The People's Perspective on Medicine

Alprazolam

Overview

Alprazolam is the most frequently prescribed anti-anxiety agent in the country. It is similar in certain respects to Valium.

Once called minor tranquilizers or sedatives, such drugs are prescribed to calm jittery nerves and relieve excessive tension. Alprazolam is also prescribed for anxiety associated with depression and for panic attacks.

This drug belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines. Xanax is a little more rapid in action than many other such compounds and its calming effect lasts for a relatively short period of time.

Side Effects and Interactions

Side effects associated with Xanax include sedation, dizziness, unsteadiness, dry mouth, fatigue and confusion. These may fade after a few days or weeks.

Other possible reactions include depression, visual problems, nausea, menstrual irregularities, slurred speech, increased salivation, rash, itching, change in appetite, altered sex drive, urinary difficulties and reduced blood pressure.

Fainting, racing heart rate or seizures are potentially serious, if uncommon, reactions. Report any symptoms to your physician promptly.

Many drugs can interact with Xanax, including over-the-counter antihistamines, prescription antidepressants, the asthma drug theophylline and the ulcer medicine Tagamet . Anticonvulsants such as Dilantin and the heart medicine Lanoxin do not mix well.

People should not combine the herb kava-kava with drugs such as Xanax. One man who did so actually went into a comalike state.

Oregon grape, which has sedative and anticonvulsant properties, probably should not be combined with Xanax as well.

Prudence suggests that the herb passion flower should not be mixed with Xanax. Also, because of the possibility that the herb affects GABA receptors in much the same way benzodiazepines do, patients should be cautioned not to combine it with drugs such as Xanax.

It is not yet known if the sedative effects of the herb gotu kola are synergistic with those of other agents that promote sleep or reduce anxiety. Nontheless, it would be best not to mix gotu kola with Xanax until this is determined.

Check with your pharmacist and physician to make sure Xanax is safe in combination with any other medicines or herbs you take.

Taking the Medicine

Alprazolam can be taken with food, especially if it upsets your stomach.

Do not drink alcohol or use any other sedative while on this drug, as the combination may lead to dizziness, drowsiness, lack of coordination or confusion.

If you are also taking antacids, take them at least one hour before or after taking alprazolam.

Special Precautions

Do not drive, operate machinery or undertake any activity that requires close attention while you are taking alprazolam. This medicine may make narrow angle glaucoma worse and should not be taken by people diagnosed with this condition.

Regular reliance on alprazolam for many months may lead to dependence. Sudden discontinuation of the drug could trigger withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, nervousness, agitation, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, fatigue, headache and tremor.

Never stop taking Xanax without medical supervision, as the medication may have to be phased out gradually over a period of weeks or months.

Rate this article
star-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-emptystar-fullstar-empty
3.4- 19 ratings
About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
Tired of the ads on our website?

Now you can browse our website completely ad-free for just $5 / month. Stay up to date on breaking health news and support our work without the distraction of advertisements.

Browse our website ad-free
Join over 150,000 Subscribers at The People's Pharmacy

We're empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.

Showing 6 comments
Comments
Add your comment

I take 0.25 alprazolam three times a day, well I really break my 0.5 mg in halves cause the 0.25 pill don’t seem to help but when I break the 0.5 in half seem to have better effect but make me tired especially since I take 20 mg prilosec twice a day too, but only been on prilosec twice a day for two weeks, getting headaches now too across top of head and tightness in neck. Don’t know if from anxiety, which I have anxiety disorder or from the prilosec, feel terrible. Please advise.

Who is the best manufacturer producing a generic equivelant to Xanax? Brand name Xanax is too expensive to purchase monthly, even with a doctor initiated prior authorization from Blue Cross, it is stil $200 for 120 qty (versus $400 out of pocket) and the Blue Cross insurance I have is excellent. I recently noticed that I was having to increase my dose of Alprazolam due to vastly reduced effectiveness, and seek out another more effective generic through another pharmacy that is inconviently located 30-45 minutrs from home. I compared Actavis v Greenstone between back to back doses and found that Greenstone is vastly superior. The decreased efficacy not only forced me to add a physician approved extra tab daily but also made my pain worse (I have a chronic disease that often results in severe pain). So in the end, even generic are to allow for medical cost benefits to both the insurer and client, the poor quality of the generic contributed to increased costs for both. This is because I will need to purchase more of the drug and it can spiral into other costs related to the increase in pain that the generic contributed to. Once again yet another example of how ineffective and cost prohibitive generics are. Consumers should make Obama aware of these issues before he retires from his current position- as Obama has the ability to use common sense in determining actual outcomes and also cares about American’s health.
Summary:
I personally found that Greenstone manufacturers a decent generic alprazolam, but has anyone else found a more effective generic?

I would like to know if taking herbal supplements that contain milk thistle, saw palmetto, rice bran, white tea, flaxseed oil, msm, fo-ti (root) will interact with xanax?

SORRY about your family man, and your buddy but what ever you do don’t do anything stupid or rash, talk to someone, it can really help a lot. I am going through my own one of lifes tests and it sucks. I cant sleep, I have lost my lost my appetite, I have lost not just my job (carpentry for last 24 yrs.) but the second business that my brother and I got started and goin good and ran into the wrong people got screwed on getting paid one to many times and that is all it takes trust me it snowballs fast, my point to you is it sucks right know but it can and will get better once you reached the bottom the only way to go is up keep your head up talk to people. Stay positive bro.

alprozolam has really helped me a lot, no side effects i have been on them for years.

I am 29 years-old and have long suffered from major depressive disorder, Panic disorder, and chronic insomnia. I’ve been on Prozac,Wellbutrin, Lexapro,Remeron,Sinequan, and Effexor. They absolutely made me a regular ER patient.
My doctor just put me on Klonopin 2mg twice a day, plus weekly sessions with a therapist. My mother and brother just died, which contributed to my Panic disorder/fear of my own mortality. Also, my best friend just died 30 minutes ago. I don’t know what to do with myself.
Daily Yoga, sunshine, and creative arts have helped me get thus far. I am an anthiest. I don’t know where to go from here except towards the inevitable, death. Any suggestions? James Player

* Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^