At present time, Xanax is one of the most effective tranquilizers, used for the treatment of panic and anxiety disorders in adults.
Xanax is not intended for the treatment of mild anxiety, caused by daily life, or for the treatment of depression. Indications for Xanax use include short-term treatment of:
- generalized anxiety disorder;
- panic disorder with or without agoraphobia;
Xanax is the trade name of the benzodiazepine tranquilizer Alprazolam. Forms of this drug, supplied to the international market, include:
- immediate-release Xanax tablets;
- extended-release tablets Xanax XR;
Two different Xanax formulations contain different dosesof the active substance:
- Each Xanax tablet contains 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, or 2 mg of Alprazolam.
- Xanax XR tablets contain 0.5mg, 1mg, 2mg, or 3 mg of Alprazolam.
Xanax belongs to highly potent benzodiazepines with a pronounced anxiolytic effect. The clinical effect of Xanax is based on:
- CNS activity alteration
- spinal reflexes lowering
- reduction of the hypothalamus excitability
One of Xanax advantages is that itslow doses provide a powerful therapeutic effect. This is contributed by the selective effect of the drug over the benzodiazepine receptors.
Xanax is one of the few intermediate-acting benzodiazepines, which, along with the sedative, anticonvulsant and muscle relaxing action also has an antidepressant activity.
According to the research data, the antidepressant effect derives from the ability of Xanax to raise serotonin levels in the brain. Despite the fact that Xanax has a serotonergic effect, it is not recommended for the treatment of depression.
In spite of the fact that there are no significant differences between different forms of Xanax, the immediate-release and prolonged-release tablets release the active substance in the gastrointestinal tract at various rates:
- Xanax XR tablets dissolve slowly, thus exerting a mild anti-anxiety effect throughout the entire day.
- Conventional Xanax tablets dissolve rapidly and provide a powerful anti-anxiety effect for up to 10-12 hours.
Xanax dose should be selected individually and increased depending on the tolerability and effect achieved:
- The recommended starting dose of Xanax is 0.75 mg to 1.5 mg per day.
- The dose can be gradually increased to 4 mg per day, if necessary.
Some patients may require daily doses higher than 4 mg of Xanax for the treatment of panic disorders. There is evidence that Xanax dose of 10mg per day is well tolerated and allows to quickly relieve the anxiety disorder symptoms.
The main advantages of the tranquilizer Xanax are:
- quite a rapid onset of effect (within the first week of use);
- high efficiency even with prolonged use (used for several years);
However, Xanax has less adverse events than other benzodiazepines. Plustheir frequency and intensityreduce, as the patient continues therapy with this drug.
Despite all the advantages, Xanax does have itsdrawbacks. The drug is contraindicated in patients with severe hepatic insufficiency, with narrow-angle glaucoma or hypersensitivity to benzodiazepines.
It should be borne in mind that simultaneous use of Xanax with anticonvulsant or psychotropic drugs can lead to a strong CNS suppression.
Abrupt tranquilizer cancellation may cause withdrawal syndrome, which is accompanied by such side effects, as insomnia, increased anxiety, behavioral aggression and irritability.
At the same time, numerous studies have demonstrated that Xanax is well tolerated, when used correctly during a treatment course, and the risk of addiction is low.