Chemical Name: Alprazolam

Brand Name: Xanax (available in generic)

Manufacturer: Pharmacia and UpJohn

Description: Xanax is in the benzodiazapine class of central nervous system active compounds. The exact mechanism of action is unknown.

Indications and Usage: Xanax is indicated for the management of anxiety disorder or the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an antiolytic medication. Xanax is also indicated for the treatment of panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia.

Contraindications, Warnings, and Precautions: Certain adverse clinical events, some life-threatening, are a direct consequence of physical dependence to Xanax. Even after relatively short-term use at recommended doses, there is some risk for dependence. The risk is higher when taking doses over 4mg per day for longer than 8 to 12 weeks. The potential for psychological dependence is more of a risk in individuals with a history of alcohol or drug abuse. Addiction prone individuals should be under careful surveillance when receiving Xanax. DO NOT STOP TAKING XANAX ABRUPTLY. This can cause withdrawal reactions, including seizures. Signs of withdrawal may include heightened sensory perception, impaired concentration, dysosmia (distortion of normal smell perception), clouded sensorium, parasthesias, muscle cramps, muscle twitches, diarrhea, blurred vision, appetite decreases and weight loss. Anxiety and insomnia have also been reported. Withdrawal reactions may occur when dosage reduction occurs for any reason, including forgetting to take a dose. Xanax must be reduced gradually under the doctor's supervision. Xanax can potentially cause fetal harm in pregnant women. If Xanax is taken with other psychotropic agents or anticonvulsant drugs, careful consideration should be given to the pharmacology of the agents to be employed, particularly with compounds that may potentiate the actions of benzodiazepines. Alcohol should be avoided while taking Xanax. Xanax may interact with the following medications: imipramine, desipramine, fluoxetine, propoxyphene, oral contraceptives, diltiazem, isoniazid, macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin and clarithromycin, and cimetidine.

Adverse Reactions: Possible common side effects include drowsiness and light-headedness. Less common side effects may include headache, confusion, restlessness, psychosis, transient hypotension, tachycardia, dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, constipation and visual disturbances.

Dosing Range: Dosing should be individualized for maximum beneficial effect. Dosing can range from 0.25mg per day to 4mg per day. Some individuals may require more depending on a variety of factors.

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2000 Red Oak Psychiatry Associates, P.A.    Updated 11/26/2007