Generic name: Alprazolam.

Xanax is a benzodiazepine tranquilizer. It reduces the activity of certain chemicals in the brain.

Quick Facts About Xanax


Used to treat symptoms of anxiety and anxiety associated with depression. Also prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, depression, premenstrual syndrome, alcohol withdrawal, fear of open spaces, and fear of people.

Xanax Dosage

Take with food or full glass of water if stomach irri-tation occurs. With long-term use, dependence and tolerance can occur. You may experience withdrawal symptoms if you abruptly stop taking this medication. Only your doctor should discontinue or change your dosage.

  • Usual adult dose: for anxiety disorder — 0.25 to 0.5 milligrams taken 3 times per day. Dose may be increased every 3 to 4 days to a maximum of 4 milligrams per day divided into smaller doses. For panic disorder — starting dose is 0.5 milligrams taken 3 times per day, increased by I milligram per day every 3 or 4 days. Most people are prescribed 5 to 6 milligrams per day. For seniors — 0.25 milligram taken 2 or 3 times per day to start. Doctor may gradually increase if necessary. For people with liver or kidney disease — generally prescribed lower doses.
  • Usual child dose: not generally prescribed for children.
  • Missed dose: take as soon as possible, unless within 1 hour of next dose. In that case, do not take missed dose; go back to regular schedule. Do not double doses.

Xanax Side Effects

Overdose symptoms:

An overdose of Xanax, combined with or without alcohol, can be fatal.

Overdose symptoms may include: confusion, coma, impaired coordination, sleepiness, slowed reaction time. If you suspect an overdose, immediately seek medical attention.

Most common side effect is mild drowsiness during the first few days of therapy.

Other more common side effects: abdominal discomfort, abnormal involuntary movement, agitated state, allergies, anxiety, blurred vision, chest pain, confusion, constipation, decreased or increased sex drive, depression, diarrhea, difficult urination, dream abnormalities, dry mouth, fainting, fatigue, fluid retention, headache, hyperventilation, inability to fall asleep, increase or decrease in appetite, increased or decreased salivation, impaired memory, irritability, lack of coordination, light-headedness, low blood pressure, irregular menstrual cycle, muscular twitching, nausea and vomiting, nervousness, palpations, rapid heartbeat, rash, restlessness, ringing in the ears, sexual dysfunction, skin inflammation, speech difficulties, stiffness, stuffy nose, sweating, tiredness or sleepiness, tremors, upper respiratory infections, weakness, weight gain or loss. Side effects due to decreased dosage or withdrawal from Xanax: blurred vision, decreased concentration, decreased mental clarity, diarrhea, heightened awareness of noise or bright lights, impaired sense of smell, loss of appetite, loss of weight, muscle cramps, seizures, tingling sensation, twitching.

Less common Xanax side effects: abnormal muscle tone, concentration difficulties, decreased coordination, dizziness, double vision, dry mouth, fear, hallucinations, hiccups, inability to control urination or bowel movements, infection, itching, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, muscle spasticity, rage, sedation, seizures, sleep disturbances, slurred speech, stimulation, talkativeness, taste alterations, temporary memory loss, tingling or pins and needles, uninhibited behavior, urine retention, warm feeling, weakness in muscle and bone, weight gain or loss, yellow eyes and skin.


Inform your doctor before combining Xanax with:

antihistamines such as Benadryl and Tavist; Carbamazepine (Tegretol); certain antidepressant drugs including Elavil, Norpramin, and Tofranil; Cimetidine (Tagamet); Digoxin (Lanoxin); Disulfiram (Antabuse); major tranquilizers such as Mellaril and Thorazine; oral contraceptives; other central nervous system depressants such as Valium and Demerol.

Alcohol may increase sedative effects; do not drink alcohol when taking this medication.

Special Cautions

If pregnant or planning to become pregnant, do not take; may cause birth defects. Increased risk of respiratory problems and muscular weakness in your baby. Infants may experience withdrawal symptoms. May appear in breast milk; could affect a nursing infant.

Seniors have heightened sensitivity and are prescribed lower doses.

Not generally prescribed for children.

  • If you have had an allergic reaction to this or other tranquilizers, you should not take Xanax. Can aggravate narrow-angle glaucoma; however, if you have open-angle glaucoma, you may take it.
  • Should not be used for more than 3 to 4 months at a time.


HealthSurvey.org provides accurate and independent information prescription pills, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have questions about  dosage, or Xanax side effects, please contact your healthcare provider