What Xanax is used for and how to use it
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Xanax - Consumer Medicine Information

Manufacture: Pfizer Inc.
Country: Canada
Condition: Anxiety, Depression, Panic Disorder
Class: Benzodiazepines
Form: Tablets
Ingredients: alprazolam, lactose monohydrate, docusate sodium-sodium benzoate, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, magnesium stearate

(alprazolam tablets USP)

About This Medication

What the Medication is Used For

XANAX has been prescribed to you by your doctor to relieve your symptoms of the following conditions:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (excessive anxiety or worry)
  • Panic disorder (repeated, unexpected panic attacks of extreme fear and worry about these attacks)

What it Does

XANAX contains the active ingredient alprazolam, which belongs to a group of medicines known as benzodiazepines. XANAX has sedative properties which help in the treatment of anxiety and panic.

When it Should not Be Used

Do not take XANAX if you:

  • are allergic to the group of medicines known as benzodiazepines (examples: clonazepam, chlordiazepoxide, diazepam, or flurazepam).
  • are allergic to XANAX or any of the ingredients listed in the section"What the nonmedicinal ingredients are".
  • have acute narrow angle glaucoma, a condition associated with increased pressure in the eye that may cause loss of sight.
  • have myasthenia gravis, a chronic disease characterized by weakness of the skeletal muscles.
  • have a liver condition.
  • have lung disease or breathing problems.
  • have a sleep disorder that causes pauses in breathing or shallow breathing while sleeping (sleep apnea).
  • are taking ketoconazole (eg., Nizoral) or itraconazole (eg., Sporanox), medicines used to treat fungal infections.

XANAX should not be used in patients under 18 years of age.

What the Medicinal Ingredient Is

alprazolam

What the Nonmedicinal Ingredients Are

All tablets contain lactose monohydrate, docusate sodium-sodium benzoate, colloidal silicon dioxide, corn starch, magnesium stearate.

The 0.5 mg tablet also contains yellow aluminum lake.

The 1 mg tablet also contains blue aluminum lake and erythrosine aluminum lake.

What Dosage Forms it Comes In

XANAX 0.25 mg tablet: white in color, single scored on one side and engraved with Upjohn 29 on the other.

XANAX 0.5 mg tablet: light orange in color, single scored on one side and engraved with Upjohn 55 on the other.

XANAX 1 mg tablet: lavender in color, single scored on one side and engraved with Upjohn 90 on the other.

XANAX TS 2 mg tablet: white in color, capsule shaped, tri-scored on one side and engraved with U94 on the other. This can be broken into 4 individual 0.5 mg tablets.

Warnings and Precautions

BEFORE you use XANAX talk to your doctor or pharmacist if you:

  • have a lung, liver or kidney condition.
  • have a history of alcohol or drug abuse.
  • have a history of depression and/or suicide attempts.
  • are pregnant, think you may be pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant.
  • are breast feeding.
  • regularly drink alcohol.
  • have lactose intolerance.

Mental Alertness

XANAX can cause drowsiness and affect your ability to be alert. You should not perform activities that require mental alertness such as driving or operating machinery until you know how this drug will affect you. This effect of XANAX may be made worse if you take alcoholic drinks. If your doctor has increased your dose or if you have changed the timings of when you take your medication this may also change how the drug affects you.

Risk of Falls Memory Loss

There have been reports of falls and fractures in people who take benzodiazepenes such as XANAX. Memory loss has also been reported. These have occurred in people taking the usual doses.

Worsening of Side Effects With Alcohol and Other Drugs

XANAX may have more pronounced sedative effects when taken with alcohol or other drugs that can make you sleep, such as: narcotic pain relievers, sleeping pills, antihistamines, medications to control seizures, antidepressants or antipsychotics. Do not take XANAX if you drink alcohol. Do not use XANAX with these other medications without first discussing with your doctor.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Always contact your doctor before stopping or reducing your dosage of XANAX. Suddenly stopping treatment or a large decrease in dose can cause withdrawal symptoms. This can happen with drugs of this type even when taking for only a few weeks.

Symptoms of withdrawal may include mild symptoms, such as a feeling of dissatisfaction, restlessness or trouble sleeping.

In severe cases of withdrawal, symptoms may include irritability, nervousness, insomnia, agitation, diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting, sweating, shaking, numbness and tingling of the extremities, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), being unusually sensitive to light, noise and physical contact and seizures.

Therefore, always follow the treatment as prescribed by your doctor.

Dependence

Benzodiazepines such as XANAX have caused dependence (addiction) and withdrawal symptoms can occur when treatment is stopped suddenly. The risk of dependence (addiction) increases with higher doses and longer duration of treatment, or after suddenly stopping treatment.

Pregnancy

Some benzodiazepines have been linked to birth defects when taken during the early months of pregnancy. Babies born to mothers who have taken benzodiazepines during the last weeks of pregnancy or during labour have been known to have overly relaxed muscles and breathing problems, and may also have withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Do not take this medicine if you are pregnant (or think you may be pregnant), unless advised by your doctor. Consult with your doctor before taking XANAX if you are planning to become pregnant.

Breast Feeding

XANAX may pass into breast milk. Therefore, if you are breast feeding, this medicine should be avoided.

Interactions With This Medication

Tell your doctor if you are taking any other medicines including any that you have bought from a pharmacy, supermarket or health food store without a prescription.

XANAX may have more pronounced side effects when taken with alcohol or other drugs that affect the central nervous system. Do not drink alcohol while taking XANAX. Do not use XANAX with the following other medicines without first discussing with your doctor:

  • narcotic pain relievers (e.g., morphine, codeine)
  • sleeping pills
  • antihistamines (medicines used for relief of allergy symptoms)
  • anticonvulsants (medications used to control seizures)
  • antidepressants (medicines used to treat anxiety or depression)
  • antipsychotics (medicines used to treat mental illnesses such as schizophrenia)

XANAX should not be taken with ketoconazole or itraconazole (medicines used to treat fungal infections) because these medicines can cause an increase in the amount of XANAX in your blood and can enhance side effects.

Other medicines that can affect the amount of XANAX in your blood include cimetidine, fluvoxamine, carbamazepine, HIV protease inhibitors, and birth control pills.

Talk to your doctor if you are using XANAX with digoxin, as XANAX may affect the amount of digoxin in your blood.

Always tell your doctor about any other medicines you are taking or plan to take.

Proper Use of This Medication

Always take the tablets exactly as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor will prescribe a suitable dose for you. The dose your doctor prescribes will depend on your illness and how you respond to the medicine. The table below shows the different doses that your doctor may prescribe according to your illness.

 Usual Daily Dose
Anxiety disorders0.25 mg, two to three
times per day. Maximum
3 mg/day.
Panic disorders0.5 mg, three times per
day. Maximum 10
mg/day.

The total daily dose should be taken as advised by your doctor.

Do not change the prescribed dose yourself.

If you think the effect of your medicine is too weak or too strong, talk to your doctor.

Your doctor will advise you when to stop taking the medicine. Your doctor will slowly decrease the dosage as sudden discontinuation of treatment can cause the appearance of withdrawal symptoms.

Because elderly patients can be more sensitive to the effects of alprazolam, lower doses may be prescribed.

Because elderly patients can be more sensitive to the effects of XANAX, lower doses may be prescribed.

Overdose

Contact your doctor, regional Poison Control Centre or pharmacist immediately if you suspect you have taken an overdose or someone else accidentally takes your XANAX. If you are unable to contact them, go to a hospital emergency department for medical help, even though you may not feel sick. Show the doctor your bottle of tablets.

Side Effects And What to Do About Them

Like all medications XANAX can cause some side effects. For most patients, these side effects are likely to be minor and temporary as your body adjusts to the medicine. However, some may be serious. Consult your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can if you do not feel well while taking XANAX

The most common side effects are:

  • Feeling drowsy or tired, especially at the start of treatment.
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of some balance and coordination
  • Memory problems
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech

Less common possible side effects are:

  • Agitation
  • Changes in sex drive (increased or decreased)
  • Changes in weight (gain or loss)
  • Increased appetite
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Bladder control problems

In rare cases, XANAX can affect liver function, and disorders such as hepatitis or liver failure may occur. Your doctor will monitor your blood for effects of XANAX on your liver.

Elderly patients may be especially susceptible to side effects. Excessive drowsiness or loss of balance may increase the risk of falls and fractures in elderly patients.

All patients should be cautious about performing hazardous activities that require complete mental alertness, such as operating machinery or driving a car.

Withdrawal-Related Side Effects

If treatment is stopped suddenly or there is a large decrease in dose, symptoms of withdrawal may occur, including: restlessness and trouble sleeping. In severe cases of withdrawal, symptoms may include: irritability, nervousness, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, stomach pains, vomiting, sweating, tremors, numbness and tingling of the extremities, hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there), being unusually sensitive to light, noise and physical contact and seizures.

Serious Side Effects how Often They Happen and What to Do About Them

Symptom/effectTalk with your
doctor or
pharmacist
Stop taking
drug and
seek
immediate
emergency
help
Only if
severe
In all
cases
RareUnusual behavioural
problems (aggression,
rage), sudden anxiety or
excitation, restlessness,
agitation, irritability;
hallucinations (see or
hear things that are not
there) or delusions,
severe sleep
disturbances, nightmares,
inappropriate behaviour
Allergic reactions (red
skin, skin rashes, hives,
itching, swelling of the
lips, face, tongue, throat,
trouble breathing,
wheezing, shortness of
breath)
Depression. Symptoms
may include: Difficulty
sleeping, changes in
weight, feelings of
worthlessness, guilt,
regret, helplessness or
hopelessness,
withdrawal from social
situations, family
gatherings and activities
with friends, reduced
libido (sex drive), and
thoughts of death or
suicide
Hepatitis, liver failure
(yellow skin and eyes,
nausea, vomiting, pain in
upper right abdomen,
loss of appetite, darkcolored
urine)
Serious skin reactions
(rash that may be severe,
red skin, blistering of the
lips, eyes or mouth,
peeling skin)
Increased pressure in the
eyes (change in side
vision, sudden severe
pain in the eye, decreased
or cloudy vision, seeing
rainbow-like halos
around lights, eyes
feeling swollen)

This is not a complete of side effects. For any unexpected effects while taking XANAX, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

How to Store It

XANAX should be stored at controlled room temperature (15 - 30°C).

Keep out of the reach of children.

Reporting Suspected Side Effects

You can report any suspected adverse reactions associated with the use of health products to the Canada Vigilance Program by one of the following 3 ways:

  • Report online at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/medeffect
  • Call toll-free at 1-866-234-2345
  • Complete a Canada Vigilance Reporting Form and:
    • Fax toll-free to 1-866-678-6789, or
    • Mail to: Canada Vigilance Program
      Health Canada
      Postal Locator 0701E
      Ottawa, Ontario
      K1A 0K9

Postage paid labels, Canada Vigilance Reporting Form and the adverse reaction reporting guidelines are available on the MedEffect Canada Web site at www.healthcanada.gc.ca/medeffect.

NOTE: Should you require information related to the management of the side effect, please contact your health care professional. The Canada Vigilance Program does not provide medical advice.

More Information

This document plus the full Product Monograph, prepared for health professionals can be found at:http://www.pfizer.ca or by contacting the sponsor, Pfizer Canada Inc., at: 1-800-463-6001.