Alprazolam /ælˈpræzəlæm/ (trade name Xanax, available among other generic names) is a short-acting anxiolytic of the benzodiazepine class of psychoactive drugs. Alprazolam, like other benzodiazepines, binds to specific sites on the GABAA gamma-amino-butyric acid receptor. Alprazolam is commonly used and FDA approved for the medical treatment of panic disorder, and anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder (SAD). Alprazolam is available for oral administration in compressed tablet (CT) and extended-release capsule (XR) formulations. Alprazolam possesses anxiolytic, sedative, hypnotic, skeletal muscle relaxant, anticonvulsant, and amnestic properties.

Alprazolam has a fast onset of action and symptomatic relief. Ninety percent of peak benefits are achieved within the first hour (although onset may begin at 8-25 minutes of ingestion) of using either preparation for panic disorder, and full peak benefits are achieved in 1.5 and 1.6 hours respectively. Peak benefits achieved for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) may take up to a week. Tolerance to the anxiolytic/antipanic effects is controversial with some authoritative sources reporting the development of tolerance, and others reporting no development of tolerance; tolerance will however, develop to the sedative effects within a couple of days. Withdrawal symptoms or rebound symptoms may occur after ceasing treatment abruptly following a few weeks or longer of steady dosing, and may necessitate a gradual dose reduction.

Alprazolam is the most prescribed and the most misused benzodiazepine on the U.S. retail market. The potential for abuse among those taking it for medical reasons is controversial with some expert reviews stating that the risk is low and similar to that of other benzodiazepine drugs and others stating that there is a substantial risk of abuse and dependence in both patients and non-medical users of alprazolam and that the pharmacological properties of alprazolam, high affinity binding, high potency, having a short elimination half-life as well as a rapid onset of action increase the abuse potential of alprazolam. Compared to the large number of prescriptions, relatively few individuals increase their dose on their own initiative or engage in drug-seeking behavior. Alprazolam is classified as a schedule IV controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Read more about Alprazolam:  Medical Uses, Pregnancy and Lactation, Contraindications, Adverse Effects, Detection in Body Fluids, Pharmacology, Pharmacokinetics, Chemistry, History

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Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Syndrome - Controversy
... After only eight to 9 weeks of alprazolam (Xanax) taken at a fixed, prescribed dose, the following symptoms have been found to occur during abrupt discontinuation dysphoria, fatigue, low energy, confusion ... who had been taking doses of lorazepam and alprazolam equivalent of 60 mg of diazepam ... was then switched from the lorazepam and alprazolam to only 7 mg of diazepam per day ...
Fear Of Flying - Treatment - Pharmacologic
... In the first flight, though patients given alprazolam (Xanax) reported less anxiety than those receiving a placebo, their measurable stress increased ... The heart rate in the alprazolam group was 114 versus 105 beats per minute in the placebo group ... Those who received alprazolam also had increased respiration rates (22.7 vs 18.3 breaths/min) ...
Alprazolam - Society and Culture - Legal Status
... In the United States, alprazolam is a prescription drug and is assigned to Schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act by the Drug Enforcement Administration ... In the UK, alprazolam is not available on the NHS and can only be obtained on a private prescription ... Internationally, alprazolam is included under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances as Schedule IV ...