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- What is Xanax, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What brand names are available for alprazolam?
- Is this drug available in generic form?
- Do I need a prescription for this drug?
- What are the uses for Xanax?
- What are the side effects of Xanax?
- What is the dosage for Xanax, and how do I take it?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with medication?
- Is alprazolam safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about this medication?
What is Xanax, and how does it work (mechanism of action)?
Alprazolam (Xanax XR, Niravam), is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. Alprazolam and other benzodiazepines act by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter (a chemical that nerve cells use to communicate with each other) that inhibits activity in the brain. It is believed that excessive activity in the brain may cause anxiety or other psychiatric disorders. The FDA approved alprazolam in October 1981.
What brand names are available for alprazolam?
Xanax, Xanax XR, Niravam
Is this drug available in generic form?
Yes, this drug is available as a generic drug.
Do I need a prescription for this drug?
Yes, you need a prescription from your doctor or other medical professional to obtain this drug.
What are the uses for Xanax?
Xanax is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Anxiety disorders are characterized by:
- Unrealistic worry and apprehension
- Symptoms of restlessness
- Shortness of breath
- Smothering sensation
- Cold clammy hands
- Exaggerated startle responses
- Problems concentrating
Panic attacks occur either unexpectedly or in certain situations (for example, driving), and can require higher dosages of Xanax.
What are the side effects of Xanax?
The most common side effects of Xanax taken at lower doses are:
Other side effects include:
Addiction is more likely to occur at high doses given over prolonged periods of time. Abrupt discontinuation of alprazolam after prolonged use can lead to symptoms of withdrawal such as:
Seizures can occur in more severe cases of withdrawal. Consequently, patients on alprazolam for extended periods of time should slowly taper the medication under a doctor's supervision rather than abruptly stopping the medication.
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill identifier tool on RxList.