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  • Generic Name: (alprazolam)
    Other Brands: Xanax
  • Last Revised: 05/2014
    • What is this medication and its most common uses?

      Xanax is a medicine used for the management of anxiety disorder, short-term relief of anxiety symptoms, and treatment of panic disorder.

      Xanax is a federally controlled substance because it has abuse potential.

    • What should I know when beginning and continuing on this medication?

      How does this medication work?

      Xanax works by slowing down your brain activity, thereby producing a calming effect.

      What are the beneficial effects of this medication and when should I begin to have results?


      Anxiety: Xanax has been shown to relieve anxiety, as measured by appropriate symptom rating scales that are commonly used by healthcare providers to evaluate the effectiveness of the medicine in people with such conditions.

      Panic Disorder: Xanax may reduce the number of panic attacks you experience.

      When: Everyone responds differently to treatment, so try to be patient and follow your healthcare provider's directions. It is important that you take Xanax exactly as your healthcare provider has prescribed.

      How do I know it is working?

      Your healthcare provider may ask you a series of questions from time to time, which will help assess how well your symptoms are controlled with treatment.

    • What are the possible side effects of this medication?

      The following is not a full list of side effects. Side effects cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Only your healthcare provider can determine if it is safe for you to continue taking this medication.

      More common side effects may include: drowsiness, lightheadedness.

      Less common side effects may include:

      Mental and physical dependence can occur. Keep Xanax in a safe place to prevent misuse and abuse.

      Seizures can occur if you stop taking Xanax or decrease your dose. Do not stop taking Xanax or change the dose without first talking to your healthcare provider.

      Early-morning anxiety and anxiety symptoms between doses of Xanax can occur in patients with panic disorder.

      Xanax can harm your unborn baby. Talk to your healthcare provider about other treatment options if you plan to become pregnant. Tell your healthcare provider right away if you become pregnant while taking Xanax.

    • Who should not take this medication?

      Do not take Xanax if you are allergic to it, any of its ingredients, or to other similar medicines (such as diazepam).

      Do not take Xanax if you have an eye condition called acute narrow-angle glaucoma (high pressure in the eye).

      Do not take Xanax in combination with itraconazole or ketoconazole.

    • What should I tell my healthcare provider before I take the first dose of this medication?

      Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter, and herbal medications you are taking before beginning treatment with Xanax. Also, talk to your healthcare provider about your complete medical history, especially if you have a history of alcohol or substance abuse; liver, kidney, or breathing problems; glaucoma; seizures; depression or suicidal tendencies; or if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What is the usual dosage?

      The information below is based on the dosage guidelines your healthcare provider uses. Depending on your condition and medical history, your healthcare provider may prescribe a different regimen. Do not change the dosage or stop taking your medication without your healthcare provider's approval.

      Anxiety Disorders and Temporary Symptoms of Anxiety

      Adults: The usual starting dose is 0.25-0.5 milligrams (mg) three times a day.

      Panic Disorder

      Adults: The usual starting dose is 0.5 mg three times a day.

      Your healthcare provider may increase your dose as needed until the desired effect is achieved.

      If you are elderly or have liver impairment, your healthcare provider may adjust your dose appropriately.

      It is important that you do not stop taking this medication abruptly. If you need to change or stop taking this medication, it is important that you only do this with the guidance of your healthcare provider.

    • How should I take this medication?

      Take Xanax exactly as prescribed by your healthcare provider. Do not change your dose or stop taking Xanax without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    • What should I avoid while taking this medication?

      Do not drink alcohol while you are taking Xanax.

      Do not drive a car, operate machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities until you know how Xanax affects you.

      Do not drink grapefruit juice without first talking to your healthcare provider.

    • What are the possible food and drug interactions associated with this medication?

      If Xanax is taken with certain other drugs, the effects of either could be increased, decreased, or altered. Xanax may interact with numerous medications. Therefore, it is very important that you tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking.

    • May I receive this medication if I am pregnant or breastfeeding?

      Xanax can harm your unborn baby if you take it during pregnancy. Xanax can be found in your breast milk if you take it while breastfeeding. Do not breastfeed while you are taking Xanax. Tell your healthcare provider immediately if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding.

    • What should I do if I miss a dose of this medication?

      If you miss a dose of Xanax, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you missed and return to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take two doses at once.

    • How should I store this medication?

      Store at room temperature.

    • Who should I contact in case of emergency or overdose?
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      In the event of a medical emergency call your doctor or 9-1-1 immediately. In the event of overdose, call your doctor or poison control for further instructions.
      National Poison Control#: Call 1-800-222-1222

      This PDR+ drug information has been developed by the Physicians’ Desk Reference Network (PDRN), a source of medication information trusted by doctors for over 65 years.

      This monograph summarizes the most important information about your medication and does not cover all the information you may need. If you have any questions or concerns or want to learn more about your medication, ask your healthcare provider; he/she will be able to provide answers to your questions. This medication should only be used by the patient for whom it was prescribed and should not be shared with other people.
    • Additional patient resources.
      back to top Use your PDR® Pharmacy Discount Card when you or a family member fills a prescription and ask for your PDR® Discount every
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