Xanax

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What is Xanax?

 

is the brand name for alprazolam. It’s a psychoactive drug, meaning that the drug is a chemical substance that acts primarily to affect the central nervous system in order to affect brain functions, such as behavior, understanding thought, consciousness, mood and perception. Alprazolam is mostly used to treat people who are suffering from anxiety and panic disorders. It is sometimes used to treat nausea for patients who are taking chemotherapy drugs to treat cancer. It belongs to a class of drugs known as benzodiazepines.


The chemical name for alprazolam is 8-Chloro-1-methyl-6-phenyl-4H-s-trizolo [4,3-α] [1,4] benzodiazepine. Alprazolam cannot be dissolved in water, but it’s soluble in ethanol or methanol.
Alprazolam works fast, with 90 percent of the major effects of the drug taking place within the initial hour after taking the drug. Some patients notice changes as early as eight to 25 minutes after taking this drug, but the full effects of alprazolam usually aren’t noticed until 90 to 96 minutes after ingesting the drug. When alprazolam is used to treat an anxiety disorder, the full effects of the drug might take as long as an entire week.


Xanax comes in a tablet form and usually includes three scores along the tablet. The dosage of the full tablet is two milligrams of alprazolam. After splitting the Xanax tablet in half along the middle score line, the dosage of each half equals one milligram of alprazolam. Splitting each half tablet of Xanax in half, thereby making one-fourth of the original full Xanax tablet, results in 0.5 milligrams of alprazolam. There are also tablets that can be prescribed containing 0.25 milligrams of alprazolam. There is an extended release version of Xanax, which is taken first thing in the morning. Xanax also comes as a tablet that dissolves in the mouth. Another version of Xanax is administered with food, such as pudding, applesauce, soda, juice or water, as a concentrated liquid solution using an eyedropper.
Inactive ingredients in a Xanax tablet include FD&C blue Number 2 in a one milligram tablet, FD&C yellow number 6 in a 0.5 milligram tablet, sodium benzoate, silicon dioxide, magnesium stearate, lactose, docusate sodium, corn starch and cellulose.

 

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How Should Xanax (alprazolam) Be Taken?

 

It’s important to use the exact amount and for the precise amount of time between doses as prescribed by your doctor. Extended-release tablets are never meant to be chewed, crushed or broken and should be swallowed whole. Since they’re manufactured for a slower release into your body, breaking these tablets allows for a faster release of the active ingredient in Xanax, which could create serious side effects (see Xanax Side Effects, below). This form of Xanax should always be taken orally with a glass of liquid.


The liquid form of Xanax should be calibrated using the specific dosage measuring spoon provided with the medication. A kitchen teaspoon or tablespoon should never be used when deciding the dosage of liquid Xanax. When the special measuring spoon is not with the medicine, you should contact your pharmacist in order to get one.


The form of Xanax that is meant to dissolve in your mouth shouldn’t be swallowed whole. Allow this form of the drug to melt in your mouth without chewing the pill.

 

How Does Xanax Work?

 

Xanax, or alprazolam, slows down uncharacteristic agitation in the brain that causes anxiety. Though scientists fail to understand exactly how alprazolam works, they do know that it binds to specific nerve cells in the brain and in the process, depresses activity of the brain. Alprazolam produces a calming effect for most people. The effect of this drug varies with dosage and between individuals, ranging from a slight diminished ability to perform tasks to a hypnotic state.

 

Success Rate of Xanax

 

For patients who are diagnosed as possessing anxiety that is linked to depression, or just plain anxiety, alprazolam administered in amounts of four milligrams per day for a four week period results in considerably improved conditions as compared to patients who were taking a placebo.
A study performed over a 10 week period on patients who suffered from a panic attack, with alprazolam taken in doses ranging from two to six milligrams per day, resulted in 37 to 83 percent of the patients not witnessing a panic attack once the full effects of the drug were noticed.
After Xanax is used for an extended period of time, its effectiveness can diminish. A patient who is taking Xanax should tell their doctor if the drug stops working, or if the condition being treated by Xanax gets worse or continues.

 

Common Xanax Dosage

 

The most common form of taking Xanax is orally in a tablet form with a liquid. Most prescriptions of Xanax begin as a low dosage, which is increased gradually over time at a rate of not more than once every three to four days. Starting doses are often at the 0.25 milligram level. It is rare to see dosages greater than 10 milligrams per day. Since alprazolam is habit-forming, it is never recommended to take larger or more frequent doses than administered by your physician.


The risk of side effects (see Xanax Side Effects, below) is kept to a minimum when the patient strictly follows the physician’s directions on dosage amounts. Sometimes the effect Xanax has on a patient cannot be felt until dosages larger than initially administered amounts are reached, but potential side effects dictate starting the drug in lower doses. Seizures can also be felt if Xanax is suddenly stopped (see Xanax Side Effect, below), so gradual decreases in dose amounts are required when the drug is discontinued.

 

Xanax should be stored at room temperature and away from light and moisture. Since it’s an addictive drug, it’s best not to store it in the bathroom and it should be kept away from pets and children. Since alprazolam is an abused drug, make sure to keep track of how much of this drug is used in each bottle, so that you can easily determine if any medication is missing.