What is Xanax, and how does it work?
Xanax is the brand name for Alprazolam and is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. It is part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepine, which enhances the neurotransmitter Gamma-aminobutyric Acid’s effect, producing a calm feeling in the body. Xanax is also known as a short-acting tranquilizer based on the severity of the disorder, and there are multiple doses ranging from 0.25mg to 3mg.
It is a benzodiazepine that increases the effect of GABA or Gamma-aminobutyric Acid. GABA is known to function as an inhibitory neurotransmitter and is responsible for decreasing abnormal activity in the brain by inhibiting or blocking the initiation, sending, or receiving of chemical messages.
GABA is a centrally acting neurotransmitter where low levels of GABA are known to indicate stress and anxiety. Xanax increases GABA levels, reduces overactivity in the brain while producing a relaxing feeling, and decreases the symptoms of anxiety and panic.
What are the possible side effects of Xanax?
The common side effects are-
- Increased saliva production
- Feeling light-headed
- Change in sex drive
The common side effects of Xanax should decrease with time, and it is advised that you inform your doctor if you notice them getting worse.
The severe side effects include-
- Loss of coordination
- Frequent mood changes like agitation and irritability
- Difficulty talking
- Trouble walking
The severe side effects are unlikely. You should look for immediate medical assistance if you notice them.
A severe allergic reaction to Xanax is rare. It is suggested that you call immediate medical help if you notice rashes, itching, swelling of the throat, face, or tongue, severe dizziness, and difficulty breathing.
How long will Xanax stay in your system?
The half-life of a drug is said to be the duration it takes for the body to get rid of half of the active drug in the system. Ideally, it takes 5 to 6 half-lives for a drug to be entirely eliminated from the body. The half-life of Xanax ranges between 6 to 27 hours, and the average is 11 to 12 hours, meaning it will take Xanax approximately 11.5 hours to remove from the body completely. The half-life of a drug is likely to remain unchanged irrespective of the dosage and the duration of treatment.
Certain tests can still detect Xanax in your system after ingestion-
Urine – Urine tests for Xanax are uncommon, but they can also detect Xanax for four days to a week after the last dose
Saliva – Your saliva will test positive for Xanax for 2.5 days after the previous dose
Blood – Blood tests can find Xanax in the bloodstream for one day after the last dose
Hair – Hair takes longer to grow, and therefore, it can detect Xanax for a longer period of 1 month
Precautions to be taken while using Xanax
- Xanax is a level IV controlled substance with a low potential for abuse. However, it is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the US. It is advised that you use your medication in moderation and keep it out of the reach of children.
- It is advised that you abstain from alcohol, cannabis, and other CNS depressants, as they can aggravate your side effects.
- If you have been using Xanax for a long time or in high doses, you may develop dependence or tolerance to it, and it is suggested that you inform your doctor if you think the dosage prescribed to you isn’t working instead of increasing it on your own.
- In the case of an older adult, you may be more sensitive to the side effects of this pill, and it is advised that you monitor your dosage intake and side effects regularly.
How should you have Xanax?
It is orally administered and can be had with or without food as directed by your doctor. It is available in multiple dosage strengths of 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg, 2mg and 3mg. The dosage given to you by your doctor will be based on your medical condition, age, and response to treatment.
The maximum dosage for anxiety patients is 4mg a day, and for panic disorder is 10mg a day. If you have been prescribed a lower dosage, you can easily break a 2mg Xanax bar into 0.5mg doses. It is a short-term treatment for anxiety and panic disorders. If you use it for a long time, it is recommended to taper your dosage before discontinuing it to avoid withdrawal symptoms like insomnia.