Xanax is a drug often mentioned in the movies. In real life example, it was said that Kristina Bobbi, daughter to the late Whitney Houston was ‘hooked’ on Xanax. Xanax contains Alprazolam. This drug, like diazepam is classified as a benzodiazepine. This class of drugs is used for the short term relief of severe anxiety and especially if it is associated with depression. It is also recommended for patients diagnosed with panic disorder.
The long term use of these medicines should be avoided. This drug comes as 250 mg, 500mg, one and two tablets given two to three times a day. It is used with caution in people suffering from respiratory disease, muscle weakness, history of drug and alcohol abuse, those with marked personality disorder, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers as well as those with liver disease.
The effects of alcohol are enhanced when one is taking this medicine and those in the same class. Use of xanax is associated with drowsiness, lightheadedness, confusion and slowed speech especially among the elderly. Memory loss (amnesia) is also one of the effects of this type of drug. Dependence (addiction) on these medicines also happens. “Certain aerse clinical events, some life-threatening, are a direct consequence of physical dependence on xanax. These include a spectrum of withdrawal symptoms the most important is seizure,” the manufacturer cautions.
Withdrawal reactions may occur when dosage reduction occurs for any reason. Thus, this drug should be taken under close medical supervision.
Alprazolam concentrations may be reduced by up to 50 per cent in smokers compared to non-smokers. This means that smokers require a higher concentration of the drug otherwise the usual dosage will not be effective.
People taking drugs such as ketoconazole and itraconazole, which are used to treat fungal infections as well as erythromycin, an antibacterial are aised to inform their doctors. This is because these drugs increase concentration of alprazolam in the body. The doctor or pharmacist should take this into consideration when choosing an appropriate dose.
The writer is a pharmacist
SOURCE: Daily Monitor