Also Known As: Alazopram, Xanax
Alprazolam (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 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. 90% of peak benefits are achieved within the first hour 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 does not appear to develop to the anxiolytic effects but may 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 is low and is similar to that of other benzodiazepine drugs. 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 C IV controlled substance by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).