Xanax side effects, alprazolam information overdose, safety and long term use risk by Ray Sahelian, M.D.
March 15 2016


Xanax is a prescription medication used to treat anxiety and panic disorder. Alprazolam is the generic name for Xanax. Decades ago Valium was the popular anti anxiety pill, but now Xanax has become the drug of choice for stress and tension relief. Sometimes doctors give a prescription of Xanax as a sleep inducer. The onset of action is usually within one to two hours and the effects can last several hours. If you have an interest in natural ways to treat anxiety or natural ways to improve sleep.
   Xanax is an effective medication to treat stress and anxiety, but this drug should only be used at most twice a week, otherwise habituation and tolerance can develop. On days that you need a pill to help you relax or sleep, consider natural alternatives. This way you can still use the Xanax a couple of times a week, but you can also take advantage of natural herbs and supplements such as kava, passion flower, and 5-HTP.

Xanax information - method of action
In general, Xanax produces mild sedation by depressing activity in the central nervous system. In particular, Xanax appears to enhance the effect of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural chemical that inhibits the firing of neurons and dampens the transmission of nerve signals, thus decreasing nervous excitation and being helpful for those with an anxiety disorder.

Dosage of Xanax
Adults: Initial Xanax dosage is 0.5 mg a day, but can be increased to 0.5 mg twice or three times a day. Older adults: Initial Xanax dosage is 0.5 mg a day and preferably not more than one mg should be used in a day on a regular basis. Older adults are more likely to get Xanax side effects than younger individuals. Short-term therapy is preferred, and do not take the relaxation med for a longer period unless so advised by your doctor. Children: Xanax medication is not usually prescribed. Xanax safety and effectiveness have not been established for children under age 18.

Xanax side effects and caution
Use Xanax pill with caution. Xanax side effects such as drowsiness and dizziness may be more pronounced in older patients. A Xanax pill can impair mental alertness and physical coordination, ti causes low motivation and reduction in sexual urge and erectile function. Adjust your activities accordingly and do not drive or do hazardous work after taking a Xanax pill. Alcohol intake should be extremely moderate or stopped altogether while taking Xanax otherwise side effects can be worsened. A common side effect of Xanax and other sedatives such as Valium and benzodiazepines is loss or decrease in libido.
   Many people who take a Xanax pill regularly may notice trouble with their memory, particularly older individuals. Memory loss is a common Xanax side effect. For natural ways to deal with memory loss.


Xanax withdrawal
Benzodiazepines, often called "benzos," include Valium, Ativan, Xanax and Klonopin. Withdrawal from Xanax or other benzodiazepines includes numbness, apathy, nightmares, night sweats, headache, anxiety, tension, depression, insomnia, confusion, dizziness, derealization, short-term memory loss. and mental fog. Xanax changes how the brain processes neurotransmitters that calm a person down.
   There are several over the counter substances or supplements that may help reduce the withdrawal symptoms from Xanax. These include Phenibut which is a combination of phenyl-GABA, and also Picamilon which is a combination of niacin-GABA.


Xanax risk for traffic accidents
Cognitive, psychomotor and actual driving performance in healthy volunteers after immediate and extended release formulations of alprazolam 1 mg.
Psychopharmacology. 2007; Experimental Psychopharmacology Unit, Brain and Behavior Institute, Faculty of Psychology, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Xanax extended-release (XR) is approved for the treatment of panic disorder. This sustained Xanax formulation is absorbed in a delayed manner and is therefore expected to produce fewer and less severe side effects than its immediate release equivalent Xanax. The effect of Xanax XR on potentially dangerous daily activities, such as driving a car, is expected to be less as compared to Xanax. The present study was designed to compare the effects of Xanax XR (1 mg) and Xanax (1 mg) on actual driving ability and cognitive function. Eighteen healthy volunteers (aged 20-45 years) participated in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, three-way crossover study. At 4 h post-dose, subjects performed a standardized driving test on a primary highway in normal traffic. Both formulations severely impaired driving performance between 4 and 5 h after administration. The magnitude of impairment in the driving test observed with Xanax XR was about half that observed with Xanax. The acute impairing effects of Xanax XR 1 mg on driving and psychomotor functions were generally less, as compared to its immediate-release equivalent, but still of sufficient magnitude to increase the risk of becoming involved in traffic accidents.

Xanax Overdose symptoms
Those who overdose on Xanax will have extreme drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, slow reflexes, poor coordination, staggering gait, tremor, and slowed breathing. In severe Xanax overdose, loss of consciousness can occur.


Xanax and Pregnancy
Use of Xanax during pregnancy should be avoided if possible.

Xanax and Breast Feeding
Xanax medication passes into breast milk; do not take it while nursing.

Dependence on Xanax pill
Use of Xanax medication can lead to psychological or physical dependence. Short-term therapy (eight weeks or less) for an anxiety disorder or sleep problems is typical; patients should not take Xanax drug for a longer period unless monitored closely by their doctor.


Xanax withdrawal symptoms
Long term use of Xanax medication can lead to physiological dependence with unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Xanax withdrawal symptoms are dependent on how often you have used the drug and the dose you have taken. It makes sense that Xanax withdrawal symptoms would be more intense the longer you have taken the drug and the higher the dose.  Some of the Xanax withdrawal symptoms include depressed mood, panic attacks, restlessness and emotional instability such as uncontrolled crying. Some people may notice tremors, dizziness and difficulty in concentrating.

Xanax Drug Interactions
Other drugs may interact with a Xanax pill. Consult your doctor for specific advice if you are taking any drugs that depress the central nervous system; these include antihistamines, antidepressants or other psychiatric medications, barbiturates, sedatives, cough medicines, decongestants, and painkillers. Be sure your doctor knows about any over-the-counter medication you may take. There are certain natural supplements that act as sedatives and should be avoided while taking Xanax, otherwise side effects could worsen. These natural sedative herbs and nutrients include kava, hops, valerian, theanine, 5-HTP, passionflower, and tryptophan.

Disease Interactions
Before you take a Xanax pill, consult with your doctor if you have a history of alcohol or drug abuse, stroke or other brain disease, any chronic lung disease, hyperactivity, depression or other mental illness, myasthenia gravis, sleep apnea, epilepsy, porphyria, kidney disease, or liver disease.


Anorexia nervosa

Int J Eat Disord. 2014. The (lack of) effect of alprazolam on eating behavior in anorexia nervosa: a preliminary report. This study was not able to evaluate the causal role of anxiety in meal intake among individuals with AN, as alprazolam did not alter anxiety symptoms. These data further suggest that the therapeutic role for short-acting benzodiazepines in AN is likely limited.


Xanax is prescribed as tablets and as oral solution. Xanax XR is a newer formulation. This pharmaceutical drug s promoted as re-engineered for enhanced benefits. The company claims Xanax XR has a unique polymer matrix for sustained release and steady plasma levels with once-daily dosing. Apparently the onset of action is comparable to Xanax. Another claim is that Xanax XR has a lower incidence of side effects compared to a Xanax pill.


Q. Can Xanax and 5-HTP be taken together for anxiety? My daughter suffers from panic attacks. And is alergic to Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft. She does well on natural supplements. So I am curious if it would be safe for her to take the 5-HTP while taking a Xanax pill? She takes Xanax medication 2 times a day.
   A. Reactions to drug and nutrient combinations are not predictable since each person responds differently. The dosage and timing have an influence, intake with or without food can also make a difference, along with other supplements and drugs used at the same time. As a general rule we prefer not to mix psychiatric drugs with supplements that have an influence on neurotransmitter levels.


Q. Can Xanax be taken with diet pills? What about Xanax and alcohol?
   A. This is too broad a question. There are many types of diet pills on the market and Xanax may interfere with some and not others. See diet pill for more info. Xanax medication should definitely not be taken with alcohol since sedation and loss of balance can occur. Absolutely no driving or operating heavy machinery should ever be done with the combination of Xanax and alcohol.


My mother was given 1 mg of Xanax by her doctor for sleep. She took 2 pills one evening and the next morning when she got out of bed she fell and had to be taken to the emergency room.