- Side Effects
- Drug Interactions
- Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
- What Else to Know
Generic Name: alprazolam
Brand Names: Xanax, Xanax XR, Niravam
Drug Class: Anxiolytics, Benzodiazepines
What is alprazolam, and what is it used for?
Alprazolam (Xanax, Xanax XR, Niravam), is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine drug 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.
Alprazolam 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
Alprazolam is also used for treating anxiety associated with panic attacks. Panic attacks occur either unexpectedly or in certain situations (for example, driving), and can require higher dosages of alprazolam.
The FDA approved alprazolam in October 1981.
What are the side effects of alprazolam?
The most common side effects of alprazolam taken at lower doses are:
Other side effects include:
- Memory problems
- Speech problems
- Changes in weight
- Addiction (dependency)
- Dry mouth
What is the dosage for alprazolam?
- The starting dose for treating anxiety is 0.25-0.5 mg 3 to 4 times daily using immediate-release tablets. The dose may be increased every 3-4 days to a maximum dose of 4 mg daily.
- The starting dose for treating panic attacks is 0.5 mg 3 times daily. Doses can be increased every 3-4 days but by no more than 1 mg daily.
- The effective dose for preventing panic attacks may be as high as 10 mg daily for some patients. The starting dose when using extended-release tablets to treat panic disorder is 0.5 mg once daily and the average dose is 3-6 mg once daily.
- Alprazolam may be taken with or without food.
Is alprazolam addictive?
The use of benzodiazepines, including alprazolam, exposes users to the risks of abuse, misuse, and addiction, which can lead to overdose or death. Abuse and misuse of benzodiazepines often (but not always) involve the use of doses greater than the maximum recommended dosage and commonly involve concomitant use of other medications, alcohol, and/or illicit substances, which is associated with an increased frequency of serious adverse outcomes, including respiratory depression, overdose, or death
Withdrawal symptoms of alprazolam
Addiction is more likely to occur at high doses given over prolonged periods. 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.
- Opdivo Could Boost Outcomes for People Battling Hodgkin Lymphoma
- More U.S. Kids, Teens Are Getting Weight-Loss Surgeries
- Could a Nitroglycerin Patch Ease Hot Flashes?
- One Form of Menopause Hormone Therapy Might Raise Blood Pressure
- Targeted Drug May Lower Odds for Breast Cancer's Return in Some Patients
- More Health News »
What drugs interact with alprazolam?
- Ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), nefazodone (Serzone), cimetidine (Tagamet), and fluvoxamine (Luvox) increase concentrations in the blood of alprazolam and therefore may increase the side effects of alprazolam.
- Alprazolam interacts with alcohol and medications (for example, barbiturates, and narcotics) that suppress activity in the brain by suppressing activity more and causing sedation.
- Carbamazepine and rifampin reduce the effect of alprazolam by increasing metabolism and elimination of alprazolam in the liver.
Is alprazolam safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam, can cause fetal abnormalities and should not be used in pregnancy.
- Alprazolam is excreted in breast milk and it can affect nursing infants. Therefore, women who are should not take alprazolam while breastfeeding.
What else should I know about alprazolam?
Alprazolam is available as:
- Tablets: 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 mg.
- Tablets ER (extended release): 0.5, 1, 2 and 3 mg.
- Tablets (Orally disintegrating): 0.25, 0.5, 1 and 2 mg. Solution: 1 mg/ml
Keep alprazolam should be stored at room temperature, 15 C to 30 C (59 F to 86 F).
Alprazolam is available in generic form, and you need a prescription from your doctor or other health-care professional to obtain this drug.
Subscribe to MedicineNet's Depression Newsletter
Alprazolam is a member of the benzodiazepine family, which are sedatives that cause dose-related depression of the central nervous system. Alprazolam is used for the treatment of anxiety disorders and panic attacks, which cause unrealistic worry and apprehension, restlessness, aches, trembling, shortness of breath, smothering sensation, palpitations, sweating, cold clammy hands, lightheadedness, flushing, exaggerated startle responses, problems concentrating, and insomnia. Side effects of alprazolam may include drowsiness, fatigue, memory problems, speech problems, constipation, changes in weight, addiction (dependency), headache, constipation, and dry mouth. Do not take if pregnant or breastfeeding.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
A Visual Guide to Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Learn about generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). See if your worries are normal or something more by learning about symptoms,...
25 Ways to Relieve Menstrual Cramps
Menstrual cramps happen when prostaglandins force the uterus to contract. Dysmenorrhea, or period pain, may be relieved by...
Prescription Drug Abuse: Addiction, Health Risks, and Treatments
Learn how prescription drug and over-the-counter (OTC) drug abuse can endanger your health. Get the latest information on...
Exercise and Fitness: 10 Budget-Friendly Exercise Gadgets
There are plenty of cheap and free ways to exercise. Learn about inexpensive ways to get in shape with the use of jump ropes,...
What Are Phobias? Agoraphobia, Social Anxiety Disorder, Other Fears
What are you afraid of? Learn about phobias such as agoraphobia, claustrophobia, arachnophobia, zoophobia, and more. Discover...
Anxiety, Stress, Worry, and Your Body
What is the definition of anxiety, stress, and worry? Find treatments to relieve stress, eliminate worry, and combat anxiety as...
Diet for Stress Management: Carbs, Nuts, and Other Stress-Relief Foods
While there are many ways to cope with stress, one strategy is to eat stress-fighting foods. Find out which foods to eat as part...
10 Benefits of Walking Quiz
Take this 10 Benefits of Walking Quiz to learn about the many health benefit of walking for exercise!
Stress Quiz: Test Your Emotional IQ
Stress creeps into everyone's life at one time or another, while some people will suffer from poorly managed chronic stress. If...
PTSD Quiz: Test your IQ of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Can you have PTSD even if you've never been to war? Take the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Quiz to learn about PTSD, who gets it,...
Panic Attacks (Panic Disorder) Quiz: Test Your Mental Health IQ
Could you suffer a panic attack? Take this Panic Attacks Quiz to learn causes, symptoms, and treatments for panic disorder. Use...
Exercise and Fitness Quiz: Test Your IQ
Take our Exercise and Fitness Quiz and learn to maximize your fitness level with simple exercises that do not require major...
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS): Track and Prevent Symptoms
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) can cause from mood swings, munchies, and more. Learn about the symptoms, causes and treatments of...
No-Gym Workout in Pictures: Equipment, Routines, and More
Learn about this no-gym, at home quick workout. It can get you into great shape at home and shows the best moves for flat abs and...
Anxiety & Panic Disorders: Risk Factors for Anxiety
Do you feel anxious? Many things could make it more likely. Learn more, including what you can do if you feel anxious.
Anxiety and Panic Disorders: Conditions That Look Like Anxiety
Is it anxiety or something else? Click through to learn which conditions share symptoms.
Benefits of Exercise: Fitness Facts Prove the Benefits of Working Out
The best way to lose weight? These fast facts show weight loss is possible for everyone trying to lose weight. From calories to...
The 30-Minute Fitness Routine
This quick, high-intensity 30-minute workout routine can make you look better and feel better. Discover the right way to do...
Exercise and Fitness: The 7-Minute Workout
The 7-minute workout provides a free, convenient way to get and stay fit. Discover these short, quick exercises that use your own...
Exercise Tips for Kids and the Whole Family
Exercise is great for kids, and fun activities for the whole family are there if you know how to find them. Learn how to lose...
Anxiety & Panic Disorders: Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
A fluttering heart, knots in your stomach, clammy hands -- are you just nervous about something? Talk to your doctor if it...
Depression: Foods to Avoid If You Have Anxiety or Depression
Feeling a little jittery? It could be something you ate. Learn the foods to avoid if you're anxious or depressed.
Related Disease Conditions
What Are the Top 10 Medications for Anxiety?
Here are the top 10 medications for anxiety, which aim to treat the associated symptoms rather than cure the disorder.
Muscle cramps are involuntarily and forcibly contracted muscles that do not relax. Extremely common, any muscles that have voluntary control, including some organs, are subject to cramp. Since there is such variety in the types of muscle cramps that can occur, many causes and preventative medications are known. Stretching is the most common way to stop or prevent most muscle cramps.
Stress is a normal part of life, but chronic or severe stress can be harmful to your health. Learn what happens in your body when you are stressed and how you can manage your response.
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder that causes symptoms like pain, clicking, and popping of the jaw. TMJ is caused by injury to the temporomandibular joint. Stress, poor posture, jaw trauma, genetic predisposition, and inflammatory disorders are risk factors for the condition. A variety of self-care measures (application of ice, use of over-the-counter pain medication, massage, relaxation techniques) and medical treatment options (dental splint, Botox, prescription medications, surgery) are available to manage TMJ. The prognosis of TMJ is good with proper treatment.
Second Source article from WebMD
Panic attacks are sudden feelings of terror that strike without warning. These episodes can occur at any time, even during sleep. A person experiencing a panic attack may believe that he or she is having a heart attack or that death is imminent. The fear and terror that a person experiences during a panic attack are not in proportion to the true situation and may be unrelated to what is happening around them. Most people with panic attacks experience several of the following symptoms: racing heartbeat, faintness, dizziness, numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers, chills, chest pains, difficulty breathing, and a feeling of loss or control. There are several treatments for panic attacks.
Anxiety is a feeling of apprehension and fear characterized by symptoms such as trouble concentrating, headaches, sleep problems, and irritability. Anxiety disorders are serious medical illnesses that affect approximately 19 million American adults. Treatment for anxiety may incorporate medications and psychotherapy.
Stress Management Techniques
Stress may be considered as any physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental unrest and that may be a factor in disease causation. Managing stress in our lives is important. Elimination of stress is unrealistic, since stress is a part of normal life. We can however, learn to manage stress through techniques such as exercise, relaxation, meditation, time management, and support systems so that we have control over our stress and its effects on our physical and mental health.
Is Valerian Root Similar to Xanax and Valium?
Valerian root is one of the most popular alternatives to sleep medications. While valerian is a herb, Xanax and Valium are considered benzodiazepines (benzos).
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates and ends with menstruation. Common PMS symptoms include; depression, irritability, crying, oversensitivity, and mood swings. For some women, PMS symptoms can be controlled with natural and home remedies, medications, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, nutrition, and a family and friend support system.
How Do I Stop Catastrophizing Anxiety?
Similar to other mental health and anxiety disorders, you can stop catastrophizing by managing your negative thoughts through these techniques.
Mental health is an optimal way of thinking, relating to others, and feeling. All of the diagnosable mental disorders fall under the umbrella of mental illness. Depression, anxiety, and substance-abuse disorders are common types of mental illness. Symptoms and signs of mental illness include irritability, moodiness, insomnia, headaches, and sadness. Treatment may involve psychotherapy and medication.
Does DMT Help With Depression and Anxiety?
Despite being a controlled drug, DMT is being considered to treat mental conditions, such as depression and anxiety.
What Happens During an Anxiety Attack?
Anxiety can occur during everyday life, it could be fleeting or it could persist and build. But if you have an anxiety disorder, you may feel your anxiety or panic overwhelm you with intense anxiety and fear.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a psychiatric condition, can develop after any catastrophic life event. Symptoms include nightmares, flashbacks, sweating, rapid heart rate, detachment, amnesia, sleep problems, irritability, and exaggerated startle response. Treatment may involve psychotherapy, group support, and medication.
Can Anxiety Cause Phantom Smells?
Phantom smells are a common symptom of anxiety disorders. Learn about how anxiety can cause olfactory hallucinations and what treatment options are available. Check out the center below for more medical references on anxiety, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Menstrual Cramps and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) Treatment
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, mood swings, anxiety and more. Treatment for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include regular sleep, exercise, smoking cessation, diet changes, and OTC or prescription medication depending on the severity of the condition.
Can a Parent Cause Anxiety in a Child?
Parents who are stressed, anxious, harsh, fight, sarcastic, hostile or aversive may transmit or cause anxiety in their children.
Separation anxiety disorder is a common childhood anxiety disorder that has many causes. Infants, children, older kids and adults can suffer from symptoms of separation anxiety disorder. Common separation anxiety treatment methods include therapy and medications. Factors that contribute to how quickly or successfully a child moves past separation anxiety by preschool age include how well the parent and child reunite, the skills the child and adult have at coping with the separation, and how well the adult responds to the infant's separation issues. For example, children of anxious parents tend to be anxious children.
Phobias are unrelenting fears of activities (social phobias), situations (agoraphobia), and specific items (arachnophobia). There is thought to be a hereditary component to phobias, though there may be a cultural influence or they may be triggered by life events. Symptoms and signs of phobias include having a panic attack, shaking, breathing troubles, rapid heartbeat, and a strong desire to escape the situation. Treatment of phobias typically involves desensitization, cognitive behavioral therapy, and medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and beta-blockers.
Is Picking at Your Skin a Symptom of Anxiety?
Skin picking may be triggered by anxiety as a way to relieve stress. When it becomes frequent and intense, it can become a mental health disorder.
Can Stress and Anxiety Cause Schizophrenia?
Stress is your body's way of responding to mental, physical, or emotional pressure and anxiety is your body's way of reacting to stressful situations. While stress is not a direct cause of schizophrenia, it can trigger an episode of schizophrenia in an already vulnerable person.
What Parenting Styles Cause Anxiety?
There are times when your child will feel anxious about different things — this is perfectly normal. Authoritarian parenting, which uses stern, harsh behavior with children, can lead to moderately-high levels of anxiety, depression, and withdrawal.
Which Color Light Helps Anxiety?
Chromotherapy is an alternative medicine technique that claims to cure various physical or mental disorders by using colors. Most practitioners of modern medicine believe that this technique lacks scientific evidence.
Agoraphobia is a fear of being outside or of being in a situation from which escape would be impossible. Symptoms include anxiety, fear, disorientation, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, or dizziness. Treatment may incorporate psychotherapy, self-exposure to the anxiety-causing situation, and medications such as SSRIs, benzodiazepines, and beta-blockers.
How Do You Stop Anxiety Attacks?
You may not always be able to avoid an anxiety attack, but here are 13 ways to manage or stop anxiety attacks when they happen.
What Are the Root Causes of Anxiety and Depression?
What causes anxiety and depression? Learn about symptoms and potential root causes that may increase your risk of developing mood disorders.
Can a Person With Anxiety Live a Normal Life?
Dealing with anxiety isn’t easy, but it is possible to live a normal life with the right treatment and support. Learn how anxiety can be managed successfully.
What Are the Six Types of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders cause worry, fear and panic as an irrational response to mundane situations. The six main types are generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety, separation anxiety, trauma-related disorders and phobias.
What Is the Difference Between a Panic Attack and an Anxiety Attack?
What is the difference between a panic attack and an anxiety attack? Learn about the differences between these common occurrences.
Is Anxiousness the Same as Anxiety?
Anxiousness is not the same as anxiety. Feeling anxious from time to time is normal, whereas severe, ongoing anxiety may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.
Can You Self-diagnose Anxiety?
While the internet is full of self-assessment tests to self-diagnose anxiety, only a thorough clinical examination by a doctor can accurately diagnose the condition.
How Does a Person With Anxiety Feel?
What are symptoms of anxiety? A person with anxiety may experience feelings of nervousness, restlessness, inability to concentrate, stomach problems, and more.
Holiday Depression, Anxiety, and Stress
Though the holidays are a fun time for most, for others, they're a sad, lonely and anxiety-filled time. Get tips on how to avoid depression and stress during the holiday season.
What Does Anxiety Do to Your Body?
It increases a person’s chances of suffering from other medical conditions, such as heart diseases, raised blood pressure, high cholesterol obesity, depression and diabetes. In short term, anxiety may cause sleep disturbances and poor work performance.
Is Valerian Root Good for Anxiety?
Valerian is an herb that has been used for many centuries to help relieve anxiety and as a sleep aid in traditional medicine. The studies for proving the effectiveness of valerian root for sleep and anxiety have not been conclusive. More studies are required to prove its effectiveness and find the optimal dose.
What Are the Causes of Anxiety?
Anxiety is not caused by a single factor but often a combination of factors, such as genetic predisposition, traumatic experiences, personality, and physical health. Learn about potential triggers of anxiety and check out the center below for more medical references on anxiety disorders, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
What Is the 3-3-3 Rule for Anxiety?
Parenting a young child can be tough. The 3-3-3 rule is a mindfulness technique that's simple enough for young children and it asks them to name three things they can see, identify three sounds they can hear, and move three different parts of their bodies.
What Does an Anxiety Attack Feel Like?
Anxiety attacks typically last 30 minutes or less and include feelings of extremely intense terror, fear, or anxiety. Check out the center below for more medical references on anxiety, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
Is Trichotillomania an Anxiety Disorder?
Trichotillomania, also known as hair-pulling, is an impulse control disorder. It could be caused by anxiety and stress. It can coexist with an anxiety disorder. However, psychiatrists consider it as a separate illness and not an anxiety disorder.
How Does Anxiety Affect You Physically?
Physical signs of anxiety include rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, headache, and more. Find out how to recognize and ease your symptoms.
Can Stress and Anxiety Hurt My Baby?
Research indicates that stress and anxiety in pregnant women may influence the health of the baby and result in several birth problems.
What Are 6 Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders?
Anxiety disorders have an impact on one's behavior, thoughts, emotions, and physical health. The six major symptoms of anxiety disorders include worrying incessantly and excessively for no apparent reason; fear of any social or performance-related situations in which one may be subjected to scrutiny from others; irrational fear of an object or location; flashbacks, nightmares, and subsequent anxiety due to exposure to a highly traumatic event in the past; cleaning and rearranging things and objects around excessively and repetitively; and repeated panic attacks.
What Is the Best Test for Anxiety?
Screening for anxiety can help detect mental health problems early and ensure that you receive timely treatment. Learn about the best tests for assessing anxiety levels and how anxiety relates to anxiety disorders. Check out the center below for more medical references on anxiety, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related diseases, treatment, diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
What Are the 5 Symptoms of Anxiety?
Learn the 5 most common types of anxiety disorders and their symptoms below.
What Triggers Social Anxiety?
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a mental health condition that is characterized by extreme anxiety and fear of social settings. People with social anxiety disorder have a constant, intense, persistent fear of being watched, judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social situation.
Can Anxiety Give You a Stomachache?
Anxiety triggers the release of cortisol, which can cause your stomach to produce more acid and give you a stomachache. Learn about how to cope with anxiety symptoms.
Is Psoriasis Linked to Anxiety?
Like other chronic conditions, psoriasis can take a toll on your emotional health. Anxiety can trigger or worsen psoriasis, and psoriasis can cause anxiety.
What Is Anxiety Mostly About?
Anxiety is a natural response to stress or danger that alerts us of potential threats. Check out the center below for more medical references on anxiety, including multimedia (slideshows, images, and quizzes), related disease conditions, treatment and diagnosis, medications, and prevention or wellness.
What Does Social Anxiety Feel Like?
People affected by social anxiety or social phobia often feel intense fear or anxiety of being judged or criticized while being in a social situation.
What Is the Best Treatment for Anxiety?
The best treatment for anxiety is typically a combination of psychotherapy and medication. However, lifestyle modifications can also help manage symptoms.
What Is the Main Cause of Anxiety?
Anxiety is usually caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors that may include stress, trauma, family history, and underlying health conditions.
How Can I Help My Young Child With Anxiety?
Anxiety is a normal part of daily life, even for children. Help your young child with anxiety by giving the feeling a label, validating their feelings, tracking causes of anxiety, and using other methods.
What Symptoms Are Caused by Anxiety?
It's normal to feel stressed or worried about things that happen in our everyday lives. However, people who experience anxiety disorders often feel heightened fear or worry about common situations.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Tightness in Chest
- Muscle Cramps
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Illness Anxiety Disorder (Hypochondria)
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Anxiety, Panic, and Phobias: Seeking Help
- Anxiety Treatment with Virtual Reality Exposure
- Anxiety: Facing Fear and Anxiety -- Jonathan Davidson, MD
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder FAQs
- Stress FAQs
- Panic Attacks Disorder FAQs
- Exercise and Fitness FAQs
- 10 Benefits of Walking FAQs
- Prescription Drug Abuse
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Hot Flashes: Anxiety Worsens Hot Flashes
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Prescriptions: Complying with the Doctor's Orders
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- diazepam (Valium, Diastat, Acudial, Diastat Pediatric, Diazepam Intensol)
- Side Effects of Valium (diazepam)
- temazepam (Restoril)
- Ativan Side Effects, Warnings, and Drug Interactions
- Side Effects of Xanax (alprazolam)
- triazolam (Halcion)
- Aldactone (spironolactone) Side Effects, Interactions, and Warnings
- Is Procedural Sedation the Same as Moderate Sedation?
- Side Effects of Klonopin (clonazepam)
Prevention & Wellness
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
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.