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Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety disorders and panic 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 and a concentrated solution (liquid) to take by mouth. It usually is taken two to four times a day. 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 semi-solid 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.
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 or take it more often or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Do not stop taking alprazolam without talking to your doctor. Suddenly stopping to take alprazolam may worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms (anxiousness, sleeplessness, irritability, and seizures). Withdrawal symptoms may be worse if you take more than 4 mg of alprazolam every day. Your doctor will decrease your dose gradually.
Other uses for this medicine
Alprazolam also is used sometimes 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.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking alprazolam,
tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to alprazolam, chlordiazepoxide (Librium, Librax), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), estazolam (ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), halazepam (Paxipam), lorazepam (Ativan), oxazepam (Serax), prazepam (Centrax), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), or any other medications.
tell your doctor if you are taking itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral). Your doctor willl probably tell you not to take alprazolam.
tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking. Be sure to mention any of the following: amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone); antidepressants ('mood elevators') such as desipramine (Norpramin), imipramine (Tofranil), and nefazodone (Serzone); antifungals such as fluconazole (Diflucan); antihistamines; cimetidine (Tagamet); clarithromycin (Biaxin); cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune); diltiazem (Cardizem, Dilacor, Tiazac); ergotamine (Cafatine, Cafergot, Wigraine, others); erythromycin (E.E.S., E-Mycin, Erythrocin); isoniazid (INH, Nydrazid); medications for mental illness and seizures; nicardipine (Cardene); nifedipine (Adalat, Procardia); oral contraceptives (birth control pills); propoxyphene (Darvon); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), and sertraline (Zoloft); sedatives; sleeping pills; and tranquilizers. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
tell your doctor if you have or have ever had glaucoma; depression; or lung, kidney, or liver disease.
tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking alprazolam, call your doctor immediately.
talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of taking this medication if you are 65 years of age or older. Older adults should receive low doses of alprazolam because higher doses may not work better and may cause serious side effects.
if you are having surgery, including dental surgery, tell the doctor or dentist that you are taking alprazolam.
you should know that alprazolam may make you drowsy. Do not drive a car or operate machinery until you know how this medication affects you.
talk to your doctor about the safe use of alcohol while you are taking this medication. Alcohol can make the side effects of alprazolam worse.
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