|Working||Works by acting on the brain and CNS
to produce a calming effect
|Kicks In||5-10 min to less than an hour|
|Treatment Period||Up to 6 weeks|
Xanax is a prescription for people suffering with anxiety. It is a short-acting tranquilizer that belongs to the family of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It is prescribed for short-term management of anxiety. In some cases, it can be used to treat panic disorders (with or without a fear of places) and insomnia. Some other uses may include medicament for chemotherapy-induced nausea, etc.
How does Xanax work?
Xanax is quickly absorbed once taken and the drug’s concentration usually peaks at about 1 or 2 hours following administration. Xanax works by manipulating the effects of gamma amino-butyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that works by inhibiting usual functioning of the brain. And it is believed that excessive functioning in the brain leads to anxiety and similar types of disorders. So, once working of GABA is enhanced, the irregularities in the functioning of brain are controlled. So, Xanax produces a depressant effect on synaptic transmissions in the brain to reduce anxiety. The result is a calm and relaxed sort of feeling.
Xanax is usually prescribed for short-term management of anxiety. So, effectiveness is limited to only 4 weeks and should be consulted with the doctor thereafter. Do not take a high dose of this medicine for anxiety or you may develop symptoms of reversible depression.
This medicine is also prescribed for treatment of panic disorders, with or without agoraphobia (fear of places that may embarrass). However, it is suggested as a second option for this issue. Effectiveness can last for about 4 to 10 weeks.
Xanax along with certain other drugs is used for treatment of chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.
You should start with 0.25 – 0.5 mg immediate-release tablets 3 to 4 times a day. Dosage can be increased to a maximum of 4 mg per day, with a gap period of every 3-4 days (but not more than 1 mg daily). This medicine is taken orally with or without food.
Read the prescription usage guide as suggested by your doctor or your pharmacist. Do not take Xanax on your own. Inform your doctor beforehand about any medication or any supplements you are taking. Certain drugs can interfere with your normal body metabolism, interact with Xanax and affect the way it works.
You should start with lowest effective dosage so that the drug acclimatizes with your body. Do not stop this medication suddenly as sudden discontinuation of Xanax can cause consequential withdrawal symptoms.
After you take this medicine for a longer period, your body may become used to the drug or it may not work well. Your doctor may increase or decrease your dosage to reduce your discomfort.
If you have a substance use disorder for e.g., abuse or overuse, you may be at a higher risk as this drug is habit-forming and can cause addiction.
Xanax can be habit-forming. Its misuse can create addiction, overdose, or death of the user. It can be abused by taking multiple pills, injecting or snorting as it produces a sense of calmness and relaxation.
Symptoms of overdose include:
- Change or loss in consciousness
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Constricted, small pupils (black part of the eye)
- Decreased responsiveness
- Extreme drowsiness
- No muscle tone or movement
- Severe sleepiness
“Rambo effect” may be observed with high doses, which is identified by seeing puzzling hurdles. Patient displays behaviour that is not common with him/her. Symptoms may include aggression, hyperactivity, rage, twitches and tremor.
Common side effects include:
- Increased saliva production
- Changes in sex drive.
Serious side effects may include mood changes (hallucinations or thoughts of suicide), trouble speaking, loss of coordination, trouble in movement of limbs, memory issues. Seek medical help immediately once you observe these types of side effects. Serious side effects also may include yellowing of skin and seizures.
Do not take Xanax tablets if you are allergic to any of its ingredients. Get medical help if you see any symptoms of an allergic reaction, including rash, itching/swelling, severe dizziness, trouble breathing, although allergic symptoms are rare.
Serious and life-threatening, or lethal respiratory depression has been reported with the use of Xanax, even when used as prescribed.
Xanax can have some sort of effects on the ability to drive and work on machines. So, dizziness is occasionally noticed in people working on any sort of machines. Inform your doctor if you are having alcohol or any other type of beverage.
Rare side effects can include constipation, change in weight, headache, dry mouth, speech problems.
Use of Xanax during pregnancy is not advised as it can lead to morphological alterations in the developing fetus and also severe levels of withdrawal symptoms to the mother. Symptoms can be abnormal sleep patterns, vomiting, diarrhea, irritability and failing to gain weight. You should also avoid breastfeeding as Xanax is secreted through breast milk which can affect nursing infants.
Fluvoxamine, cimetidine, ketoconazole can interact with Xanax and increase its concentration in blood causing more severe side effects. Inform your doctor if you are having alcohol as this medication can interact with alcohol and lead to suppression of brain activity, resulting in sedation, behavioral changes, and intoxication.
Increased metabolism and excretion of Xanax can be produced because of carbamazepine and rifampin drugs.
Use of Xanax with other opioids can be associated with respiratory depression and sedation to the patient or user. When used along with herb kava, it can produce a semi-comatose state.
Remember to keep this drug out of the reach of children. Use this drug only as prescribed by your doctor and not on your own.
Do not take Xanax tablets if you are allergic to any of its additives. Also, do not take multiple pills or it can cause overdosing and severe side effects.
Dizziness is noticed occasionally in people working on any sort of machines. Inform your doctor if you are having alcohol.
Xanax can interact with several other medicines which can cause various abnormal effects. So, it is advised to inform your doctor beforehand about all your prescriptions and non-prescription drugs or any sort of supplements you are taking. This can save your life.
Do not discontinue this medication abruptly or it may lead to some withdrawal symptoms and comeback of severe pain.
- Store the tablets in a dark place with controlled room temperature 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F).
- Keep the tablets out of the reach of children.
- When medicines are no longer in use, they should be disposed off on time.
- If the pack has expired, do not consume the pills.
- Store in a tight, light-resistant container with a child-resistant safety and closure.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does Xanax work?
Xanax works by manipulating the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that works by inhibiting the usual functioning of the brain. And it is believed that excessive functioning in the brain leads to anxiety and similar types of disorders. So, once the working of GABA is enhanced, the irregularities in the functioning of the brain are controlled.
Can Xanax cause erectile dysfunction?
Yes, drugs like Xanax can cause erectile dysfunction in some cases. Anything that depresses nerves can cause ED.
Are Xanax and Ativan the same thing?
Both the medicines can treat anxiety. The main difference lies in Ativan leaving a person’s body more easily and quickly as compared to Xanax. Also, Xanax is less interactive with other drugs.
When does Xanax stop working?
Having a relatively shorter half-life, it normally stops working after 4 hours of dosage.
Who needs Xanax?
Xanax is prescribed for those people suffering from anxiety disorders. Xanax is also prescribed for the treatment of panic disorders in people, with or without agoraphobia (fear of places that may cause embarrassment).
Will Xanax make you gain weight?
Regular use of Xanax makes people feel tiring. It can lead to weight gain.
Are Xanax bad for your liver?
Secretion of liver enzymes is increased using Xanax which leads to liver inflammation. Combined with alcohol, it can cause damage to your liver.