

Contraindications
Xanax should not be used for people with the following medical conditions:

Precautions
Xanax may be given with caution to people with the following conditions:

Adverse Reactions
Xanax may cause the following reactions:

Rarely:

Interactions with Drugs and Other Substances
Drugs or substances that may interact with Xanax are:

Sources

Stanford Medicine Resources:

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