Xanax tablets contain the active ingredient alprazolam, which is a type of medicine called a benzodiazepine. (NB. Alprazolam tablets are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.) Benzodiazepines are used for their sedative and anxiety-relieving effects.
Benzodiazepines work by acting on receptors in the brain called GABA receptors. This causes the release of a neurotransmitter called GABA (gamma amino butyric acid) in the brain.
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that are stored in nerve cells in the brain and nervous system. They are involved in transmitting messages between the nerve cells. GABA is a neurotransmitter that acts as a natural 'nerve-calming' agent. It helps keep the nerve activity in the brain in balance, and is involved in inducing sleepiness, reducing anxiety and relaxing muscles.
Alprazolam increases the activity of GABA in the brain and therefore increases its calming effect. This helps decrease anxiety and also causes drowsiness and relaxation of muscles.
Alprazolam is used for the treatment of severe anxiety, including anxiety associated with depression. It should only be used when the disorder is severe, disabling or subjecting the individual to extreme distress. It is only suitable for short-term use, as the medicine has a high potential for dependence and addiction.
Alprazolam remains active in the body for many hours and, as a result, any drowsiness it causes may last into the next day.
This medicine should not be used if you are allergic to one or any of its ingredients. Please inform your doctor or pharmacist if you have previously experienced such an allergy.If you feel you have experienced an allergic reaction, stop using this medicine and inform your doctor or pharmacist immediately.
Certain medicines should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, other medicines may be safely used in pregnancy or breastfeeding providing the benefits to the mother outweigh the risks to the unborn baby. Always inform your doctor if you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, before using any medicine.
Medicines and their possible side effects can affect individual people in different ways. The following are some of the side effects that are known to be associated with this medicine. Because a side effect is stated here, it does not mean that all people using this medicine will experience that or any side effect.
The side effects listed above may not include all of the side effects reported by the drug's manufacturer.For more information about any other possible risks associated with this medicine, please read the information provided with the medicine or consult your doctor or pharmacist.
It is important to tell your doctor or pharmacist what medicines you are already taking, including those bought without a prescription and herbal medicines, before you start treatment with this medicine. Similarly, check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any new medicines while taking this one, to ensure that the combination is safe.
There is an increased risk of drowsiness and sedation if alprazolam is taken with other drugs that can cause drowsiness, including the following:
The following medicines may increase the blood level of alprazolam and therefore increase the risk of its side effects. (Some of these medicines are not recommended for use in combination with alprazolam, while others may be used with caution. You should tell your doctor if you feel excessively sleepy or get any other side effects if you start treatment with one of these while taking alprazolam - your doctor may need to reduce your dose of alprazolam.)
The following medicines may decrease the blood level of alprazolam, making it less effective:
Alprazolam may increase the blood level of digoxin, used to treat abnormal heart beats and heart failure. This could lead to an increase in the side effects of digoxin and so your doctor may need to reduce your digoxin dose if you take both these medicines together.
Alprazolam may also affect (increase or decrease) the blood level of the anti-epileptic medicine phenytoin.
Alprazolam tablets are also available without a brand name, ie as the generic medicine.