Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Mental health

Xanax

(Alprazolam)

Prescription onlyLower-cost generic availableClass: Mental health
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Helps you relax.

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Our bottom line

Xanax (Alprazolam) is okay for occasional or short-term use (up to 4 weeks) for anxiety, and longer-term for panic attacks. More likely to cause withdrawal symptoms compared to similar drugs.

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Upsides

  • Effective at relieving short-term anxiety.
  • Effective longer-term for panic attacks.
  • Can be used together with antidepressants to manage anxiety disorders. Especially helpful for anxiety symptoms while you wait for an antidepressant to kick in (it can take several weeks).
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Downsides

  • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Compared to other benzodiazepines, more likely to cause withdrawal if you take it for a long time and then stop suddenly.
How it works

Xanax (Alprazolam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine. It affects neurotransmitters in the brain and calms the nervous system. This reduces anxiety and can cause sleepiness.

What to expect when you take Xanax (Alprazolam) for Anxiety

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Side effect rates for Xanax (Alprazolam)

1070 From clinical trials of Xanax / Anxiety
  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness
  • Dry mouth
  • Low mood disorder
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep difficulty

Risks and Warnings for Xanax (Alprazolam)

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    • Higher risk if:
    • History of drug abuse
    • Taking with alcohol or drugs
    • Taking more than 4 mg/day or longer than 12 weeks
    • Stopping Xanax (Alprazolam) suddenly

    Xanax (Alprazolam) has a risk of physical and psychological dependence. The risk is greater if you take more than 4 mg per day or use it longer than 12 weeks. Decreasing the dose or stopping the medication can make panic attacks and anxiety come back just as bad or worse than before starting treatment, or cause withdrawal symptoms including seizures, confusion, muscle cramps and twitching, diarrhea, and blurred vision. The risk of seizures is greatest 24 to 72 hours after the last dose. Get help from a doctor to increase your dose or discontinue treatment; it's dangerous to do so on your own. Don't use alcohol or drugs while taking Xanax (Alprazolam).

Common concerns from people taking Xanax (Alprazolam)

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Pregnancy
Alcohol
  • Can be habit-forming, so it's not typically used for long-term treatment, or for people who've had problems with drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Not safe to use with alcohol.
  • Do not drink alcohol with this medication. You will most likely black out and will not remember what you did. Similar to the effects of Ambien when mixed with alcohol
Kidneys and liver
  • Processed by the liver, so might not be the best choice if you have liver problems.
Sleep
  • Can cause memory problems, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion.
  • Can cause temporary dizziness and drowsiness.
  • Worth the drowsiness and zombie-like affect it gives me when I'm suffering from a full-blown panic attack or have had a few days of insomnia. Must be careful not to use it regularly because it's very addictive.
  • I take it at night to help me sleep and it still keeps me calm the following day. I am petite and sensitive to most medications so maybe that's why it lasts longer for me.
  • Taken only sporadically for intense anxiety. It helped immensely with anxiety, but the drowsiness/out of it/sad feeling I was left with wasn't so great.