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Alprazolam

Alprazolam

Alprazolam (trade name , among others) is a potent short-acting drug of the benzodiazepine class. It is primarily used to treat moderate to severe anxiety disorders (e.g., social anxiety disorder) and panic attacks, and is used as an adjunctive treatment for anxiety associated with moderate depression. It is available in an instant release and an extended-release ( XR) preparation, both of which are available under several generic names. Alprazolam possesses anxiolytic, sedative, hypnotic, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties.

Alprazolam has a fast onset of symptom relief (within the first week). It is the most commonly misused benzodiazepine; however, the majority of prescribed users do not develop a substance use disorder. Tolerance to the therapeutic effects of alprazolam is controversial with one view being that alprazolam is ineffective with long term use and the other view being that tolerance to the therapeutic effects does not occur. A physical dependence commonly occurs as a result of alprazolam treatment, typified by a withdrawal and rebound symptoms necessitating a gradual reduction in dosage to minimize withdrawal effects when discontinuing.[4] Withdrawal symptoms similar in character to those noted with sedative-hypnotics such as alcohol have occurred following discontinuance of benzodiazepines, including alprazolam. The symptoms can range from mild dysphoria and insomnia to a major syndrome that may include anxiety, abdominal pain, muscle cramps, vomiting, depression, sweating, tremors and in rare cases seizures, suicidal ideation or suicide itself.

Alprazolam instant release (IR) is available in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg and 2 mg strength regular and orally disintegrating tablets. Alprazolam Extended Release (XR) is available in 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg, and 3 mg strength oral.

Alprazolam is available in English-speaking countries under the following brand names:

Alganax

Alzolam

Alprax

Alprox

Alzam

Anxirid

Apo-Alpraz

Calmax

Gerax

Helex

Kalma

Nervin

Nu-Alpraz

Onax

Texidep

Trika

Xanax

Zopax

Zotran[1]

What are the possible side effects of Alprazolam?

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Call your doctor at once if you have any of these serious side effects:

unusual risk-taking behavior, decreased inhibitions, no fear of danger

depressed mood, thoughts of suicide or hurting yourself

hyperactivity, agitation, hostility, hallucinations

feeling light-headed, fainting

seizure (convulsions)

urinating less than usual or not at all

muscle twitching, tremor; or

jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes)

Less serious side effects may include:

drowsiness, , feeling irritable

amnesia or forgetfulness, trouble concentrating

sleep problems (insomnia)

muscle weakness, ,

blurred vision

, vomiting, , appetite or weight changes

dry or watery mouth, increased sweating; or

loss of interest in sex

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs affect Alprazolam?

Before using alprazolam, tell your doctor if you regularly use other medicines that make you sleepy (such as cold or allergy medicine, narcotic pain medicine, sleeping pills, muscle relaxers, and medicine for seizures, depression, or anxiety). They can add to sleepiness caused by alprazolam.

Before taking alprazolam, tell your doctor if you are using any of the following drugs:

birth control pills

cimetidine (Tagamet)

diltiazem (Tiazac, Cartia, Cardizem)

isoniazid (IsonaRif, Rifamate)

propoxyphene (Darvon, Darvocet)

seizure medication

antifungal medication such as fluconazole (Diflucan), itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral); or antidepressants such as fluvoxamine (Luvox), desipramine (Norpramin), or imipramine (Janimine, Tofranil)

This list is not complete and there may be other drugs that can interact with alprazolam. Tell your doctor about all the prescription and over-the-counter medications you use. This includes vitamins, minerals, herbal products, and drugs prescribed by other doctors. Do not start using a new medication without telling your doctor.

What should I avoid while taking Alprazolam?

Do not drink alcohol while taking alprazolam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.

Alprazolam can cause side effects that may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be awake and alert.

Grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interact with alprazolam and lead to potentially dangerous effects. Discuss the use of grapefruit products with your doctor. Do not increase or decrease the amount of grapefruit products in your diet without first talking to your doctor.

How should I take Alprazolam?

Take this medication exactly as it was prescribed for you. Do not take the medication in larger amounts, or take it for longer than recommended by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label.

Your doctor may occasionally change your dose to make sure you get the best results from this medication.

Alprazolam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Alprazolam should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.

Measure the liquid form of alprazolam with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.

To take alprazolam orally disintegrating tablets (Niravam):

Using dry hands, remove a tablet from the bottle and place the tablet on your tongue. It will begin to dissolve right away

Do not swallow the tablet whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing

Swallow several times as the tablet dissolves. If desired, you may drink liquid after the tablet has completely dissolved

Contact your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your panic or anxiety symptoms.

Your symptoms may return when you stop using alprazolam after using it over a long period of time. You may also have seizures or withdrawal symptoms when you stop using alprazolam. Withdrawal symptoms may include blurred vision, trouble concentrating, loss of appetite, diarrhea, muscle twitching, numbness or tingling, or increased sensations.

Do not stop using alprazolam suddenly without first talking to your doctor. You may need to use less and less before you stop the medication completely.

To be sure this medication is helping your condition, your doctor will need to check your progress on a regular basis. Do not miss any scheduled visits to your doctor.

Store alprazolam at room temperature away from moisture, heat, and light. Remove any cotton from the bottle of disintegrating tablets, and keep the bottle tightly closed.

Keep track of how many pills have been used from each new bottle of this medicine. Benzodiazepines are drugs of abuse and you should be aware if any person in the household is using this medicine improperly or without a prescription.

What happens if I overdose on Alprazolam?

Seek emergency medical attention if you think you have used too much of this medicine. An overdose of alprazolam can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include extreme drowsiness, confusion, muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination, feeling light-headed, fainting, and coma.

What happens if I miss a dose of Alprazolam?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take the medicine at your next regularly scheduled time. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What is the most important information I should know about Alprazolam?

Do not use this medication if you are allergic to alprazolam or to other benzodiazepines, such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax).

This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use alprazolam if you are pregnant.

Before taking alprazolam, tell your doctor if you have any breathing problems, glaucoma, kidney or liver disease, or a history of depression, suicidal thoughts, or addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Do not drink alcohol while taking alprazolam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.

Alprazolam may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Alprazolam should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.

It is dangerous to try and purchase alprazolam on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of alprazolam purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or visit www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide.

What should I discuss with my healthcare provider before taking Alprazolam?

It is dangerous to try and purchase alprazolam on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of alprazolam purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or visit www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide.

Do not use this medication if you have:

narrow-angle glaucoma

if you are also taking itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral); or

if you are allergic to alprazolam or to other benzodiazepines, such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax)

Before taking alprazolam, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:

asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing problems

glaucoma

kidney or liver disease (especially alcoholic liver disease)

a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior; or

a history of drug or alcohol addiction

If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take this medication.

FDA pregnancy category D. Alprazolam can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use alprazolam without your doctor’s consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication.

Alprazolam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby.

The sedative effects of alprazolam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking alprazolam.

Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old.

What warnings do you have for Alprazolam?

The following warnings are available for this medication:

Check with your doctor before becoming pregnant.

Swallow whole.

Do not drink alcohol.

Federal law prohibits transfer of prescription.

Take as directed.

Do not take if pregnant.

Obtain advice for OTCs.

Avoid grapefruit and grapefruit juice.

Dilute before taking.

May cause drowsiness.

May impair driving.

Where can I get more information regarding Alprazolam?

Your pharmacist can provide more information about alprazolam.[2]

Sources:

1- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alprazolam

2- http://www.revolutionhealth.com/drugs-treatments/alprazolam

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