Alprazolam (By mouth)

Introduction

Alprazolam (al-PRA-zoe-lam)

Treats anxiety, panic disorder, insomnia (trouble sleeping), and anxiety caused by depression. This medicine is a benzodiazepine.

Brand Name(s)

There may be other brand names for this medicine.

Xanax, Niravam, Xanax XR, Alprazolam, Alprazolam Intensol

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used

You should not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to alprazolam or to similar medicines (such as Valium®), or if you are pregnant. You should not use this medicine if you are also using ketoconazole (Nizoral®) or itraconazole (Sporanox®). You should not use this medicine if you have narrow angle glaucoma.

How to Use This Medicine

Tablet, Liquid, Dissolving Tablet, Long Acting Tablet

  • Your doctor will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Your dose may need to be changed several times in order to find out what works best for you. Do not use more medicine or use it more often than your doctor tells you to.
  • You may take this medicine with or without food.
  • Measure the oral liquid medicine with a marked measuring spoon, oral syringe, or medicine cup.
  • Swallow the extended-release tablet whole. Do not crush, break, or chew it.
  • If you are using the disintegrating tablet, make sure your hands are dry before you handle the tablet. Leave the medicine in the bottle until you are ready to take it. Place the tablet directly onto your tongue. After the tablet has melted, swallow or take a drink of water.
  • If you use only one half of the disintegrating tablet, throw away the other half. Do not store it for future use because the medicine will not be stable once you break the tablet.

If a dose is missed:

  • If you miss a dose or forget to use your medicine, use it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then to use the medicine and skip the missed dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • It is very important to protect this medicine from moisture. Remove and throw away any cotton packaging from the medicine bottle when you first use the medicine.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine away from children and never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are also using cyclosporine (Neoral®, Sandimmune®), diltiazem (Cardizem®, Tiazac®), fluconazole (Diflucan®), theophylline, or birth control pills.
  • Tell your doctor if you use antibiotics such as erythromycin or Biaxin®, ergot medicines such as Cafergot® or Wigraine®, seizure medicine such as Dilantin® or Tegretol®, or any medicine to treat mental illness. Make sure your doctor knows if you also use medicine to reduce stomach acid, such as cimetidine, omeprazole, ranitidine, Nexium®, Pepcid®, Prevacid®, Prilosec®, Tagamet®, or Zantac®.
  • Your doctor should know if you use heart or blood pressure medicine such as nicardipine, nifedipine, Adalat®, Cardene®, Cordarone®, or Procardia®. Tell your doctor if you use medicine for depression, such as Luvox®, Serzone®, Norpramin®, or Tofranil®.
  • Do not eat grapefruit or drink grapefruit juice while you are using this medicine.
  • Tell your doctor if you are using any medicines that make you sleepy. These include sleeping pills, cold and allergy medicine, narcotic pain relievers, and sedatives.
  • Do not drink alcohol while you are using this medicine.

Warnings While Using This Medicine

  • Using this medicine while you are pregnant can harm your unborn baby. Use an effective form of birth control to keep from getting pregnant. If you think you have become pregnant while using the medicine, tell your doctor right away.
  • Make sure your doctor knows if you are breast feeding. Tell your doctor if you have glaucoma, seizures, breathing problems, liver disease, or kidney disease. Tell your doctor if you have ever been addicted to drugs or alcohol, or if you have a history of depression or mental illness.
  • This medicine may be habit-forming. If you feel that the medicine is not working as well, do not use more than your prescribed dose. Call your doctor for instructions.
  • Taking too much of this medicine can cause death. Symptoms of an overdose include: Severe confusion, problems with memory or balance, shortness of breath, slow heartbeat, seizures, severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, increased sweating, and cold, clammy skin.
  • This medicine may make you dizzy or drowsy. Avoid driving, using machines, or doing anything else that could be dangerous if you are not alert.
  • Do not stop using this medicine suddenly without asking your doctor. You may need to slowly decrease your dose before stopping it completely.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine

Call your doctor right away if you notice any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing.
  • Change in how much or how often you urinate.
  • Confusion, drowsiness, muscle weakness, or problems with coordination.
  • Extreme weakness, slow heartbeat, or shallow breathing.
  • Lightheadedness or fainting.
  • Seizure.
  • Severe nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or increased sweating.
  • Twitching or muscle movements you cannot control.
  • Unusual behavior or thoughts of hurting yourself.
  • Yellowing of your skin or the whites of eyes.

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Change in appetite or weight.
  • Dry mouth, constipation.
  • Feeling jittery or nervous.
  • Hangover feeling, problems with memory.
  • Loss of interest in sex.
  • Mild nausea, vomiting.

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Review Date: 2011-02-04 Reviewed By: Keywords: ,
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