Alprazolam

Brand names of alprazolam

  • Alprazolam Intensol
  • Alti-Alprazolam
  • Apo-Alpraz
  • Gen-Alprazolam
  • Med-Alprazolam
  • Novo-Alprazol
  • Nu-Alpraz
  • Xanax

Alprazolam is a medicament that is used to cure anxiety disorders and belongs to the family of medications called benzodiazepines, which also include clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), flurazepam (Dalmane), lorazepam (Ativan) and several others. All benzodiazepines, including alprazolam, work by augmenting the consequences of gamma-aminobutyric acid (also called GABA) in our brain. In effect, GABA is basically a neurotransmitter (chemical compounds produced as well as released by nerve cells to send signals to one another) that slows down the actions within the brain. It is understood that too much action within the brain may possibly result in anxiety or additional psychiatric problems.

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Things you need to tell your physician before taking alprazolam

Before beginning treatment with alprazolam, you need to tell your physician and pharmacist whether or not you have allergies to this drug, clonazepam (Klonopin); chlordiazepoxide (Librax, Librium); clorazepate (Tranxene); flurazepam (Dalmane); estazolam (ProSom); diazepam (Valium); prazepam (Centrax); halazepam (Paxipam); quazepam (Doral); triazolam (Halcion); oxazepam (Serax); temazepam (Restoril) or any different drugs.

Let you physician or pharmacist know about all the additional prescription plus non-prescription medicaments, dietary supplements and vitamins you may be taking from before. Also tell them if you are using any herbal remedy, particularly St. John's wort.

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Inform your physician if you are suffering from glaucoma (a condition in which the pressure of the liquid inside the eyes is elevated and may possibly result in blindness). It is most likely that your physician will advise you against using alprazolam if you are enduring glaucoma.

Prior to taking alprazolam, you also need to let your physician know if you ever suffered from or are still having depression; thoughts about committing suicide or inflicting self injury; if you have been or are a heavy drinker or an alcoholic; if you have previously used or currently use any street drug; if you have overused or still overuse any prescription drug; whether or not you smoke tobacco; if you earlier had or even now have seizures; or if you endured or are enduring any ailment related to the heart, liver or kidneys.

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Women ought to tell their physician whether or not they are pregnant, planning to conceive or breast feeding. Call your physician right away if you become pregnant or suspect that you have conceived during therapy with alprazolam, as this drug may possibly cause harm to the still born baby.

People who are 65 years old or even older should discuss the advantages as well as risks of taking alprazolam. In fact, aged people should be prescribed low doses of this medication, as elevated doses may possibly not be more effective, but augment the grave side effects of the medicament.

This medication is likely to make you feel drowsy. Therefore, it is advisable that you avoid any type of activity requiring alertness, for instance, operating machines or driving till you are certain that you can perform such activities safely. Before you start using alprazolam, you should talk to your physician about the measure of alcohol you may take safely while taking the drug. Remember, alcohol has the potential to worsen the side effects of using alprazolam.

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Before going in for any type of surgery, may be even a dental process, you need to inform your surgeon or the dentist beforehand that you are being treated with alprazolam.

Usage

Alprazolam is prescribed for patients suffering from anxiety disorder as well as panic attacks. You can distinguish anxiety disorders from other conditions as they are marked by concerns and nervousness that are unrealistic and result in symptoms such as aches, restiveness, shuddering, difficulty in breathing, palpitations, perspirations, suffocating feelings, flushing, dizziness, cold sweaty hands, difficulty in concentrating, amplified startled reactions and wakefulness. One may experience panic attacks all of a sudden or in specific circumstances (for instance, while driving), and they may require alprazolam in larger doses to recuperate.

How to use alprazolam

Alprazolam is available in a number of forms, including tablets; extended-release or long-acting tablets; orally dissolving tablets (those that quickly liquefy inside the mouth); as well as a concentrated liquid (solution) and all of them are taken orally. The solution, orally disintegrating as well as the standard tablets are normally taken twice to four times every day, whereas the extended-release (long-acting) tablets are taken only once every day, normally during the morning. Go through the instructions on the prescription label thoroughly and if you fail to understand any part of it or have any query, seek the help of your physician or pharmacist. It is essential to take alprazolam strictly as you have been directed by your physician.

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Use a dropper that was made available with the medication while taking the concentrated solution form of alprazolam. Draw the amount of medicine prescribed by your physician into the dropper and squeeze the contents of the dropper into any fluid or partially solid food, for instance, water, soda, fruit juice, pudding or applesauce. Mix the medication in the food tenderly for some seconds to completely mix the liquid medication with your preferred food and gulp or eat the whole blend right away. Never store the mixture for use later on.

If you are using alprazolam in the orally disintegrating tablet form, take it out of the bottle in which it came only before it is time to take it. Open the bottle with waterless hands, take out the tablet and put the tablet on the tongue. The tablet will liquefy in a few seconds and you will be able to gulp it down with your saliva. These tablets may be taken along with or with no water. It is essential that you only swallow these tablets as a whole and never ever break, crush or chew them.

In all probability your physician will prescribe a small dose of alprazolam when you start treatment and increase the dose gradually; however, not in excess of once in every three to four days.

You ought to know that alprazolam may turn out to be an addiction. Never take this medication in additional dosage, more frequently or for a period more than what your physician has prescribed. Also never discontinue alprazolam or lessen its dose without consulting your physician. Sudden discontinuation of this medicament may result in symptoms like headaches; vomiting; diarrhea; convulsions; blurred vision; uncontrollable shuddering; enhance sensitivity to light or noise; perspiration; alteration in your smell sense; problems in concentrating; nervous anxiety; depression; problems in sleeping or keeping awake; aggressive behaviour; tetchiness; twitching of muscles; muscle cramps; lack of sensation, pain and/ or a burning sensation; weight loss; loss of appetite; and/ or itchiness in the hands or feet. Before you stop taking alprazolam, your physician is likely to tell you to gradually reduce the dosage of the medication.

How alprazolam works

Normally, alprazolam works by generating a gentle drowsiness by means of slowing down the activity within the central nervous system. It especially seems to augment the consequences of the neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid or GABA, which slows down the triggering of neurons and, at the same time, inhibits the conduction of signals from the nerves, thereby, lessening the excitement of the nerves.

Side effects

Serious:
Common:
  • dizziness
  • drowsiness
  • light-headedness
  • loss of coordination
  • slurred speech
  • unsteady gait
Less common:
  • change in sexual ability or desire
  • constipation
  • false sense of well-being
  • nausea and vomiting
  • urinary problems
  • unusual fatigue

Possible interactions

Herbal medicines or minerals:
Using valerian and kava is likely to worsen the inhibition of the activities in the central nervous system. Hence, it is advisable to avoid using these herbs in conjunction with alprazolam. Siberian ginseng, mate, kola nut and ephedra may possibly diminish the advantages of using this medicament. Although the use of St. John's wort is recommended for treating anxiety, this herb is also likely to enhance cytochrome P450 enzymes and may have an inclination to dull the efficacy of alprazolam when used in conjunction. In addition, St. John's wort may possibly deteriorate the photosensitivity owing to the use of alprazolam further.
Beverages:
If you are taking alprazolam you should keep away from taking beverages that contain too much caffeine, for instance, coffee, cola and tea. Drinking these neutralizes the actions of this medicament. However, you may take alprazolam with milk.
Alcohol:
You should use alcohol with great prudence while undergoing therapy with alprazolam, because alcohol has the potential to enhance the tranquilizing consequences of this drug. In addition, this medicament may possibly also enhance the inebriating actions of alcohol. In case you find it difficult to drive or undertake any activity that involves some amount of risk, it is advisable that you stop drinking alcohol all through the day as well as night.
Tobacco smoking:
People using alprazolam should quit, or at least restrict their habit of smoking tobacco, because people who are heavy smokers may find it difficult to calm down their nerves.
Exposure to sun:
Alprazolam should be used very cautiously. Although rare, it has been reported that the use of this drug results in photosensitivity.

Discontinuation

If you have been using alprazolam for a prolonged period you should not discontinue it all of a sudden. It is advisable that you reduce the dosage of alprazolam gradually by 1 mg every week till you reach the full daily dosage of 4 mg of the medication. Subsequently, you should slowly decrease the dosage of the medication by 0.5 mg every week till you reach the full daily dosage of 2 mg and through 0.25 mg every week after that. Talk to your physician and seek his/ her assistance before discontinuing alprazolam.

Storage instructions

Alprazolam should ideally be stored at the normal temperature of your living room and kept in a dark and dry place. Never keep this medication in your bathroom. In addition, ensure that you keep all medicaments outside the reach of children as well as pets. Provided you have not been told otherwise, by no means dispose of medications that are required no more or have become unviable by washing them out through your toilet or throwing them in a drain. Ensure that all such products are discarded in a proper and safe manner. If necessary, consult your pharmacist or a company engaged in waste disposal in your neighbourhood for further information in this regard.

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