Xanax is a tranquilizer with sedative effects. The active ingredient in Xanax is Alprazolam from the group of benzodiazepines. The drug reduces anxiety, relaxes the muscular system, has anticonvulsant and mild hypnotic effects. Xanax has strict indications, a lot of contraindications and side effects, and therefore can be obtained from pharmacies only on medical prescription.
- Neuroses, which are accompanied by feelings of fear, worry, anxiety, irritability, and somatic disorders (on other organs), and sleep disorders;
- Reactive depression, occurring during internal diseases;
- States of pathological fear, panic disorder with and without symptoms of phobias;
- Anxio-depressive states, which are accompanied by depressed mood, loss of interest to the surroundings, sleep disturbances and loss of appetite;
- Alcohol abstinence syndrome;
- Diseases of the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal tract, and skin.
- Acute pulmonary insufficiency;
- Chronic obstructive airway disease ;
- Serious dysfunction of the liver and kidneys;
- Hypersensitivity to the drug;
- Angle-closure glaucoma;
- Pregnancy and breast-feeding period;
- People less than 18 years old;
- Coma and shock states;
- Myasthenia gravis;
- Acute alcohol poisoning;
- Poisoning by analgesics, narcotics, psychotropic drugs, and hypnotics;
- Diseases of the thyroid gland;
- Severe depression;
- Transport drivers and people whose profession requires quick mental and motor responses should not use Xanax.
Side effects of xanax
The side effects of Xanax are quite common, especially at the beginning of treatment. The most pronounced side effects of Xanax are typical for the elderly. It is necessary to urgently see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Digestive system: salivation, dry mouth, heartburn, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, abnormal liver function, jaundice;
- Nervous system: drowsiness, dizziness, fatigue, impaired concentration, disorientation, ataxia, unsteady gait, slowing of motor and mental reactions. Rarely cases: euphoria, depression, headache, tremor, incoordination, memory loss, depressed mood, uncontrolled movements (including eye movements), confusion, feeling of weakness, myasthenia gravis (its main symptom – marked muscle weakness). Some patients may experience paradoxical reactions – outbreaks of aggression, psychomotor agitation, confusion, fear, suicidal thoughts, muscle spasms, hallucinations, irritability, insomnia;
- Cardiovascular system: reduced blood pressure, increased heart rate (tachycardia);
- Endocrine system: changes in body weight, impaired libido (increase or decrease), menstrual disorders (dysmenorrhea);
- Blood count: reduced number of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, neutrophils, granulocytes (anemia, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia, neutropenia, agranulocytosis);
- Urinary system: urine retention, renal failure with characteristic laboratory parameters, urinary incontinence;
- Allergic reactions (itching, rash, edema);
Prolonged use of Xanax can lead to addiction, while abrupt cancellation may cause manifestations of abstinence syndrome or withdrawal syndrome. Therefore, the dose should be reduced gradually. Those who are in the group at-risk for addiction when taking Xanax are patients who are taking the drug for a long time each day and/or in large doses, and patients with alcohol and drug addiction, who require a large dose to achieve the desired effect.
Only the doctor chooses Xanax dose for each patient individually. The treatment dose is adjusted depending on the effect achieved.
Once the above-mentioned side effects appear, dose reduction is necessary, or you should cancel the dose and replace it with another drug.
Increasing the dose of Xanax should be done gradually – the day dose is increased first, and then the night dose. The patient’s age and physical condition should be taken into account in determining the maximum effective dose. If the patient is elderly or weakened, it is recommended to start treatment with lower doses rather than usual doses.
When taking Xanax together with other substances (tranquilizers, hypnotics, analgesics and narcotics, alcohol), the effect is amplified.
Despite the widespread use of Xanax as a weak tranquilizer, there are many studies proving its harmful effects.
Back in 1984, a study was conducted, which found that 8 patients from the first 80 who were treated with alprazolam (Xanax) experienced manifestation of extreme anger and hostile behavior.
In 1985, the American Journal of Psychiatry published a study in which 58% of patients taking Xanax suffered from loss of control over themselves and displayed violence, compared with only 8% of patients that received placebo.
When receiving Xanax and similar (psychotropic) drugs, many patients experienced suicidal thoughts, which they did not have before taking the drug, and which disappeared after cessation of treatment.
A little known fact is that withdrawal syndrome (“break”) at the termination of treatment with psychotropic drugs (including Xanax) can turn someone into a violent mad person. This fact is easy to hide because psychiatrists usually blame aggressive behavior on the fact that the patient did not receive the drug. In fact, the truth is that manifestation of aggression and violence are the repeatedly confirmed side-effects when the drug is withdrawn.
Studies of alternative treatments in the UK have shown that in most cases when a tranquilizer is prescribed, its use is not justified. For the study, 90 patients suffering from anxiety were chosen, and then they were divided into two groups. The first group of patients received usual doses of the tranquilizer from group of drugs called benzodiazepines. The second group received alternative treatment in the form of psychotherapy (explanation, reassurance, listening). As a result, both methods were found equally effective. Moreover, patients from the second group were more satisfied with the results of treatment than were patients from the first group.
In another study, tranquilizers and a placebo (sugar pill) were used to treat anxiety. The results were evaluated every week both by experts, and by the patients. A month later, results showed that the therapeutic efficacy of placebo and tranquilizers were the same. From this, it follows that placebo and tranquilizers have equal effect in the treatment of anxiety.
Of particular note are the side effects that are not listed in the instructions to the drug Xanax. Since tranquilizers from the group of benzodiazepines depress the activity of the central nervous system, they can also cause respiratory depression. Very often, apnea (cessation of breathing) occurs in older people during sleep. Intervals of cessation of breathing (apnea) may be quite long and pose a risk to the patient’s life. Patients (especially the elderly) suffering from asthma or other chronic diseases of the respiratory system are also under the group of those at risk of experiencing apnea.
As a result, we can conclude that the best way to reduce the risk of side effects of Xanax is to avoid using it except in cases of extreme necessity. In most cases, psychotherapy, as well as conversation on problems with family and friends help in finding a solution to the problem. It is necessary to make up one’s mind and talk about the difficulties encountered – this is a better solution than taking unsafe drugs.