Xanax, which is the trade name for the drug Alprazolam, is a short-acting benzodiazepine that is used to manage a number of anxiety disorders and panic attacks. The drug is also used for treating other health conditions due to its effects like hypnotic, sedative, anxiolytic, skeletal muscle relaxant, antidepressant, and anticonvulsant properties. The anxiety medication is listed as prescription only and under the schedule class IV.

How does Xanax work?

The Xanax drug works by binding with the GABA receptors in the brain and altering the chemicals that may be imbalanced due to the condition. The calming effects are produced by enhancing the neurotransmitters. With regular doses, the peak effects of the drug for anxiety may be achieved in a week. Xanax works quickly in the system and the effects last for about eleven hours.

Dosage information

Xanax is available in the form of immediate release compressed tablets to be taken orally. The dosage strengths of 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, and 2mg contain the equivalent amount of Alprazolam. The healthcare provider would prescribe the lowest effective dose and titrate it accordingly. Inform the doctor if the drug does not seem to work anymore but do not change the dosage on your own. Get the doctor’s help to discontinue the drug as well, or else abruptly stopping the treatment would result in severe withdrawal symptoms. Xanax is indicated for short term use only.

How to use Xanax effectively?

The effective way to use Xanax is according to the instructions of the health provider. You should also follow the guidelines given on the prescription label. Do not share the pills with any person not prescribed to take it. The single dose should be taken whole by swallowing it without crushing or snorting the medication. Abusing the drug in any way can result in dangerous side effects, including tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Get your health checked regularly while on this anxiety medication.

Missed dose

The missed dose should be taken as soon as you remember to do so. Skip the dose entirely if it is closer to the schedule for the next dose. You should not take more medication to make up for the missed dose.


Overdosing on Xanax can be fatal, and so it should be right away without any delays. Signs of overdose may be muscle weakness, loss of balance, extreme drowsiness, feeling light-headed, and fainting.

Precautions of use

  • Avoid using the drug if you are allergic to the active ingredient Alprazolam.
  • Do not consume alcohol simultaneously while on this medication or there can be severe side effects.
  • Xanax should not be taken by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. The newborn can experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.
  • Inform the prescribing the doctor of all health conditions, especially if you have glaucoma, kidney or liver problems, heart diseases, history of depression or suicidal ideation, history of drug or alcohol abuse, or experience seizures.
  • The anti-anxiety medication can be habit-forming and potentially lead to addiction, for which it should be taken only with prescription.
  • The drug is not to be administered to any person below the age of 18.

Side effects

Common side effects

  • Feeling anxious in the morning
  • Trouble with memory
  • Lack of coordination
  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech

Severe side effects that require emergency medical assistance may be

  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Pounding heartbeats

Other drug interactions

Xanax should not be used along with other drugs that can make you to feel sleepy or slows down your breathing. Check with the doctor before using drugs like narcotic painkillers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, other anxiety meds, muscle relaxants, and prescription cough medication. Other drugs to be wary about are HIV medications, antifungals, and antibiotics.


The Xanax pills should be kept at room temperature, away from direct heat and moisture. Keep track of the pills consumed so that no one abuses it or uses it without a prescription.


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