Xanax: Uses, Side Effects, Dosage, Precautions


Xanax (alprazolam) is an oral prescription medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorder. It comes in tablet form with immediate and extended release (XR) formulations. Xanax is also used off-label to treat a number of conditions, including insomnia .

Xanax can cause side effects such as extreme tiredness or confusion, and overdose can be life-threatening. This medication can be addictive and, in addition to its indicated uses, Xanax is also sometimes a drug of abuse .

You should only use this medication as directed by your doctor and never use it for longer than prescribed, or change your dosage unless directed by your healthcare provider.

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Xanax is prescribed to relieve and prevent anxiety symptoms. It should be used as part of a comprehensive anxiety management plan, which may include strategies such as psychotherapy and counseling.

Xanax is approved for:

  • Anxiety disorder management
  • Short-term relief of anxiety symptoms.
  • Panic disorder

Xanax is indicated for the treatment of conditions that are diagnosed as anxiety disorders based on medical criteria. It should not be prescribed to cope with stress or tension that arises in response to external situations.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine that belongs to the category of prescription drugs that bind to the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptor in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter and Xanax is believed to prevent increased nervous system activity by mediating inhibition of GABA activity .

Use not indicated on the label

In addition to its approved uses, Xanax is also prescribed for several off-label indications.

Most of the time, Xanax is used off-label:

In scientific research, Xanax has been used to treat certain types of seizures. Xanax has also been studied as a possible treatment for essential tremor with promising results .

Before drinking

Xanax can be harmful in certain situations. If you have had any adverse reactions to Xanax or any benzodiazepine, you may not be able to take Xanax or you will need to take it with extreme caution.

Xanax is not approved for use in children under 18 years of age. It can cause side effects if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

When you start taking Xanax, you should avoid driving or using heavy or dangerous equipment.

Xanax can be addicting and addicting. If you have a history of substance abuse or addiction, be sure to discuss this with your doctor before taking Xanax.

Alprazolam is a controlled substance under the Drug Enforcement Administration Controlled Substances Act, and Xanax tablets have been classified as Schedule IV .

Precautions and contraindications.

You should use Xanax with caution if you have a condition that predisposes you to serious side effects.

Xanax can be dangerous if you have:

  • Acute narrow-angle glaucoma : Xanax can make this condition worse, but you can use it if you have open-angle glaucoma.
  • Epilepsy : If you have epilepsy, stopping or skipping Xanax may predispose you to a seizure.

Other benzodiazepines

Xanax is the proprietary version of alprazolam. The generic version, alprazolam, is also available in immediate-release tablets, extended-release tablets, and in liquid form.

Other benzodiazepines include Valium (Diazepam) and Ativan (Lorazepam) .


Xanax immediate-release tablets are generally prescribed three times a day, while Xanax XR is given as a daily dose to be taken in the morning.

The immediate release formulation is used to treat anxiety disorder and panic disorder, and the XR formulation is used to treat panic disorder.

Xanax immediate-release tablets are available in doses of 0.25 milligrams (mg), 0.5 mg, 1 mg, or 2 mg. The 2 mg tablets are cut into four so that they can be divided. Xanax XR tablets are available in 0.5, 1, 2, and 3 mg strengths.

According to the manufacturer, the recommended doses of Xanax are:

  • The immediate-release tablets are prescribed at a starting dose of 0.5 mg 3 times a day, with a very gradual increase, if necessary, up to a maximum dose of 4 mg per day.
  • Xanax XR tablets are prescribed in a starting dose of 0.5 mg or 1 mg per day, and the dose can be gradually increased as needed, as directed by your doctor. According to the manufacturer, the maximum recommended daily dose of Xanax XR is 3 to 6 mg per day.

It is recommended that you take the lowest dose of Xanax that is effective in controlling your symptoms. Do not increase or decrease your dose unless your doctor changes your dose. The increases and decreases should be done gradually, according to the schedule and taking into account any other medications you are taking.


You may need to take a lower dose than usual if you are elderly or have kidney or liver failure. These conditions can increase the concentration of Xanax in your body and make you more sensitive to it.

In addition to starting with a lower dose, your doctor may increase your dose more slowly than usual if you are elderly or have liver or kidney failure.

How to take and store

Xanax should be taken whole and the tablets should not be chewed, crushed, or broken, except to cut them where they are.

Xanax tablets should be stored between 20 and 25 ° C (68 to 77 F).

Side effects

Xanax can cause side effects. When you first start using it, you may experience mild side effects. Some side effects, such as drowsiness, can persist even after you get used to the medicine.

If you continue to experience problems such as drowsiness, you should avoid driving or other activities in which drowsiness can be a problem. Serious side effects can be harmful and you should urgently seek medical attention if you begin to show signs of serious side effects.


The most common side effects of Xanax may be most noticeable within hours of taking the pill.

Common Xanax side effects include:

Severe form

The serious side effects of Xanax can be life threatening. You may experience these side effects due to a regular dose, an overdose, or a combination of Xanax with other medications.

Serious side effects of Xanax include :

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures
  • Mania
  • Hallucinations
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Eat or death

Get emergency help if you or someone else develops serious side effects from Xanax.

Warnings and interactions

It can be dangerous to stop taking Xanax abruptly. Suddenly reducing or stopping this drug can cause withdrawal attacks, severe anxiety, or severe depression. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you want to stop taking Xanax so that you can stick to a schedule to gradually reduce your medication intake.

Xanax interacts with various substances and medications. Your healthcare professional or pharmacist can check to see if other medications you take interact with Xanax.

Taking Xanax with alcohol, illegal drugs, or opioids can be life threatening.

Medications that interact with Xanax include :

  • Opioids
  • Desipramine and imipramine (antidepressants) are elevated in the body when taken with Xanax.
  • Fluoxetine (an antidepressant) increases the level of Xanax in the body.
  • Oral contraceptives increase the concentration of Xanax in the body.
  • Propoxyphene (a narcotic pain reliever) reduces the level of Xanax in the body.
  • Cimetidine (antacid) increases the concentration of Xanax in the body .
  • Ketoconazole and itraconazole (antifungal medications) should not be taken with Xanax.
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