What is Alprazolam?
Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peen). It affects chemicals in the brain that may be unbalanced in people with anxiety.
Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression.
Alprazolam may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
You should not take alprazolam if you have:
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- if you are also taking itraconazole or ketoconazole; or
- if you are allergic to alprazolam or to other benzodiazepines, such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax).
To make sure this medicine is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:
- seizures or epilepsy;
- kidney or liver disease (especially alcoholic liver disease);
- asthma or other breathing disorder;
- open-angle glaucoma;
- a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior;
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction; or
- if you also use a narcotic (opioid) medication.
Do not use Alprazolam if you are pregnant. This medicine can cause birth defects. Your baby could also become dependent on the drug. This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Use effective birth control to prevent pregnancy while you are taking this medicine.
Alprazolam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. You should not breast-feed while you are using this medicine.
The sedative effects of Alprazolam may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking alprazolam.
Alprazolam is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
This medicine may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person for whom it was prescribed.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Alprazolam may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away:
- difficulty concentrating
- dry mouth
- increased salivation
- changes in sex drive or ability
- nausea- constipation
- changes in appetite
- weight changes
- difficulty urinating
- joint pain
Some side effects can be serious. The following symptoms are uncommon, but if you experience any of them, call your doctor immediately:
- shortness of breath
- seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist (hallucinating)
- severe skin rash
- yellowing of the skin or eyes
- depression- memory problems
- problems with speech
- unusual changes in behavior or mood
- thinking about harming or killing yourself or trying to do so
- problems with coordination or balance
Alprazolam may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
How should I take alprazolam?
Take Alprazolam exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Never use this medicine in larger amounts, or for longer than prescribed. Tell your doctor if the medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your symptoms.
Do not crush, chew, or break an extended-release tablet. Swallow the pill whole. It is specially made to release medicine slowly in the body. Breaking the pill would cause too much of the drug to be released at one time.
Measure the liquid form of alprazolam with a special dose-measuring spoon or cup, not a regular table spoon. If you do not have a dose-measuring device, ask your pharmacist for one.
Do not swallow the orally disintegrating tablets whole. Allow it to dissolve in your mouth without chewing.
Do not drink alcohol while taking Alprazolam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.
Call your doctor if this medicine seems to stop working as well in treating your panic or anxiety symptoms.
Do not stop using Alprazolam suddenly, or you could have unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Ask your doctor how to safely stop using alprazolam.
If you use this medicine long-term, you may need frequent medical tests.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
Keep track of the amount of medicine used from each new bottle. Alprazolam is a drug of abuse and you should be aware if anyone is using your medicine improperly or without a prescription.