Alprazolam (trade name Xanax) is a potent short-acting drug of the benzodiazepine class. It is primarily used to treat moderate to severe anxiety disorders (e.g., social anxiety disorder) and panic attacks, and is used as an adjunctive treatment for anxiety associated with moderate depression. Alprazolam possesses anxiolytic, sedative, hypnotic, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties.
What is Alprazolam?
Dr. Holly takes us inside the brain to show us why depression is more than just a "down mood."
Alprazolam is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). It works by slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced. This results in a reduction in nervous tension (anxiety).
Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression.
Alprazolam may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
Important information about Alprazolam
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to Alprazolam or to other benzodiazepines, such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax). This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use Alprazolam if you are pregnant.
Before taking Alprazolam, tell your doctor if you have any breathing problems, glaucoma, kidney or liver disease, or a history of depression, suicidal thoughts, or addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Do not drink alcohol while taking Alprazolam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.
This medication may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for.Alprazolam should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
It is dangerous to try and purchase Alprazolam on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of Alprazolam purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or visit www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide
Before taking Alprazolam
Do not use this medication if you have:
Before taking Alprazolam, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely takeAlprazolam.
FDA pregnancy category D. Alprazolam can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use Alprazolamwithout your doctor's consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. Alprazolam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. The sedative effects of this medication may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking Alprazolam. Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old.
How should I take Alprazolam?
Take Alprazolam exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.
Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.
Alprazolam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Alprazolamshould never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it. Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
Measure the liquid form of Alprazolam with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
To take Alprazolam orally disintegrating tablets (Niravam):
Contact your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your panic or anxiety symptoms.
Your symptoms may return when you stop using Alprazolam after using it over a long period of time. You may also have seizures or withdrawal symptoms when you stop using Alprazolam. Withdrawal symptoms may include blurred vision, trouble concentrating, loss of appetite, diarrhea, muscle twitching, numbness or tingling, or increased sensations.
Do not stop using Alprazolam suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.
To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your doctor will need to check your progress on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.
Store Alprazolam at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Remove any cotton from the bottle of disintegrating tablets, and keep the bottle tightly closed.
Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Benzodiazepines are drugs of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose ofAlprazolam can be fatal.
Symptoms of an Alprazolam overdose may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination, feeling light-headed, fainting, or coma.
What should I avoid while taking Alprazolam?
Do not drink alcohol while taking Alprazolam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.Alprazolam can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.
Avoid using other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold medicine, pain medication, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression or anxiety). They can increase some of the side effects ofAlprazolam.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with Alprazolam and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.
Alprazolam side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:
Less serious Alprazolam side effects may include:
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Alprazolam?
Before using Alprazolam, tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by Alprazolam.
Before taking Alprazolam, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:
This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with Alprazolam. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.
Where can I get more information?
What does my medication look like?
Alprazolam is available with a prescription under the brand names Xanax and Niravam. Other brand or generic formulations may also be available. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about this medication, especially if it is new to you.