Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect. It works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body (GABA).
Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor. Dosage is based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment. Your dose may be gradually increased until the drug starts working well. Follow your doctor's instructions closely to reduce the risk of side effects.
When using this medication for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well. Along with its benefits, this medication may rarely cause abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lessen the risk of addiction. Withdrawal symptoms may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Report any withdrawal reactions immediately.
Some products that may interact with this drug include: kava, sodium oxybate.
Other medications can affect the removal of alprazolam from your body, which may affect how alprazolam works. Examples include azole antifungals(such as itraconazole, ketoconazole), cimetidine, certain anti-depressants (such as fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, nefazodone), drugs to treat HIV (delavirdine, protease inhibitors such as indinavir), macroantibiotics (such as erythromycin), rifamycins(such as rifabutin), St. John's wort, drugs used to treat seizures (such as carbamazepine, phenytoin), among others.
Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you also take drugs that cause drowsiness such as: certain antihistamines (such as diphenhydramine), medicine for sleep or anxiety (such as diazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers (such as codeine), psychiatric medicines (such as chlorpromazine, risperidone, amitriptyline, trazodone).
Check the labels on all your medicines (such as cough-and-cold products) because they may contain ingredients which cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about the safe use of those products.
Cigarette smoking decreases blood levels of this medication. Tell your doctor if you smoke or if you have recently stopped smoking.
Common side effects of Alprazolam include:
- Increased saliva production
- Change in sex drive/ability
If any of these effects persist or worsen, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.
To minimize dizziness and lightheadedness, get up slowly when rising from a seated or lying position. Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.
Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: mental/mood changes (such as hallucinations, thoughts of suicide), slurred speech or difficulty talking, loss of coordination, trouble walking, memory problems.
Get medical help right away if these rare but very serious side effects occur: yellowing eyes or skin, seizures.
A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, get medical help right away if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.