Alprazolam is a medication for treating panic disorder and general anxiety disorder. It belongs to the drug class called benzodiazepine, which acts on the brain and the central nervous system to produce an immediate calming effect by enhancing the effectiveness of certain natural chemicals in the body.
Alprazolam is available in different forms, which include an oral solution, disintegrated tablets, and extended-release tablets, all to be taken by mouth. It is also available in different strengths depending on your condition.
The dosage for alprazolam will recommended by your doctor or pharmacist based on your condition. Alprazolam IR oral tablets are to be taken by mouth; IR means immediate release, which means the drug is released all at once into the body system. It is available in four strengths: 2mg, 1mg, 0.5mg, and 0.25mg.
The drug is taken three times daily to treat panic disorder and generalised anxiety disorder. Still, you will start on low doses and gradually increase it every 3 to 4 days until your doctor finds a dose well suited for your condition.
If you have used alcohol or opioid medication, alprazolam can make it difficult to breathe and can stop breathing; so if you find it hard to wake up, have slow breathing, and have blue-coloured lips, you should contact your doctor immediately.
Other side effects include:
- Shallow or weak breathing.
- Increased energy and less need for sleep.
- Double vision.
- Racing thoughts or agitation.
- Drowsiness or dizziness.
If you stop taking this medication due to the uncomfortable and sometimes life-threatening side effects, you need to contact a doctor right away, especially when you notice withdrawal symptoms like sudden or severe changes in mood and behaviour, unusual muscle movement, ringing in your ears, memory or thinking problem, confusion, anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Some important things to discuss with your doctor before taking alprazolam include your allergies, general health, and other medications you are taking. By all means, do not misuse this drug and stick with the prescription. Any misuse can cause addiction, overdose or death, and this also means this drug should be kept away from children and should not be self-prescribed. Do not stop using the drug without consulting your doctor.