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Drug

Alprazolam

Pronounced

"al-PRA-zoe-lam"

Uses

This medication is used to treat the panic and anxiety symptoms associated with panic disorder. Alprazolam 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).

Warning

Taking alprazolam with opioid medications (such as codeine, hydrocodone) may increase your risk of very serious side effects, including death. To lower your risk, your doctor should have you take the smallest dose of alprazolam that works, and take it for the shortest possible time. Get medical help right away if any of these very serious side effects occur: slow/shallow breathing, unusual lightheadedness, severe drowsiness/dizziness, difficulty waking up.

How to Use This Medication

Read the Medication Guide provided by your pharmacist before you start taking alprazolam and each time you get a refill. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Take this medication by mouth as directed by your doctor, usually once daily in the morning. Do not take with a high-fat meal because doing so can increase the risk of side effects. Do not crush or chew extended-release tablets. Doing so can release all of the drug at once, increasing the risk of side effects. Also, do not split the tablets unless they have a score line and your doctor or pharmacist tells you to do so. Swallow the whole or split tablet without crushing or chewing. 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.

If you suddenly stop using this medication, you may have withdrawal symptoms (such as seizures). To help prevent withdrawal, your doctor may lower your dose slowly. Withdrawal is more likely if you have used alprazolam for a long time or in high doses. Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you have withdrawal.

Though it helps many people, this medication may sometimes cause addiction. This risk may be higher if you have a substance use disorder (such as overuse of or addiction to drugs/alcohol). Take this medication exactly as prescribed to lower the risk of addiction. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

When this medication is used for a long time, it may not work as well. Talk with your doctor if this medication stops working well.

Tell your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

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Information expires December 2020.