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All about: Xanax

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Generic Name: Alprazolam Tablets (al-PRAY-zoe-lam)
Brand Name: Xanax

Xanax is used for:

Treating anxiety and panic disorder. It may also be used to treat other conditions as determined by your doctor.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine. It works by slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain. This results in a reduction in nervous tension (anxiety).

Do NOT use Xanax if:

  • you are allergic to any ingredient in Xanax or other benzodiazepines (eg, diazepam)
  • you have acute narrow-angle glaucoma, severe liver disease, or a mental state where contact with reality is lost (psychosis)
  • you are taking an azole antifungal (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole), delavirdine, or sodium oxybate (GHB)

Contact your doctor or health care provider right away if any of these apply to you.

Before using Xanax :

Some medical conditions may interact with Xanax . Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have any medical conditions, especially if any of the following apply to you:

  • if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • if you are taking any prescription or nonprescription medicine, herbal preparation, or dietary supplement
  • if you have allergies to medicines or other substances
  • if you have glaucoma or a predisposition for glaucoma, liver problems, lung problems or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), muscle problems, depression, suicidal tendencies, a blood disorder known as porphyria, or a history of substance abuse or dependence

Some MEDICINES MAY INTERACT with Xanax . Tell your health care provider if you are taking any other medicines, especially any of the following:

  • Rifampin or St. John's wort because the effectiveness of Xanax may be decreased
  • Azole antifungals (eg, itraconazole, ketoconazole), cimetidine, clozapine, delavirdine, fluvoxamine, HIV protease inhibitors (eg, ritonavir), fluoxetine, macrolides and ketolides (eg, erythromycin, azithromycin), nefazodone, omeprazole, propoxyphene, sodium oxybate (GHB), or valproic acid because side effects such as increased sedation or heart problems may occur
  • Clozapine, hydantoins (eg, phenytoin), or valproic acid because the actions and side effects of these medicines may be increased

This may not be a complete list of all interactions that may occur. Ask your health care provider if Xanax may interact with other medicines that you take. Check with your health care provider before you start, stop, or change the dose of any medicine.

How to use Xanax :

Use Xanax as directed by your doctor. Check the label on the medicine for exact dosing instructions.

  • Xanax may be taken with or without food. If stomach upset occurs, take with food to reduce stomach irritation.
  • Avoid eating grapefruit or drinking grapefruit juice while you are being treated with Xanax .
  • If you miss a dose of Xanax and you are using it regularly, take it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not take 2 doses at once.

Ask your health care provider any questions you may have about how to use Xanax .

Important safety information:

  • Xanax may cause drowsiness, dizziness, lightheadedness, or blurred vision. Do not drive, operate machinery, or do anything else that could be dangerous until you know how you react to Xanax . Using Xanax alone, with certain other medicines, or with alcohol may lessen your ability to drive or to perform other potentially dangerous tasks.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking other medications that cause drowsiness (eg, sedatives, tranquilizers) while taking Xanax . Xanax will add to the effects of alcohol and other depressants. Ask your pharmacist if you have questions about which medicines are depressants.
  • Do not smoke while using Xanax . Cigarette smoking decreases blood levels of Xanax . Tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have recently stopped smoking.
  • Use Xanax with caution in the ELDERLY because they may be more sensitive to its effects.
  • Xanax is not recommended for use in CHILDREN; safety and effectiveness have not been confirmed.
  • PREGNANCY and BREAST-FEEDING: Xanax has been shown to cause harm to the human fetus. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Xanax during pregnancy. Xanax is excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Xanax .

When used for long periods of time or at high doses, Xanax may not work as well and may require higher doses to obtain the same effect as when originally taken. This is known as TOLERANCE. Talk with your doctor if Xanax stops working well. Do not take more than prescribed.

Xanax may be habit-forming and lead to DEPENDENCE if used in high doses or for a long period of time. If you are on long-term or high dosage therapy, you may have WITHDRAWAL symptoms (eg, convulsions, tremor, stomach and muscle cramps, vomiting, sweating) if you suddenly stop taking this medicine. Do not stop therapy abruptly or change dosage without asking your pharmacist or doctor. Discuss overuse with your doctor or pharmacist.

Possible side effects of Xanax :

All medicines may cause side effects, but many people have no, or minor, side effects. Check with your doctor if any of these most COMMON side effects persist or become bothersome:

Attention disturbance; blurred vision; changes in weight; clumsiness; constipation; decreased appetite; decreased sex drive; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; dry mouth; flu; headache; impaired coordination/balance; increased salivation; joint pain; lightheadedness; nausea; nervousness; pounding in the chest; rapid heartbeat; restlessness; skin inflammation; sleeplessness; sweating; unsteadiness; unusual weakness; vomiting; weakness.

Seek medical attention right away if any of these SEVERE side effects occur:

Severe allergic reactions (rash; hives; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue); depression; fainting; involuntary movements; memory impairment.

This is not a complete list of all side effects that may occur. If you have questions or need medical advice about side effects, contact your doctor or health care provider. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 (1-800-332-1088) or at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

Contact 1-800-222-1222 (the American Association of Poison Control Centers), your local poison control center (http://www.aapcc.org/findyour.htm), or emergency room immediately. Symptoms may include loss of consciousness; loss of coordination; severe confusion; severe drowsiness or deep sleep; slow reflexes.

Proper storage of Xanax :

Store Xanax at room temperature between 68 and 77 degrees F (20 and 25 degrees C) away from heat, moisture, and light. Do not store in the bathroom. Keep Xanax out of the reach of children and away from pets.

General information:

  • If you have any questions about Xanax , please talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
  • Xanax is to be used only by the patient for whom it is prescribed. Do not share it with other people.
  • If your symptoms do not improve or if they become worse, check with your doctor.

This information is a summary only. It does not contain all information about Xanax . If you have questions about the medicine you are taking or would like more information, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Issue Date: September 5, 2007
Database Edition 07.3.1.003
Copyright © 2007 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc.

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