- Tips to Fast Stress Relief
- Take the Panic Attacks Quiz!
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) Slideshow
- What is Xanax? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
- What are the uses for Xanax?
- What are the side effects of Xanax?
- What are the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax?
- What is the dosage for Xanax? How is it taken?
- Which drugs or supplements interact with Xanax?
- Is alprazolam safe to take if I'm pregnant or breastfeeding?
- What else should I know about Xanax?
What is Xanax? How does it work (mechanism of action)?
Alprazolam (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. The FDA approved alprazolam in October 1981.
What are the uses for Xanax?
- Unrealistic worry and apprehension
- Symptoms of restlessness
- Shortness of breath
- Smothering sensation
- Cold clammy hands
- Exaggerated startle responses
- Problems concentrating
Xanax also is 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 Xanax.
What are the side effects of Xanax?
The most common side effects of Xanax taken at lower doses are:
Other side effects include:
Latest Mental Health News
Daily Health News
What are the withdrawal symptoms of Xanax?
Withdrawal 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.
What is the dosage for Xanax? How is it taken?
- 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.
Which drugs or supplements interact with Xanax?
- 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?
What else should I know about Xanax?
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.
Brand names for alprazolam are Xanax, Xanax XR, and Niravam.
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.
It is important to be aware of the drug interactions related to alprazolam, effects on pregnancy and nursing mothers, as well as common side effects on the user.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Anxiety Disorder Pictures: Symptoms, Panic Attacks, and More with Pictures
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...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
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...
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...
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...
The 30-Minute Fitness Routine in Pictures
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...
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...
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...
Related Disease Conditions
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.
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.
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.
Date Rape Drugs
Date rape drugs such as GHB, rohypnol, and ketamine are sometimes used to assist in a sexual assault. Symptoms and signs of intoxication by one of these drugs depends upon the type of drug ingested.
Stress occurs when forces from the outside world impinge on the individual. Stress is a normal part of life. However, over-stress, can be harmful. There is now speculation, as well as some evidence, that points to the abnormal stress responses as being involved in causing various diseases or conditions.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Regular physical activity can reduce the risk of disease. Regular exercise can also reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety. There are fitness programs that fit any age or lifestyle.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder FAQs
- Stress FAQs
- Panic Attacks Disorder FAQs
- Exercise and Fitness FAQs
- 10 Benefits of Walking FAQs
- 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
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Prescription Drug Abuse
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
Medications & Supplements
- Hydroxyzine vs. Xanax
- Gabapentin vs. Xanax
- clonazepam (Klonopin)
- Cyclobenzaprine vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
- Buspirone vs. Xanax
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Lexapro vs. Xanax
- lorazepam (Ativan)
- diazepam (Valium, Diastat, Acudial, Diastat Pediatric, Diazepam Intensol)
- Benzodiazepines vs. Cyclobenzaprine
- Drug Interactions
- Benzodiazepines vs. Barbiturates
- Lyrica (pregabalin) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
- Benzodiazepines vs. Narcotics (Opioids)
- Side Effects of Xanax (alprazolam)
- triazolam (Halcion)
- Xanax vs. Valium
- Ativan (lorazepam) vs. Valium (diazepam)
- temazepam (Restoril)
- Haldol (haloperidol) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
- Hydroxyzine vs. Valium
- Ativan vs. Xanax
- Klonopin (clonazepam) vs. Xanax (alprazolam)
- Is Procedural Sedation the Same as Moderate Sedation?
- Aldactone (spironolactone) Side Effects, Interactions, and Warnings
Prevention & Wellness
- FDA Adds Abuse Warning to Labels for Xanax, Valium
- Meds Like Valium, Xanax Linked to Higher Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy
- Heavy Drinking Plus Xanax, Valium: A Dangerous Mix
- Anxiety Meds Like Valium, Xanax Could Raise Miscarriage Risk
- Which Misused Prescription Meds Send Americans to the ER?
- Xanax, Valium Tied to Higher Suicide Risk in COPD Patients With PTSD
- 1 in 4 Seniors Who Take Xanax, Valium Use Them Long Term
- 3 Simple Steps Might Reduce Opioid OD Deaths
- Spring-Clean Your Medicine Cabinet to Safeguard Your Kids
- Drug Overdose Deaths Climb Dramatically in U.S.
- Fentanyl Overdose Deaths Double in a Year
- 1 in 6 U.S. Adults Takes a Psychiatric Drug: Study
- Common Meds and Dementia: How Strong Is the Link?
- Girls Given Risky Meds Don't Get Contraceptive Advice
- Seniors: The New Face of Addiction
- Kids' ER Visits for Medicine Overdoses Dropping: Report
- Anxiety Medications May Be Tied to Alzheimer's Risk
- Sharp Rise in ER Visits Tied to Abuse of Sedative, Study Finds
- Certain Sedatives Tied to Breathing Problems in Older COPD Patients
- Survey Reveals Rx Drug Abuse by Teens
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.