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There are about 20 million Americans prescribed Xanax each year for various conditions. Xanax is a drug used to treat a variety of physical, emotional, medical and mental conditions and is considered to be one of the safer benzodiazepines on the market. Its generic name is alprazolam, and it is also branded as Xanax XR (extended release) or Niravam. It should never be taken without a prescription from a qualified health professional, and only at the dosage recommended by that professional.

Reasons Xanax is Prescribed

  • Depression
  • Panic disorders
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Pre-operation (for those patients with dental or medical “procedure anxiety”)
  • Alcohol withdrawal

Potential Dangers and Side Effects

XanaxAs with every prescription drug, there are potential dangers and side effects that could accompany the use of Xanax. Only a small percentage of non-elderly people that are prescribed Alprazolam experience one or more of these effects (about 4 percent), but that number is about 25 percent for geriatric patients. Read below for specific information regarding the elderly. This list is not comprehensive and only includes the most commonly experienced and reported negative interactions. You should always contact a doctor or other certified medical professional if you are or may be experiencing adverse reactions to any medication.

Some of these include:

  • Increased depression, anxiety or panic attacks
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or suicidal thoughts
  • Drowsiness or a lack of energy
  • Problems remembering recent events
  • Poor balance and issues with coordination
  • Rapid heart rate, heart flutters or a pounding heartbeat
  • Increased or unexplained hostility
  • Lack of understanding or confusion
  • Tremors, seizures or other convulsions
  • Unexplained increase or decrease in energy
  • Hallucinations

Some patients experience allergic reactions when taking Alprazolam. Even after repeated use, these reactions may appear suddenly or violently. Should you find yourself with a rash, hives, swelling of your extremities or throat, or have difficulty breathing, stop taking the medication and seek emergency medical assistance immediately.

Adverse Interactions

Xanax is known to interact negatively with certain drugs and other substances. Remember to always check with your physician before starting or stopping a prescription drug.

Due to the sedating, relaxing nature of this pharmaceutical, it is not recommended that you operate a vehicle or heavy machinery while taking this drug. Alcohol and grapefruit juice are also reactive substances with Xanax and can cause negative cognitive consequences in the future. If you have a history of alcohol or other substance abuse, notify your doctor to ensure you are not at risk. Certain medical conditions and medications make it unsafe for you to take Xanax.

Some of these are:

  • Narrow-angle glaucoma
  • Epilepsy or other convulsive disorders
  • Open-angle glaucoma
  • Allergies to other benzodiazepines (Librium, Tranxene, Valium, Ativan, Serax, etc.)
  • If you have been prescribed and are taking itraconazole, ketoconazole or other azole anti-fungal medications
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Asthma
  • Pregnancy

Administering Xanax

For your safety, Xanax should only be swallowed in pill form and at the recommended dose prescribed to you by your physician. Crushing, cutting, grinding, chewing, snorting or injecting this drug can prove harmful and even fatal. Do not share or sell your pills to anyone for whom it was not prescribed; this is against the law and could cause serious injury or death. Should you accidentally miss a dose, take your missed dose as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose. Never take more medication than is prescribed, as this could lead to overdose.

Symptoms of Overdose

If you suspect you or someone you know accidentally takes too much Xanax and you start to see symptoms of overdose (feeling faint or light-headed, more drowsiness than usual, coordination or balance problems, passing out or muscle weakness) call 911 or the Poison Control Center (800-222-1222) immediately.

Important Notes About Xanax and the Elderly

Geriatric patients stand to benefit the least and risk the most when it comes to Xanax and other drugs in the benzodiazepine family. The elderly are especially susceptible to the sedating effects of Xanax, so an increased chance of falling and causing injury (usually hip fractures) is more likely. Older patients are also at greater risk of chemical dependency, in addition to being impacted more frequently by a loss of memory or false memory recall. Where dementia exists, the symptoms are known to be exacerbated with the prescription of Xanax.

Xanax is a useful drug for treating many conditions, as long as its use is prescribed and monitored by a qualified doctor or other health professional. Though, as with any drug, the potential for adverse reactions, interactions and side effects exist, Xanax is believed to be safe when taken as prescribed.

The purpose and scope of this article are intended to be informational only, and should not be construed or used as a diagnosis or medical advice. Always remember to seek information from your physician before beginning or ending a prescription drug regimen.

Call Today for Information About Xanax and Addiction Treatment

For Xanax addiction and abuse, the only solution for a total recovery is addiction rehab. This process can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the severity of the addict’s condition. The addict will go through classes and cleansing periods where they will rid themselves mentally and physically of their prescription drug addiction. If you or someone you care for is addicted to Xanax, contact a local addiction treatment center immediately, so that you or your loved one can get the addiction under control before it takes complete control of your or your loved one’s life. Not making the change can cause serious fatal side effects; but if you or your loved one makes it through Xanax addiction treatment, opportunities for success will soon follow.

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