Alprazolam

Pronunciation

Generic Name: alprazolam (al-PRA-zoe-lam)
Brand Name: Xanax

Alprazolam is used for:

Treating anxiety and panic disorder. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine. It works in the brain to decrease anxiety.

Do NOT use alprazolam if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in alprazolam or other benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam)
  • you have acute narrow-angle glaucoma
  • you are taking delavirdine, itraconazole, ketoconazole, or sodium oxybate (GHB)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Slideshow: Depression, the Risk of Suicide, and Treatment Options

Before using alprazolam:

Some medical conditions may interact with alprazolam. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are able to become pregnant
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines, foods, or other substances
  • if you have a history of seizures, glaucoma or increased pressure in the eye, kidney or liver problems, lung or breathing problems (eg, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], sleep apnea), myasthenia gravis, or a blood disorder known as porphyria
  • if you have a history of other mental or mood problems (eg, depression), alcohol or other substance abuse or dependence, or suicidal thoughts or actions
  • if you are in poor health, are very overweight, or are experiencing abnormal muscle movements
  • if you drink alcoholic beverages or you smoke

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with alprazolam. Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Methadone because it may increase the risk of serious and sometimes fatal breathing problems
  • Amiodarone, azole antifungals (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole), cimetidine, cyclosporine, delavirdine, diltiazem, ergot alkaloids (eg, ergotamine), fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, isoniazid, macrolide antibiotics (eg, clarithromycin, erythromycin), nefazodone, nicardipine, nifedipine, omeprazole, oral contraceptives (birth control pills), paroxetine, propoxyphene, protease inhibitors (eg, boceprevir, ritonavir), sodium oxybate (GHB), telithromycin, or valproic acid because they may increase the risk of alprazolam's side effects
  • Carbamazepine, rifamycins (eg, rifampin), or St. John's wort because they may decrease alprazolam's effectiveness
  • Hydantoins (eg, phenytoin) because the risk of their side effects may be increased and they may decrease alprazolam's effectiveness
  • Clozapine or tricyclic antidepressants (eg, desipramine, imipramine) because the risk of their side effects may be increased by alprazolam

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if alprazolam may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use alprazolam:

Use alprazolam as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Alprazolam may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • If you are taking alprazolam regularly, do not suddenly stop taking it without checking with your doctor. You may have an increased risk of side effects, including seizure. If you need to stop alprazolam, your doctor will gradually lower your dose.
  • Check with your doctor before eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while you use alprazolam.
  • If you miss a dose of alprazolam and you are using it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use alprazolam.

Important safety information:

  • Alprazolam may cause drowsiness, dizziness, light-headedness, or blurred vision. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to alprazolam. Using alprazolam alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using alprazolam.
  • Check with your doctor before you use medicines that may cause drowsiness (eg, sleep aids, muscle relaxers) while you are using alprazolam; it may add to their effects. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines may cause drowsiness.
  • Do not take more than the recommended dose or use for longer than prescribed without checking with your doctor.
  • Smoking may decrease alprazolam's effectiveness. Tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have recently stopped smoking.
  • Tell your doctor or dentist that you take alprazolam before you receive any medical or dental care, emergency care, or surgery.
  • Use alprazolam with caution in the ELDERLY; they may be more sensitive to its effects, especially decreased coordination and drowsiness.
  • Alprazolam should be used with extreme caution in CHILDREN younger than 18 years old; safety and effectiveness in these children have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Alprazolam may cause harm to the fetus. If you think you may be pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using alprazolam during pregnancy. Alprazolam is found in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking alprazolam.

When used for long periods of time or at high doses, alprazolam may not work as well and may require higher doses to obtain the same effect as when originally taken. This is known as TOLERANCE. Talk with your doctor if alprazolam stops working well. Do not take more than prescribed.

Some people who use alprazolam may develop a need to continue taking it. People who take higher doses (eg, some patients with panic disorder) or use alprazolam for a long time have a greater risk. This is known as DEPENDENCE or addiction. If you stop taking alprazolam suddenly, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms. These may include blurred vision; burning, numbness, or tingling; changes in smell or other senses; decreased appetite; decreased awareness of your surroundings; decreased concentration; diarrhea; muscle cramps or twitches; seizures; or weight loss.

Possible side effects of alprazolam:

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Changes in appetite; constipation; decreased sexual desire or ability; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; light-headedness; nausea; tiredness; weight changes.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; unusual hoarseness); behavior changes; blurred vision; burning, numbness, or tingling; chest pain; confusion; dark urine; decreased coordination; decreased urination; fainting; fast or irregular heartbeat; hallucinations; loss of balance or muscle control; memory or attention problems; menstrual changes; muscle twitching; new or worsening mental or mood changes (eg, depression, irritability, anxiety; exaggerated feeling of wellbeing); overstimulation; red, swollen blistered, or peeling skin; severe or persistent dizziness, drowsiness, or light-headedness; shortness of breath or trouble breathing; suicidal thoughts or actions; tremor; trouble speaking; yellowing of the eyes or skin.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, contact your health care provider. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. To report side effects to the appropriate agency, please read the Guide to Reporting Problems to FDA.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center, or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include confusion; loss of consciousness; loss of coordination; severe drowsiness or deep sleep; slow reflexes.

Proper storage of alprazolam:

Store alprazolam at room temperature, between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C) away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep alprazolam out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about alprazolam, please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Alprazolam is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.
  • Check with your pharmacist about how to dispose of unused medicine.

This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take alprazolam or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about alprazolam. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to alprazolam. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using alprazolam.

Issue Date: September 3, 2014
Database Edition 14.3.1.003
Copyright © 2014 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

Disclaimer: This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this medicine or any other medicine. Only your health care provider has the knowledge and training to decide which medicines are right for you. This information does not endorse any medicine as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this medicine. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this medicine. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You must talk with your healthcare provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this medicine.

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