Xanax Usage, Instructions and Side Effects

Xanax is commonly used to treat anxiety and other fear-based mental disorders. There are a few side effects that are quite common so you need to carefully work with your doctor.

Xanax is part of a group of medications known as benzodiazepines, which are prescribed to help reduce abnormal excitement in the brain. Those who are prone to anxiousness are typically prescribed Xanax to help manage their symptoms. In most cases you will be started on a low base dose of Xanax and increased to the necessary amount to help treat your symptoms as necessary. Xanax is intended to be used alongside other forms of therapy to help manage your symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the appropriate way to take Xanax and what other treatments are necessary to help monitor your condition effectively.

Indications and Usage

Xanax is commonly known as by its generic name Alprazolam, and is used to help treat anxiety disorders including panic disorders. In some cases doctors may prescribe Xanax to help treat agoraphobia (the fear of open spaces), premenstrual syndrome or depression. This drug is available as a traditional tablet, disintegrating tablet or extended-release tablet. You may also be prescribed a liquid form of this medication. These are all intended to be taken orally two to four times a day, at least once in the morning. If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember unless it is close to the point where you should take your next dose. Do not double up doses to make up for those you have missed.

If you are taking a disintegrating tablet you should drink a glass of water to ensure that your dose is absorbed properly. The liquid form should be mixed into a beverage, applesauce or pudding. This mixture should not be combined until you are ready to consume your dose. Do not crush, break or chew your tablets when you consume your dose to avoid your dose entering your system too quickly and causing an adverse reaction. You will need to store the liquid form of Xanax in a refrigerated space to help keep the integrity of the medication.

Xanax Dosage

Most adults are started on a low dose of Xanax for the first 3 to 4 days of their prescription. This will be increased to help effectively address your needs. Adults are typically given .25 to .5 mg up to three times a day when they are using the medication to treat anxiety. Those using this medication for a panic disorder are typically given 4 mg daily. The minimum effective dose of Xanax is .25 mg per day. Doses for any disorder should not exceed 10 mg per day.

Children who are still developing should not take Xanax as they are at a higher risk for developing severe side effects. Those with liver disease and elderly patients are often restricted to .25 mg 2-3 times per day to ensure that they can pass the medication from their system at an effective rate. These groups will also need to be tested for their reaction to benzodiazepines before they start taking Xanax to ensure that they will not develop adverse side effects. Those getting ready to have surgery may need to restrict their usage as Xanax may interact poorly with anesthesia.

Xanax Side Effects

Almost 77 percent of Xanax users report drowsiness when they take their prescription. Almost half users claimed that these symptoms were extreme, listing their symptoms as fatigue. These symptoms can get better as your body gets used to the medication, but you may need to adjust your prescription if your symptoms are severe.

Other common symptoms that Xanax users report include coordination issues occurring in approximately 40 percent of users, irritability in 33 percent of users, memory issues in 33 percent of users and decreased appetite in nearly 33 percent of users. Other patients have reported speech problems, changes in sex drive, talkativeness, unusual dreams, constipation, increases salivation, weight loss, dry mouth, menstrual changes or nasal congestion. In most cases these side effects were not severe and did not result in the patient ceasing to use their medication. If you develop any of these symptoms, discuss it with your doctor to determine whether or not you need to adjust your mediation.

More serious reactions to Xanax include depression, suicidal thoughts, hostility and aggression, hallucinations, balance difficulties, lightheadedness and yellowing of the skin or eyes. These symptoms are not common, but may be a sign of a serious reaction. Inform your doctor immediately if these symptoms begin to occur. However, you should not stop taking your medication unless you are specifically instructed to by a medical professional to avoid a negative reaction due to withdrawal.

In some cases, allergic reactions to Xanax have occurred. If you notice rash, hives, itching or swelling that are unexplained, contact poison control or your doctor right away. If your symptoms are severe or you begin to have difficulty breathing, contact emergency medical services for assistance.

Xanax can be habit forming and may cause withdrawal symptoms when you cease to use this medication. Do not stop taking Xanax suddenly or take more of this medication than you have been prescribed. If you notice someone taking a higher dose of Xanax than they should or if they tend to become shaky, suffer from headaches, seizures or coordination issues then contact their doctor to inform them of a potential withdrawal situation that might be developing. If you are ready to stop taking Xanax, talk with your doctor about starting a step-down system you can use to avoid suffering from withdrawal.

If you begin to feel extreme drowsiness, coordination issues, confusion or loss of consciousness you may be suffering from an overdose. If you notice someone who takes Xanax has stopped breathing or has collapsed, call emergency medical services immediately. They will inform you how to proceed to get this person to safety.

Pregnant women should avoid Xanax due to the potential for fetal harm. In studies, cases of congenital abnormalities were reported in patients using Xanax in the first and third trimesters of their pregnancy. Patients should carefully talk this risk over with their doctors if they are using Xanax before they become pregnant or as soon as they discover they are pregnant. You will need to determine whether or not you should decrease your dosage or completely eliminate your Xanax usage to decrease your risk.


You should inform your doctor about any prescriptions you are taking before you start taking Xanax. Some medications, such as amiodarone, antidepressants and mood elevators, antifungal medication, antihistamines, medications to treat mental illness, chronic pain suppressors, contraceptives, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, seizure medication and serotonin inhibitors may react negatively with Xanax. These medications can increase the risk of side effects or lead to an overdosing reaction due to similar ingredients in the medications. Inform your doctor and dentist about your Xanax use as you may need to avoid anesthesia while you are on this medication.

Xanax is known for interacting with St. John's wort and grapefruit. Talk to your doctor if you are regularly taking supplements or are on a diet that contains these substances. You may need to restrict your use of these products while you are using Xanax. Inform your doctor regarding any supplements you take regularly so they can help you avoid potentially negative reactions.



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