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Brand Name: Xanax

Generic Name: alprazolam

It is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks
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What is this medicine?

Xanax (al PRAY zoe lam) is a benzodiazepine. It is used to treat anxiety and panic attacks.

What should I tell my health care provider before I take this medicine?

They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
  • an alcohol or drug abuse problem
  • bipolar disorder, depression, psychosis or other mental health conditions
  • glaucoma
  • kidney or liver disease
  • lung or breathing disease
  • myasthenia gravis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • porphyria
  • seizures or a history of seizures
  • suicidal thoughts
  • an unusual or allergic reaction to alprazolam, other benzodiazepines, foods, dyes, or preservatives
  • pregnant or trying to get pregnant
  • breast-feeding

How should I use this medicine?

Take this medicine by mouth with a glass of water. Follow the directions on the prescription label. Take your medicine at regular intervals. Do not take it more often than directed. If you have been taking this medicine regularly for some time, do not suddenly stop taking it. You must gradually reduce the dose or you may get severe side effects. Ask your doctor or health care professional for advice. Even after you stop taking this medicine it can still affect your body for several days.

Talk to your pediatrician regarding the use of this medicine in children. Special care may be needed.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.

What may interact with this medicine?

Do not take this medicine with any of the following medications:
  • certain medicines for HIV infection or AIDS
  • ketoconazole
  • itraconazole

This medicine may also interact with the following medications:

  • birth control pills
  • certain macrolide antibiotics like clarithromycin, erythromycin, troleandomycin
  • cimetidine
  • cyclosporine
  • ergotamine
  • grapefruit juice
  • herbal or dietary supplements like kava kava, melatonin, dehydroepiandrosterone, DHEA, St. John's Wort or valerian
  • imatinib, STI-571
  • isoniazid
  • levodopa
  • medicines for depression, anxiety, or psychotic disturbances
  • prescription pain medicines
  • rifampin, rifapentine, or rifabutin
  • some medicines for blood pressure or heart problems
  • some medicines for seizures like carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenobarbital, phenytoin, primidone

What should I watch for while using this medicine?

Visit your doctor or health care professional for regular checks on your progress. Your body can become dependent on this medicine. Ask your doctor or health care professional if you still need to take it.

You may get drowsy or dizzy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs mental alertness until you know how this medicine affects you. To reduce the risk of dizzy and fainting spells, do not stand or sit up quickly, especially if you are an older patient. Alcohol may increase dizziness and drowsiness. Avoid alcoholic drinks.

Do not treat yourself for coughs, colds or allergies without asking your doctor or health care professional for advice. Some ingredients can increase possible side effects.

What side effects may I notice from receiving this medicine?

Side effects that you should report to your doctor or health care professional as soon as possible:
  • allergic reactions like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • confusion, forgetfulness
  • depression
  • difficulty sleeping
  • difficulty speaking
  • feeling faint or lightheaded, falls
  • mood changes, excitability or aggressive behavior
  • muscle cramps
  • trouble passing urine or change in the amount of urine
  • unusually weak or tired

Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or health care professional if they continue or are bothersome):

  • change in sex drive or performance
  • changes in appetite

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All visitors to AARP.org should seek expert medical care and consult their own physicians for any specific health issues. Read this disclaimer in its entirety.
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Note: This information is not intended to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions, or adverse effects for this drug. If you have question about the drug(s) you are taking, check with your health care professional.
 
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