What Is Xanax?

Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is a medication commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It is available by prescription only, and patients who use it have their health closely monitored to reduce the risk of developing dependence. Xanax is frequently prescribed as an extended-release tablet, and it is also available in immediate-release tablets, oral solutions, and injections. Patients who take Xanax orally usually start with a dose between 0.25 to 0.5 milligrams, and tablets are taken up to three times per day. Before prescribing Xanax, doctors will ask the patient about any history of narrow-angle glaucoma, kidney disease, asthma, epilepsy, or depression. Xanax may not be safe for patients with these conditions.

The uses, side effects, and potential drug interactions associated with Xanax are discussed below.

Class Of Medication

Xanax belongs to a class of medication known as benzodiazepines, which act on the central nervous system. They bind to the gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABA-A) receptors in the brain, making the brain’s nerves less sensitive to stimulation and producing a calming effect. Benzodiazepines are used to treat seizures, anxiety disorders, acute panic attacks, and sleep disorders. They are helpful in symptom management for patients undergoing alcohol withdrawal, and they are used in operating rooms to promote amnesia and relaxation before surgery. Some types of benzodiazepines are also prescribed as muscle relaxants. Lorazepam, clonazepam, estazolam, midazolam, oxazepam, and temazepam are among the more common benzodiazepines currently used in the United States. All benzodiazepines are classified as controlled substances because they can cause dependence in patients who use them. These medications are considered safe when prescribed for a short period such as on the day of an operation, and doctors safely prescribe them as short-term insomnia remedies for up to two weeks. Patients who take benzodiazepines for longer than two to four weeks are more likely to become dependent on the medication. Patients should discuss the risks and benefits of this class of medication with their doctor, and they might also wish to ask about alternative medications.

Get familiar with the uses and benefits of Xanax next.