Alprazolam, sold under the brand name Xanax, among others, is a short-acting tranquilizer of the triazolobenzodiazepine class, which are benzodiazepines fused with a triazole ring. It is most commonly used in the short-term management of anxiety disorders, specifically panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder.
Alprazolam (Xanax) belongs to a group of drugs called benzodiazepines. People use Xanax to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It is the single most prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States.
What is Xanax?
Xanax is an antianxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family. This is the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others.
Xanax works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in October 1981.
Benzodiazepines act on the brain and central nervous system (CNS) to produce a calming effect.
Xanax slows down the movement of brain chemicals that may have become unbalanced, resulting in a reduction in nervous tension and anxiety. Xanax works by boosting the effects of a natural chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is made in the brain.
To ensure the safe and effective use of benzodiazepines, doctors will provide the following guidance to anyone with a Xanax prescription:
- People should inform their doctor about any alcohol consumption and any medications they are currently taking, including over-the-counter (OTC) medications. People generally should not consume alcohol while taking benzodiazepines.
- Doctors do not recommend Xanax for use in pregnancy. A person should inform their doctor if they are pregnant, are planning to have a child, or become pregnant while they are taking this medication.
- People should inform their doctor if they are breastfeeding.
- Until a person experiences how Xanax affects them, they should not drive a car or operate