The drug Xanax, also known as alprazolam, belongs to the benzodiazepine drug family, which is used to combat panic and anxiety attacks.
Alprazolam is more than just an anxiolytic (a drug to reduce anxiety). It is a muscle-relaxing sedative, hypnotic, and anticonvulsant.
It functions by slowing down the activity of your central nervous system (CNS), which immediately produces a soothing effect. It can be used as part of a long-term therapeutic approach for GAD or panic disorder to provide patients with instant relief from their symptoms.
When using this anti-anxiety medicine for the first time, it’s critical to be aware of any adverse effects and drug reactions. Please continue reading to find out how it should or should not be used, together with answers to other frequently asked questions.
What Is Xanax Used for?
Xanax is used for the following conditions:
- Panic Disorders: Xanax is used in conditions associated with a fear of surroundings or events that could induce panic, powerlessness, or discomfort (agoraphobia).
How Effective Is Xanax?
The efficacy of Xanax cannot be disputed. It has long been recommended for people who suffer from acute anxiety and panic attacks, and it seems to have a relative success rate. Xanax and its generic equivalents are effective for most anxiety disorders and can provide relief for several months.
How Does Xanax Work? Mechanism of Action
Xanax reduces anxiety, panic, and dreadful feelings by slowing down the brain’s activity. It induces feelings of calmness, relaxation, and sleepiness.
Xanax works by attaching to a fixed site on the nervous system’s gamma-aminobutyric acid which is a (GABA) receptor.
This binding activity increases the receptor’s affinity for the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA. Reduced neuronal impulse transmission in the brain linked to anxiety and panic results from increased GABA activity.
How Should I Take Xanax?
- If you are allergic to benzodiazepines or are pregnant or nursing, you shouldn’t take Xanax.
- Xanax has not been proven beneficial for anyone under 18, and older adults may be more vulnerable to adverse effects. Smokers may find Xanax less effective as well.
- Use Xanax (Alprazolam) as instructed on the package or as your doctor has prescribed. Never use more, less, or for a longer period than advised.
- You should abstain from alcohol and some medications, such as opioids while using Xanax.
- Utilize the provided measuring tool to measure liquid medications (not a kitchen spoon).
- Consume the entire extended-release Xanax XR capsule. Avoid breaking, chewing, or crushing the tablet.
- Chewing is unnecessary; just let the orodispersible tablet settle and dissolve in your mouth.
- Xanax is usually suggested at a dose of 0.25 to 0.5 milligrams (mg), taken three times a day to continue treating the short-term symptoms of SAD.
- Contact your doctor immediately if your symptoms do not go away or worsen.
- Long-term usage of this medication may necessitate repeated medical examinations.
- Never discontinue using Xanax without consulting a physician. If you stop taking the medication abruptly after long-term use, you can experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
- Keep Xanax at room temperature and away from fire, sunlight, and humidity. Keep your medication out of the reach of children and pets.
Xanax Dosage Form
Your doctor will prescribe a dosage form based on your:
- Medical history
The usual practice among doctors is to begin on the lowest dose possible and then gradually increase it as required. Xanax comes in two dosage forms:
- Immediate-release oral tablets
- Extended-release oral capsules
What Dose of Xanax Should I Take?
Take a dose exactly as your doctor prescribes, as the dose of Xanax can vary from patient to patient, depending on his condition and disease.
A Standard Adult Dose for Anxiety:
Maximum dosage: 4 mg/day for immediate-release tablets, which are taken orally three times daily in doses of 0.25 to 0.5 mg.
Standard Dose for Panic Disorder:
Three times daily oral administration of 0.5 mg of immediate-release tablets; a maximum daily dose of 10 mg.
Initial dose: 0.5 to 1 mg taken orally once daily; maintenance dose: 3 to 6 mg taken orally daily, usually in the early hours; maximum dose: 10 mg daily.
Why Is Xanax Considered a Good Treatment for Anxiety and Panic Disorders?
The mechanism by which Xanax induces peace and relaxation in the brain involves boosting the levels of the neurotransmitter GABA. This significantly supports people with anxiety problems to maintain their composure in highly stressful circumstances, helps prevent panic attacks, and relaxes their overactive bodies.
What Are the Side Effects of Xanax?
If you have any of the following symptoms of an allergic reaction, get immediate medical attention:
- Trouble breathing
- Puffiness on your cheeks, lips, mouth, or neck.
Alprazolam might cause breathing problems, especially if you have lately used alcohol or an opioid drug.
If your breathing is sluggish, your lips are bluish, or if you face difficulty in waking up, someone caring for you should call for emergency medical help.
Some of the most common side effects of Xanax include:
- Blurred vision
- Excessive sweating
- Stomach cramps
- Drowsiness or light-headedness.
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased body temperature
- Rapid breathing
Severe side effects of Xanax include:
- A stroke or seizure
- Weak or shallow respiration
- A sensation of being about to pass out
- Risk-taking behavior
- Increased energy
- A reduced need for bedtime
- Anxious thoughts
- Being restless or chatty
- Double vision
- Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
How to Manage Xanax Side Effects?
- Workout: Taking a walk can naturally increase your energy and endorphin levels. Get some movement in but don’t strain yourself. Exercise also has the added benefit of being a natural stress reliever and anxiolytic.
- Eat: Since your gastrointestinal (GI) system is where Xanax is ingested and metabolized, pushing fiber, proteins, and lipids through your GI system might expedite the procedure.
- Sleep: Sleep is one of the most excellent strategies to deal with the effects of Xanax if you can manage to spend more time in bed. The worst symptoms can be suppressed while you sleep, and you can get up later when a smaller amount of drug is still flowing in your system.
Note: Check your blood pressure regularly when using Xanax.
Alternative Treatment Options for Anxiety and Panic Disorders
Your life may be seriously impacted if you have an anxiety problem. But before you start using Xanax, you might try some alternative remedies.
Other Anti-Anxiety Drugs: Several anti-anxiety drugs can be used for longer durations other than Xanax, including SSRIs.
Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs, taken regularly, can assist in the management of anxiety symptoms.
Psychotherapy: Anxiety and sleeplessness can be effectively treated with talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.
Alternative Benzodiazepines: If you and your healthcare provider determine that a benzodiazepine is the best option for you, your healthcare provider may recommend an alternative to Xanax with a lower risk of adverse effects and abuse such as oxazepam (Serax).
Can I Buy Xanax Online?
Purchasing Xanax online or from sources outside of the US is risky. The Food and Drug Administration’s safe-use guidelines are not followed when selling and distributing medications outside the United States (FDA). A pharmacy might not distribute these medications with a license, or they might contain harmful substances.
Xanax Drug Interactions
Many drugs have the potential to interact with Xanax. Your doctor must be aware of every medicine you’re taking. Drugs that could be problematic include:
- Using oral contraceptives
- Medications for the heart, are similar to amiodarone.
- Antibiotics such as isoniazid and clarithromycin.
- Ergotamine-based migraine treatments
- Painkillers such as propoxyphene
- Immune-suppressing medications such as cyclosporine
- People who use Xanax should minimize their alcohol consumption because alcohol is a CNS depressive. When a doctor or pharmacist prescribes this drug, they will discuss the issues with you.
- Xanax and certain medications interact when the liver enzymes involved in its disposal are blocked or have their activity reduced. Birth control pills and fluoxetine are some of these medications.
When should I take Xanax?
Take Xanax as prescribed by your doctor. You can consume Xanax with or without food. If you have a digestive problem, use it with food.
Alprazolam may be consumed daily at set intervals or on a “PRN” basis. Your healthcare professional often prescribes the maximum amount of dosages you should take in a day.
How long does it take for Xanax to work?
In less than an hour, Xanax starts working. The peak blood levels of the medication are reached within an hour of consumption.
Can I take Xanax while pregnant?
It is unsafe to use Xanax when pregnant. It is a category D pregnancy medicine, which implies that it could harm your unborn child.
You should avoid it throughout all three trimesters of your pregnancy due to the potential for serious issues.
Can I drive after taking Xanax?
No. You should not drive after taking Xanax.
Xanax significantly affects on-the-road driving, and laboratory findings support the negative impact of the drug on the ability to drive.
How long can I take Xanax?
Do not take Xanax more often or more than prescribed. The maximum duration of taking Xanax is not more than eight weeks. It is mostly prescribed for the short term due to addiction potential.
Does long-term use of Xanax have adverse effects on my health?
Yes. The brain may malfunction after prolonged use. You can become uncoordinated or have trouble balancing. Xanax can harm brain cells. All different kinds of psychological challenges are brought on by this, including difficulty with inhibition, irresponsible behavior, sadness, suicide, and cognition.
Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorder and panic. It also eases muscle tension. The medication has potential adverse effects, particularly when combined with other Central nervous system depressants such as antihistamines and alcohol.
When stopping the use of Xanax after a prolonged period, some people may have undesirable side effects. These symptoms can be avoided by consulting a pharmacist and adhering to a schedule.