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Generic Name: Alprazolam

Drug Class: Antianxiety Agent

Table of Contents

Alprazolam Alprazolam-extended-release-oral-tablet






Xanax (alprazolam) is used to treat patients with anxiety disorders, e.g., social anxiety disorder (SAD) or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), as well as panic disorder.  It works by enhancing the action of the nerve transmitter GABA, which in turn blocks higher brain centers.

This information is for educational purposes only. Not every known side effect, adverse effect, or drug interaction is in this database. If you have questions about your medicines, talk to your health care provider.

Xanax changes certain chemicals in the brain, which professionals refer to as “neurotransmitters.” It is not yet well-understood why changing these neurochemicals results in symptom relief for the conditions this drug is commonly prescribed for.

How to Take It

Follow the directions given to you by your doctor. This medicine is taken by mouth with water and can be taken with or without food. Avoid drinking grapefruit juice with this medicine. Alprazolam is typically taken 3 times daily as needed.

Side Effects

Side effects that may occur while taking this medicine include:

  • drowsiness
  • increased saliva production
  • dizziness
  • change in sex drive/ability

Contact your doctor immediately if you experience:

  • yellowing eyes or skin
  • seizures
  • mental/mood changes (e.g., thoughts of suicide or hallucinations)
  • difficulty talking / slurred speech
  • trouble walking
  • memory issues
  • loss of coordination

Warnings & Precautions

  • Before using this medication, tell your doctor your medical history, especially of: liver or kidney disease, severe lung/breathing problems (such as sleep apnea, COPD), drug or alcohol abuse, or glaucoma.
  • Avoid alcohol with this medicine due to dizzy/drowsy effects.
  • There are some risks of dependence with this medicine, if taken over a period of time.
  • Do NOT drive a car or perform other tasks that may be dangerous, until you know how this medicine affects you.
  • For an overdose, seek medical attention immediately. For non-emergencies, contact your local or regional poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.


This medicine should not be taken with ketoconazole or intraconazole. If you are taking either of these medications, notify your doctor before taking this medicine. Certain antibiotics such as clarithromycin or erythromycin when taken with alprazolam can increase its effects.

Dosage & Missed Dose

Xanax should be taken exactly as prescribed by your doctor.

Xanax may be prescribed 2 to 4 times a day. Tablets are available in strengths of 0.25 milligrams (mg), 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg.

If you miss a dose, take your next dose as soon as you remember. If it is time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Do not double doses.


Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed.


This medicine should not be used if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. This medicine can cause harm to your fetus. For breast-feeding mothers, check with your doctor to discuss any possible risks to your baby while taking this medicine.

More Information

For more information, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider, or you can visit this website, for additional information from the manufacturer of this drug.


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APA Reference
Psych Central. (2018). Xanax. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Oct 2018
Last reviewed: By Christine Traxler, M.D.
Published on All rights reserved.