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What is Xanax?
Xanax is a benzodiazepine also known as alprazolam. Usually, it works by enhancing the activity of specific neurotransmitters in the brain and helps treat anxiety disorders and anxiety due to depression.
Xanax is also beneficial in treating panic disorders with or without a fear of situations and places that might cause helplessness, panic, or embarrassment (agoraphobia).
Xanax may be a habit-forming drug. Misuse of medicines like Xanax can cause overdose, addiction, or death. Keep this medication out of reach from others.
Taking Xanax with alcohol, narcotic medicine, or any other drugs can cause fatal side effects, including drowsiness, and may slow down your breathing.
What to know before taking Xanax?
You should avoid using Xanax if you also take ketoconazole or itraconazole (antifungal drugs). Consult any medical healthcare providers if you have a past allergic reaction to benzodiazepine (Versed, Tranxene, Valium, Restoril, Ativan, Klonopin, diazepam, alprazolam, lorazepam, and others).
To ensure Xanax is safe for you or not, tell your medical healthcare professional if you have ever had:
- Drug abuse or alcohol addiction;
- Liver disease (primarily alcoholic liver disease) or kidney disease;
- Mood problems, depression, suicidal behavior or thoughts; or
- Breathing problems such as interrupted breathing during sleep or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Consult your healthcare provider before taking this medicine during pregnancy. Alprazolam may harm an unborn baby so avoid taking it during the first trimester of your pregnancy. You should avoid breastfeeding while taking Xanax.
If you take Xanax during pregnancy, your newborn baby could become dependent on the drug. It can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the developing baby. Babies born dependent on habit-forming drugs like Xanax may need treatment for several weeks.
Xanax is not recommended for use by anyone younger than 18 years old due to various medical reasons.
How to take Xanax?
Take Xanax precisely as per the doctor’s recommendation. Read carefully and follow all the directions on the prescription label and medication guide. Occasionally, your doctor may change your dosage. Never take Xanax in smaller or larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Consult your doctor or any other medical staff if you feel an increased desire to take this medicine.
Never share this drug with someone else, especially someone with a past of drug abuse or addiction. Misuse of medicines like Xanax can cause overdose, addiction, or death.
Swallow the whole Xanax XR (extended-release) tablet rather than crushing, chewing, or breaking it. Doctors usually recommend taking Xanax for a maximum period of four months to treat anxiety disorder and for a full ten weeks to treat panic disorder.
Contact your medical healthcare professional if there is no improvement in your condition or if they get worse. You may need frequent medical tests if you plan to take this medicine for a more extended period.
Do not suddenly stop taking Xanax, or you may face unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Follow your doctor’s directions regarding tapering your dosage.
Store Xanax away from heat and moisture at room temperature. Please keep track of your drug and be aware of someone misusing it or taking it without a prescription.
Your dosage will depend upon your age, medical condition, and response to the initial phase of treatment.
Adult dosage for anxiety:
- IR tablets – 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg orally administered three times a day
- Maximum dose- 4 mg/day
Usual adult dose for panic disorder:
- IR tablets- 0.5 mg orally administered three times a day
- Maximum dose- 10 mg/day
- ER tablets- initial dose: 0.5 to 1 mg orally/day; maintenance dose: 3-6 mg orally/day, preferably in the morning; maximum dose: 10 mg/day
Usual geriatric dose for anxiety: Elderly or malnourished patients-
- IR tablets- 0.25 mg orally administered 2 or 3 times a day.
Usual geriatric dose for panic disorder: Elderly or malnourished patients-
- IR tablets- Initial dose: 0.25 mg orally administered 2 or 3 times a day
- ER tablets- initial dose: 0.5 mg orally once a day
In case of an overdose, take urgent medical help or call the Poison helpline at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of alprazolam can be deadly. Overdose symptoms of Xanax may include confusion, drowsiness, loss of coordination or balance, muscle weakness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
What to avoid while using Xanax?
Avoid consumption of alcohol while using Xanax as dangerous side effects or death may occur.
Avoid drinking or operating machines until you know how this machine affects you.
Avoid using grapefruit products because the interaction of grapefruit with alprazolam may lead to fatal effects.
Xanax side effects
Take immediate medical help if you have signs of allergic reactions to Xanax. It includes difficult breathing, hives, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Contact your medical healthcare professional if any of the following severe side effects occur:
- Shallow or weak breathing
- A light-headed feeling
- A seizure (convulsion)
- Risk-taking behavior
- Increased energy
- Decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts
- Being agitated or talkative
- Double vision
Alprazolam’s sedative effects may last longer in older adults. Use caution to avoid accidental injury or falling. Common side effects of taking Xanax may include drowsiness or a low-headed feeling. It is not a complete list of side effects, and others may occur. Consult your medical healthcare professional regarding side effects—report the side effects of this drug to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What drugs can interact with Xanax?
Sometimes it is unsafe to take certain medications at the same time. Some medicines can affect the blood levels of other drugs you take, making the medication less effective or increasing specific side effects.
Taking Xanax with other drugs that may cause sleepiness or slow down your breathing can be dangerous and fatal. Ask your medical healthcare professional before using a prescription cough medicine, muscle relaxer, sleeping pill, or medicine for seizure (or convulsions) or depression.
Various drugs can interact with Xanax. It includes prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medicines, herbal products, and vitamins.