Alprazolam is a short-acting anti-anxiety medication which belongs to the benzodiazepine class. Other drugs that belong to this class include Diazepam (Valium), Lorazepam (Ativan), Clonazepam (Klonopin), and Flurazepam (Dalmane). These types of medications provide a soothing effect to the brain and nerves, therefore making it useful in treating panic disorders. Medications in this class also heighten the effect of gamma-amino butyric-acid, an amino acid that impedes the transfer of impulses to the brain.
Alprazolam is in a form of a tablet. It is not an over-the-counter drug; therefore a thorough prescription from a physician is needed to be able to buy it. It isn’t recommended to take it without having prescription, because it may be habit-forming. Too much intake with the medication could perhaps cause addiction.
It is also necessary to keep it in a place with a temperature range of 15-30 ⁰C or 59-86⁰F. It can be taken with or without meals. The usual dosage to aid anxiety disorders is as follows: starting dose is 0.25-0.5mg to be taken three times daily. This can be raised 3-4 times every day reaching to 4mg maximum. For panic attacks, the starting dose is 0.5mg and it could increase 3-4 days up to 1mg. The effective dose for panic attacks could reach up to 6mg daily.
Alprazolam interacts with drugs like Ketoconazole (Nizoral), Cimetidine (Tagamet), Itraconazole (Sporanox), Nefazodone (Serzone), and Fluvoxamine (Luvox). When used with these medicines, the volume of the drug inside the bloodstream might significantly boost. Additionally it is believe to have this similar influence when taken with fruit or fruit juices, grapefruit in particular. Furthermore, this medicine also interacts with alcohol and other medications like barbiturates and narcotics. These chemicals amplify the drug’s slowing effect for the CNS’s activities and sedation too.
This medication is in pregnancy category D, which means it, should not be taken when a woman is pregnant, since it could possibly cause abnormalities on the fetus. It is also not advisable for breastfeeding mothers because it can be secreted along with the breast milk and could affect infants.
Like any other drug, Alprazolam also has its side effects. The most popular of it can be drowsiness or lightheadedness. Other outcomes consist of changes in mentation, mood, appetite, and speech.
This drug is taken in a prescribed period of time and it should not be taken beyond that. A possibility of dependency to the drug could occur. If the drug is not taking effect like it was supposed to, do not increase dose or extend the span of time the medication should be taken without consulting your physician. Any changes on the medication therapy should be referred to the physician.
If the medication is to be discontinued, it should be done in such a way that the dosage is decreased little by little, not abruptly. Doing so could lead to occurrence of withdrawal symptoms like difficulty falling asleep, lightheadedness, vomiting, anxiety, fatigue, headache, nausea, sweating, and in extreme cases seizure could occur.