Why is this medication prescribed?
Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic disorder (sudden, unexpected attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks). Alprazolam is in a class of medications called benzodiazepines. It works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain.
How should this medicine be used?
Alprazolam comes as a tablet, an extended-release tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet (tablet that dissolves quickly in the mouth), and a concentrated solution (liquid) to take by mouth. The tablet, orally disintegrating tablet and concentrated solution usually are taken two to four times a day. The extended-release tablet is taken once daily, usually in the morning. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take alprazolam exactly as directed.
To take the concentrated liquid, use only the dropper that came with your prescription. Draw into the dropper the amount prescribed for one dose. Squeeze the dropper contents into a liquid or semisolid food such as water, juice, soda, applesauce, or pudding. Stir the liquid or food gently for a few seconds. The concentrated liquid will blend completely with the food. Drink or eat the entire mixture immediately. Do not store for future use.
Remove the orally disintegrating tablet from the bottle just before it is time for your dose. With dry hands, open the bottle, remove the tablet, and immediately place it on your tongue. The tablet will dissolve and can be swallowed with saliva. The orally disintegrating tablet can be taken with or without water.
Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not chew, crush, or break them.
Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of alprazolam and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 3 or 4 days.
Alprazolam can be habit-forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or take it for a longer period of time than prescribed by your doctor. Do not stop taking alprazolam or decrease your dose without talking to your doctor. If you suddenly stop taking alprazolam you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as seizures; shaking of a part of your body that you cannot control; headache; blurred vision; increased sensitivity to noise or light; change in sense of smell; sweating; difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep; difficulty concentrating; nervousness; depression; irritability; aggressive behavior; muscle twitching or cramps; diarrhea; vomiting; pain, burning, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet; a decrease in appetite; or weight loss. Your doctor will probably decrease your dose gradually.
Other uses for this medicine
Alprazolam is also sometimes used to treat depression, fear of open spaces (agoraphobia), and premenstrual syndrome. Talk to your doctor about the possible risks of using this medication for your condition.
This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.