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Xanax FAQ

A: According to the studies conducted on Xanax (alprazolam), one of the side effects reported was change in weight. If you have experienced weight gain, with no changes in diet or activity level, you may want to contact your health care provider. For additional information on Xanax (alprazolam) or weight management you may want to ask us.

A: There is some information that Xanax (alprazolam) can cause either increases or decreases in weight. This is a rare side effect, but it is included in the package insert. If you are gaining unusual weight or retaining fluids, contact your health care provider. Do not stop taking any medications without consulting with your provider first.

A: One tablet of either Valium or Xanax can stay in your system for up to 3 days. If you take this medication on a daily basis, it can be in your system for up to 30 days after stopping treatment. There is no one answer to this question, because it depends on how long you have taken the medication and the daily dosage.

A: According to the studies conducted on Xanax (alprazolam), one of the side effects reported was change in weight. If you have experienced weight gain, with no changes in diet or activity level, you may want to contact your health care provider.

A: Xanax should not cause any type of skin reaction. If you are experiencing unexplained rash, hives, itching, or swelling, this could be a sign of an allergic reaction to the medication. You should consult with your physician if any of the above are occurring.

A: It is not an exact science, since every person metabolizes medication differently, but each tablet lasts about 6 to 8 hours at levels to help your condition. The chemical composition of Xanax has metabolites that go into your system as the medication breaks down, and these metabolites can stick around for up to 24 hours.

Q: I’ve been dividing 2 mg of Xanax for panic attacks daily. I recently started a weight-loss plan and have lost 12 pounds through diet and exercise. The 2 mg of Xanax doesn’t seem to be adequate now to prevent panic attack symptoms. Is this common? Could an increased metabolism change the daily dose that I need?

A: I could not find any correlation between increased metabolism and the effects on Xanax. If that is the only change you have made in your daily activities, it may be considered as a possibility.

A: The medication Xanax comes in the following strengths: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, 3 mg.

Q: My 14 year old daughter has depression and was prescribed Xanax. Is this alright?

A: According to the prescribing information for Xanax (alprazolam), safety and effectiveness have not been established in patients younger than 18 years of age. You may want to contact your daughter’s health care provider to discuss treatment options.

A: Xanax is used daily on a routine basis. It may be habit-forming, but some people are more prone to this than others. If you wish to stop taking this medication, first talk to your health care provider, then taper off by slowly decreasing your daily dose.

 

Q: I was taking Xanax a couple of years ago, not daily but only when needed. My brother-in-law suggested Paxil instead, but I never felt like it was doing anything for me. Now I’m on meds through another doctor, but I still don’t feel like these are helping. Is there any reason I shouldn’t go back on Xanax?

A: Unfortunately, your question doesn’t have a simple answer. Treatment with these types of medications is very patient-specific, and it’s often based on trial and error. If you have had previous success with Xanax (alprazolam), you may want to contact your doctor and discuss this treatment option again. You should also discuss your concerns and reasons for switching treatments and decide, with your doctor, which treatment option best meets your individual needs.

 

A: Studies have shown evidence of risk to the fetus in mothers taking Xanax (alprazolam). This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. You should check with your doctor to see if an alternative medication can be used based on your health status.

Q: Can I still use Xanax while I am pregnant?

A: Studies have shown positive evidence of human fetal risk in mothers taking Xanax (alprazolam). This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. You should check with your doctor to see if an alternative medication can be used based on your health status.

 

A: Xanax XR (alprazolam XR) is an extended-release formulation of alprazolam. It is commonly dosed once a day and indicated for patients with panic attacks. It is not indicated for anxiety disorder. For anxiety, alprazolam immediate release is often taken as needed because the onset is quick and duration is short. For frequent panic attacks, alprazolam can be taken around the clock to prevent attacks, which may be triggered by certain situation or condition. When alprazolam immediate release is taken around the clock, it may produce unwanted side effects due to fluctuation in blood concentration. The difference between the Xanax XR and immediate release is that the XR formulation has a slower rate of absorption, longer duration and has a more constant blood level. A dose of 0.5 mg every 6 hours around the clock means there is always alprazolam in the blood and the highest and lowest concentration is around every 6 hours. The Xanax XR may provide a more consistent and lower effective concentration, therefore resulting in a lower required dose with less side effects. Whether switching to Xanax XR is appropriate or not is a decision between the prescriber and the patient. Factors worth considering are dependency, tolerability of current medication and cost.

 

A: There are no known drug interactions found between Xanax (alprazolam) and the following over-the-counter medications: vitamin C, Caltrate, zinc, and Metamucil. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your prescription or over-the-counter medications. Do not start or stop any medications or treatments without first talking to your doctor.

 

A: I wouldn’t say that it is harmful. Obviously it depends on the dose and frequency the medication is taken. In many cases, taking a Xanax (alprazolam) would be preferable than having alcoholic beverage for some people. I always recommend having yearly check ups with your physician and having both kidney and liver function tests performed. However, I have yet to run into any serious consequences for people using Xanax for 20 years. Abusing the medication is a different story.

 

A: According to Clinical Pharmacology, when taken at the recommended dose, an uncommon side effect of Xanax (Alprazolam) is seizures. This side effect was reported in less than 1 percent of patients taking alprazolam in clinical studies. With short-term and long-term use of alprazolam, patients may experience withdrawal symptoms including seizures. If you experience a seizure while taking alprazolam, it is considered a serious side effect and you should contact your doctor immediately. To minimize the possibilities of this serious side effect, alprazolam should be taken only as prescribed and not with any other drugs that affect brain chemicals unless they are prescribed by a doctor who is aware of all the medications a patient is taking. It is also important to not take the medication with alcohol.

 

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a highly potent, short-acting benzodiazepine primarily used to treat moderate to severe anxiety disorders (e.g., social anxiety disorder) and panic attacks. Generally speaking, drug interactions fall into three main categories: Drug-drug (i.e., prescription, over-the-counter, herbals, dietary supplements) interactions occur when two or more drugs react with each other. Drug-diet (food/drink) interactions result from drugs reacting with foods or drinks. Drug-disease interactions may occur when an existing medical condition makes certain drugs potentially harmful. Antacids (calcium) may decrease the serum concentration of benzodiazepines, however, no action is required.

 

A: The average half life of Xanax (alprazolam) for adults is approximately 11.2 hours. The immediate release formulation has a half life range of 6.3-26.9 hours and the extended release has a range of 10.7 to 15.8 hours. Half life is defined as the amount of time it requires for approximately one half of the medication to be out of the system. Most sources state that it takes 4-5 half lives for a medication to be completely removed from the body after stopping the medication. Therefore it would take approximately 56 hours for the medication to be out of the system. This is just an estimate as there are wide ranges in the half life values for Xanax and elimination of a medication is based on many patient specific variables. Talk with your health care provider regarding questions and concerns you have about prescription medications. Jen Marsico, RPh

A: Tramadol is in a drug class called opiate agonists. Tramadol is used for the management of moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol works by altering pain sensation in the body. Xanax (alprazolam) is in a drug class called benzodiazepines. Xanax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Xanax is thought to work by affecting brain chemicals and lessening abnormal brain excitement. Derek Dore, PharmD

A: Xanax is a pregnancy category D. Xanax can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Xanax should not be taken during pregnancy without the doctor

Q: I have been taking Xanax for 5 years. What are the withdrawal symptoms and how long do they last?

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine that works on chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced. Xanax is indicated for anxiety. Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, muscle weakness, and blurred speech. Xanax may be habit-forming and should only be taken as the doctor prescribed. Symptoms of anxiety and restlessness may return once the Xanax is discontinued. Withdrawal symptoms may occur after using Xanax for a long period of time. Withdrawal symptoms include blurred vision, loss of appetite, diarrhea, trouble concentrating, and numbness and tingling. This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with Xanax. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. When your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals, and herbals, as well as the foods you eat. Always keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your healthcare providers and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescription medications and over-the-counter products. This allows your pharmacist to keep a complete record of all your prescription drugs and to advise you about drug interactions and side effects. Tell your health-care provider about any negative side effects from prescription drugs.

 

Q: I have been taking Xanax for several years. I have been taking the 2 mg dose three times a day. I’m having a hard time finding a doctor and had to cut down very suddenly. I am almost out of Xanax. What can happen to me?

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine that works on chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced. Xanax is indicated for anxiety. Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, muscle weakness, and blurred speech. Xanax may be habit-forming and should only be taken as the doctor prescribed. Symptoms of anxiety or restlessness may return once Xanax is stopped. If Xanax has been taken for a long period of time, withdrawal symptoms may occur. These symptoms include blurred vision, trouble concentrating, loss of appetite, muscle twitching, diarrhea, and tingling. This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with Xanax. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action. When your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals, and herbals, as well as the foods you eat. Always keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your healthcare providers and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescription medications and over-the-counter products. This allows your pharmacist to keep a complete record of all your prescription drugs and to advise you about drug interactions and side effects. Tell your health-care provider about any negative side effects from prescription drugs.

 

A: During use of both of these drugs, you and your doctor should watch for any excessive depression of the central nervous or respiratory symptoms. Avoid hazardous activities requiring complete mental alertness and motor coordination until you know how these two affect you. Take your medications exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Shereen A. Gharbia, PharmD

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is in a drug class called benzodiazepines. Xanax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Xanax is thought to work by affecting brain chemicals and lessening abnormal brain excitement. According to Pfizer, the manufacturers of Xanax, there are no gluten ingredients in the brand name Xanax tablets or the generic Greenstone brand. However, the company cannot guarantee that the ingredients they obtain from their suppliers are not tainted with gluten. Kristen Dore, PharmD

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine that works on chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced. Xanax is indicated for anxiety. Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, muscle weakness, and blurred speech. Xanax may be habit-forming and should only be taken as the doctor prescribed. This is not a complete list of the side effects associated with Xanax. The elimination half-life is about 11.2 hours of Xanax. Therefore in healthy adults, it would take about 56 hours to be eliminated from the body. However, the elimination of drugs depends on certain factors such as age, dosage, weight and the health of the individual. Therefore the elimination of drugs can be very patient specific. Kimberly Hotz, PharmD.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is in a drug class called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines are classified as controlled medications. Xanax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Xanax is thought to work by affecting brain chemicals and lessening abnormal brain excitement. Tolerance to a medication means that a person may have to take a higher dose of the medication over time to achieve the same results or benefits as before. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, repeated use of large doses, or daily use of therapeutic doses of benzodiazepines may lead to tolerance and physical dependence. Suddenly stopping a benzodiazepine is not recommended. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if a benzodiazepine is discontinued suddenly. Withdrawal symptoms depend on the dose and length of therapy. These symptoms may include: sad mood, insomnia, abdominal or muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, seizures, and tremors. The dose of a benzodiazepine may need to be slowly tapered if a patient needs to discontinue the medication. Kristen Dore, PharmD

Q: What are Xanax and Valium used for? How do they work?

A: Valium (diazepam)  is a benzodiazepine that increases chemicals, called GABA, in the brain and the nervous system. Diazepam is used for anxiety and sometimes muscle spasms. Common side effects associated with diazepam include drowsiness, muscle weakness, and dry mouth. Other side effects may include headache, blurred vision and speech, nausea and memory problems. Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine that works on chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced. Xanax is indicated for anxiety. Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, muscle weakness, and blurred speech. Typically Valium stays in the system long than Xanax. It is also important when your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your medications and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals and herbals, as well as the foods you eat. Also keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your healthcare provider and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescription medications and over-the-counter products. This allows your pharmacist to keep a complete record of all your prescription drugs and to advise you about drug interactions and side effects. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action.

Q: I have been taking Xanax for 3 to 4 years. Do I need to be weaned off and how? Is it wise to stop cold-turkey?

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Withdrawal symptoms can occur with abrupt discontinuation of Xanax especially in patients on high doses or those who have been on the medication long term. Withdrawal symptoms from stopping Xanax too quickly may include; tremor, sweating, trouble sleeping, muscle cramps, stomach pain, vomiting, or unusual behavior. According to the packaging information, abrupt discontinuation of Xanax should be avoided. It is recommended to decrease the dose by 0.5mg daily every 3 days, but a slower taper may be necessary for some patients. Your doctor will be able to recommend a dosage taper for you. It is important to learn how to cope with everyday stress. Some alternative ways to help deal with stress include exercise (taking a walk, yoga), enjoying some fresh air, spending time with friends or family that you enjoy, and focusing on the positive things in life. Your healthcare provider may be able to provide you with other suggestions.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is in a drug class called benzodiazepines. Xanax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Xanax is thought to work by affecting brain chemicals and lessening abnormal brain excitement. According to Xanax

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a sedative that belongs to the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It is a short-acting medicine for anxiety disorders. The use of Xanax on an as-needed basis is common practice as it allows for more patient control over symptoms, may be helpful for short-term situations that cause fear or anxiety, and may decrease the overall use of the medication. However, it is important that you follow the directions provided by your doctor and use Xanax as labeled. Xanax can be habit forming. Do not change your dosage without speaking to your doctor first. When your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals, and herbals, as well as the foods you eat. Always keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your health care providers and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescription medications and over-the-counter products. This allows your pharmacist to keep a complete record of all your prescription drugs and to advise you about drug interactions and side effects.

Q: My mom’s friend just had a very bad stroke and she has lupus so she is on prescription medication such as Valium, Percocet, methadone, and a few more. Can an overdose of Xanax be the reason she had this stroke? There’s also a possibility that she could has had an alcoholic beverage.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is in a drug class called benzodiazepines. Xanax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Xanax is thought to work by affecting brain chemicals and lessening abnormal brain excitement. There is no mention of stroke due to overdose in the prescribing information for Xanax. Some of the problems that can occur when there is an overdose of Xanax include: extreme tiredness, confusion, decreased coordination and reflexes, coma, and death. Death from overdose of Xanax has also occurred in combination with alcohol use.

 

A: The pill you described as blue, oval-shaped and marked “2089 V” is identified to be alprazolam 1 mg (Xanax) manufactured by Qualitest Pharmaceuticals Inc. There are numerous manufacturers of generic medications on the market, and sometimes the manufacturers supplying the generics to your local pharmacy change. The active ingredient in this medication is still alprazolam, which means it should work the same. However, the inactive ingredients may be different from other generics you have been getting. Some patients react differently and negatively to a different generic medication than the one they have been taking.

 

Q: I take Xanax and have been diagnosed with glaucoma. What other medications are safe with this condition?

A: When anxiety cannot be treated with benzodiazepines, such as Xanax (alprazolam), other medications, such as Buspar (buspirone) or antidepressants, such as the SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), Prozac (fluoxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), or Celexa (citalopram), or the SNRIs (serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) Cymbalta (duloxetine) or Effexor (venlafaxine) can be used. Antidepressants work because they act on neurotransmitters that are involved in depression and in anxiety. The SSRIs are usually the first choice, and the above mentioned SSRIs have been FDA approved for the treatment of anxiety disorders. SSRIs and SNRIs are both good choices as they have less side effects and are safer, compared to other antidepressants. Side effects from these groups may include nausea, dizziness, insomnia, gas, and impotence. Earlier generation antidepressants, such as MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitors and TCA (tricyclic antidepressants) can also be used for anxiety, but they have more side effects, include cardiovascular, so they are not used as much. In addition to medications, anxiety can often be successfully treated with psychotherapy alone, or along with medication. Psychotherapy can help a person find the triggers to their anxiety and help them find ways to cope with the issues. There are two types of therapy. One focuses on behavior and how to change behavior to cope. The other is cognitive therapy, which helps a person alter their thoughts to minimize the symptoms of anxiety. A general practitioner can recommend a psychologist who can help manage anxiety with the best treatment option for that person.

 

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine used for the treatment of anxiety disorders. Long term use of Xanax can lead to physical or psychological dependence on the medication. Patients who have been on Xanax long term that plan to stop the medication need to taper the dose down slowly to avoid or lessen the amount of withdrawal symptoms experienced. Possible withdrawal symptoms with Xanax include tremor, sweating, trouble sleeping, muscle cramps, stomach pain, vomiting, or unusual behavior. One of the main side effects of Xanax is central nervous system depression which can impair mental and physical abilities, this can occur even with short term use. It is important to avoid alcohol use while on Xanax.

 

A: The pill with the imprint 027 R is alprazolam 0.25 mg. Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine that works on chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced. It’s used to treat anxiety. Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, muscle weakness, and blurred speech. Xanax may be habit-forming and should only be taken as the doctor prescribed.

 

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines which affect chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause anxiety. The drug is designed to correct a chemical imbalance in the brain which is causing anxiety. There are long-term side effects of using Xanax such as drowsiness, dizziness, feeling irritable, amnesia or forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, sleep problems (insomnia), muscle weakness, lack of balance or coordination, slurred speech, blurred vision, and loss of interest in sex to name a few.

 

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine that works on chemicals in the brain that become unbalanced. Xanax is indicated for anxiety. Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness, dry mouth, muscle weakness, and blurred speech. Xanax may be habit-forming and should only be taken as the doctor prescribed. Consult with your health care provider about changing your dose or sleep concerns. It is important when your doctor prescribes a new medication, be sure to discuss all your prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs, including dietary supplements, vitamins, botanicals, minerals and herbals, as well as foods you eat. Always keep a current list of the drugs and supplements you take and review it with your health care providers and your pharmacist. If possible, use one pharmacy for all your prescriptions and over-the-counter products.

 

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is in a drug class called benzodiazepines. Xanax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder. Xanax is also used for the short-term relief of anxiety symptoms. Xanax is also used to treat panic disorders. Xanax is thought to work by affecting brain chemicals and lessening abnormal brain excitement. According to Xanax’s prescribing information, generalized anxiety disorder is defined as a) anxiety that is not realistic or excessive, and b) worry about two or more life circumstances, which lasts for 6 months or more and is present on more days than it is absent. At least 6 of the following symptoms are usually present in people with generalized anxiety disorder: motor tension (trembling, twitching, or feeling shaky; tension in muscles, aches, or soreness; restlessness; easily fatigued); autonomic hyperactivity (shortness of breath or smothering sensations; palpitations or accelerated heart rate; sweating, or cold clammy hands; dry mouth; dizziness or lightheadedness; nausea, diarrhea, or other stomach distress; flushes or chills; frequent urination; difficulty swallowing or ‘lump in throat’); vigilance and scanning (feeling revved up or on edge; exaggerated startle response; trouble concentrating or “mind going blank” because of anxiety; irritability and trouble falling or staying asleep). According to Xanax’s prescribing information, anxiety associated with depression is responsive to Xanax. Panic disorder is defined as unexpected panic attacks that keep happening. Specifically, a panic attack is a period of intense fear or discomfort that develops all of a sudden and reaches a peak with 10 minutes. Four of the following symptoms develop: palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate; sweating; trembling or shaking; feelings of shortness of breath or smothering; feeling of choking; chest pain or discomfort; nausea or stomach distress; feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint; feelings of unreality or being detached from oneself; fear of losing control; fear of dying; numbness or tingling sensations; and chills or hot flushes.

 

A: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies drugs into five pregnancy safety categories. Xanax (alprazolam) is classified as pregnancy Category D, which means it is not recommended for use during pregnancy because it can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Xanax belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, which if taken by a pregnant woman, can enter the fetus through the placenta. Withdrawal symptoms have been described in newborns whose mothers took Xanax during pregnancy. Before taking Xanax during pregnancy, you should discuss the risks and benefits of using it with your doctor.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is an anxiolytic medication classified as a benzodiazepine. The exact mechanism of action of the benzodiazepines is not clearly defined. However, it is known that the benzodiazepines demonstrate depressant activity in the central nervous system. Xanax is indicated for the treatment of panic disorder and the management of anxiety disorders and anxiety associated with depression. According to the prescribing information, the reported adverse effects of benzodiazepines on the memory include concentration difficulties, transient amnesia or memory impairment. During the clinical trials of panic disorder, the reported adverse effects of Xanax on the memory include memory impairment. Additionally, in controlled and uncontrolled clinical studies of Xanax for panic disorder, approximately 5% of patients reported discontinuation from treatment as a result of memory impairment. Some of the other side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, lightheadedness, headache, confusion, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, blurred vision, impaired coordination, irritability, dizziness, insomnia, changes in libido, weakness, sweating, rash and changes in appetite or weight.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine anxiolytic. Xanax is approved for the treatment of panic disorder. Xanax is also approved for the management of anxiety disorders, including the short-term relief of anxiety symptoms and anxiety associated with depression. The exact manner is which Xanax works for the treatment of panic and anxiety disorders is not fully understood. If side effects occur during treatment with Xanax, they are typically observed at the beginning of treatment and appear to resolve with continued use. In a usual patient, the common side effects of Xanax are generally related to the pharmacological action of Xanax, such as drowsiness or lightheadedness. Some of the common side effects of Xanax, reported in greater than 5% of patients during clinical trials of anxiety disorders, include drowsiness, lightheadedness, depression, headache, confusion, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, diarrhea, nausea /vomiting, tachycardia, blurred vision and nasal congestion. Some of the common side effects of Xanax, reported in greater than 5 % of patients during clinical trials of panic disorder, include drowsiness, fatigue and tiredness, impaired coordination, irritability, memory impairment, lightheadedness/dizziness, insomnia, headache, cognitive disorder, dysarthria, anxiety, abnormal involuntary movement, changes in libido, depression, confusional state, muscular twitching, weakness, muscle tone disorders, decreased salivation, constipation, nausea/vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal distress, nasal congestion, tachycardia, chest pain, hyperventilation, blurred vision, tinnitus, sweating, rash, changes in appetite/weight, difficulty urinating, menstrual disorders and sexual dysfunction . Rare reports of paradoxical reactions have been reported with benzodiazepines. These reactions may include stimulation, increased muscle spasticity, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, and adverse behavioral effects (agitation, rage, irritability, aggression or hostile behavior) are possible. Patients are advised to discontinue Xanax treatment, under the supervision of a health care provider, if any of these paradoxical reactions occur.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) belongs to a group of medications known as benzodiazepines. Xanax is approved, by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for the management of anxiety disorders, including anxiety related to depression and the treatment of panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia. Xanax is a controlled substance. The exact mechanism of action of benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, remains unknown. Clinically, Xanax exhibits a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity which ranges from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis, according to the prescribing information. Xanax is approved for use in adults only. The safety and effectiveness of Xanax in patients younger than 18 years of age have not been established. The elderly may be more sensitive to the effects of Xanax. The smallest effective dose is recommended for elderly patients. Some of the commonly reported side effects possible with Xanax treatment include drowsiness, lightheadedness, headache, insomnia, dry mouth, constipation, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, confusion, dizziness, weakness, sweating, changes in libido and changes in weight/appetite. Other side effects are possible with treatment. Consult with your health care provider if you experience anything unusual or bothersome while taking Xanax. Xanax should not be used in patients with sensitivity to other medications in the benzodiazepine class, as well as patients with acute narrow angles glaucoma. Xanax can increase the effects of alcohol so patients are advised to avoid alcohol while taking Xanax. Xanax may be habit-forming and both physical and psychological dependence are possible with treatment. Do not decrease the dose or abruptly discontinue treatment with Xanax to avoid seizures and other unpleasant, and potentially dangerous, withdrawal symptoms. If discontinuation is warranted, or desired, an appropriate taper should be determined and supervised by a physician. Possible withdrawal symptoms may include blurred vision, trouble concentrating, loss of appetite, diarrhea, muscle twitching, numbness or tingling, or increased sensations. Xanax causes central nervous depressant activity so patients are cautioned against performing potentially hazardous tasks, such as operating machinery or driving a car or engaging in any other activities that require complete mental alertness. To avoid excessive central nervous system depression, patients are also advised to avoid taking Xanax with other central nervous system depressant medications, including alcohol. Xanax interacts with several other medications. It is important for patients to inform the physician of all other medications they are currently taking before starting treatment with Xanax. The recommended dose of Xanax should be individualized to the patient. Low doses of Xanax should be utilized to initiate treatment to avoid adverse reactions. The dosage should be increased until a therapeutic response is achieved, intolerance occurs or the recommended maximum daily dose is reached. It is recommended that the lowest possible effective dose is administered to patiens and the need for continued therapy reassessed periodically during treatment. The risk for dependence increases with dose and duration of therapy.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is a medication that is in the group of medications called benzodiazepines that are used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Antidepressants mainly work on specific chemicals in the brain: serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Antidepressant medications work to relieve the symptoms of depression by bringing a balance to these chemicals that are causing the problem. Benzodiazepines do not work to relieve depression, so they work in a different way. Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effects of a chemical called GABA, in the brain, that produces a calming effect. Benzodiazepines have several effects on the body such as muscle relaxation, reducing anxiety, causing sleepiness, and can be used for stopping seizures. Lori Poulin, PharmD

Q: Is taking up to 3 Xanax a day too many? I take it for nerve pain and panic attacks that do not occur daily. But because of my personal situation of caring for an elderly parent with dementia somedays are very stressful and cause me to panic. The nerve pain has responded only to the Xanax for some relief. Not everyday do I take 3, but always 2.

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is in a drug class called benzodiazepines. Xanax is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic disorders. Xanax is thought to work by affecting brain chemicals and lessening abnormal brain excitement. Xanax may be habit forming. Some of the common side effects of Xanax are: drowsiness, dry mouth, lightheadedness, tiredness and fatigue, dizziness, irritability, and changes in sex drive or ability. According to the prescribing information for Xanax, dosing of the medication should be individualized. Doses should be started low to avoid adverse events and titrated up to maximum benefit. When Xanax is used for anxiety, the usual maximum daily dosage is 4mg/day given in divided doses three times daily. The risk of dependence may increase with dose and duration of use. For this reason, the need for continued treatment should be reassessed frequently. For people with panic disorders the dosing may need to be higher than 4mg/day. Some people being treated for panic disorder have required up to 10 mg/day of Xanax. The dosing for panic disorder should also be started low and increased until a benefit is seen or the maximum dose is reached. Again, frequent assessment is needed to determine if continued treatment is required, or if the dose of the medication can be reduced. The exact dosing of Xanax is individualized and can vary based on patient specific factors, such as other disease states or medications being taken. Consult with your health care provider in regards to the appropriate dosing that best meets your needs. Do not stop taking Xanax or decrease the dose without first consulting a doctor. Suddenly stopping Xanax or decreasing the dose may cause withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms may include: sad mood, insomnia, abdominal or muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating, seizures, and tremors. For more specific information, consult with your doctor or pharmacist for guidance based on your health status and current medications, particularly before taking any action.

 

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is classified as a benzodiazepine medication. Xanax is approved for the treatment of anxiety disorder, panic disorder and for anxiety that is associated with depression. The medication works in the brain on chemicals that can become unbalanced which can result in anxiety. There is a possibility of developing physical and/or psychological dependence to this medication. It is very important to take all medications exactly how it is prescribed by your doctor. Patients should not change the dosage or stop medications without first talking to their doctor. If you feel that you want to stop taking Xanax to sleep, it is important to discuss this with your physician. Your physician can determine if this is an appropriate decision for your medication therapy. Your physician can also determine if another medication may be needed to replace your Xanax. According to the available drug information, Xanax should not be stopped abruptly. Abrupt discontinuation of the medication can result in rebound or withdrawal symptoms including seizures. Caution should be used when stopping or reducing the dosage of the medication. The dosage should be decreased slowly and patients should be monitored for withdrawal symptoms. The exact instructions on how to stop taking the medication needs to be provided by your physician. Consult with your physician regarding your consideration to stop taking Xanax.

 

A: Xanax (alprazolam) is classified in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines affect chemicals in your brain that can become unbalanced and cause anxiety or panic disorder. According to the available drug information, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Xanax can cause weight gain or weight loss in some patients. However, as long as you are burning more calories than you are consuming, you will lose the extra weight. People often find it harder to lose the last 10 pounds. In addition to your current exercise regime, try eating five or six small meals a day to boost your metabolism. Eat healthy foods, and use a calorie calculator to help determine how many calories your body needs, or consult with your doctor or a nutritionist. The most common side effects of Xanax include changes in appetite, changes in sexual desire, constipation, dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, lightheadedness, tiredness, trouble concentrating, unsteadiness, and weight changes.

Q: I have Hepatits C with stage 2 liver damage. Is it safe for me to take Xanax at night to sleep?

A: Almost every medication leaves the body through the liver, the kidneys, or both. Xanax (alprazolam) is in a family of medications known as benzodiazepines, which use both the liver and kidneys to filter the drug out of the body. You should discuss your options with your doctor, who knows the specifics of your liver function tests and can compare them to the dose and frequency of Xanax. Before taking a medication, the insomnia should be categorized as primary (not caused by known conditions, but responds well to treatment) or secondary (from illness, physical and/or psychiatric). It should also be categorized as acute (temporary, from an outside event such as emotional trauma, schedule or routine change, or outside noise and disruption) or chronic (lasting between one and six months, where sleep is lost at least 3 times a week). If the condition, illness, noise, or other cause can be stopped or treated, sleep can be improved that way. The bedroom should be cool, dark, quiet, and free of disturbances. Bedtimes and wake up times should be on a schedule. Exercise, food, caffeine, and alcohol should be avoided before bedtime. If daytime naps are taken, they should not be longer than 40 minutes. You may want to discuss all of the available treatment options with your doctor to see if there is a better alternative for the liver.

 

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