Antianxiety Medications Anti-Anxiety Drugs
Antipanic and Antianxiety: alprazolam, Xanax, Helix
Generic Name: alprazolam
Brand Name(s): Xanax, Helix
Common Use: Antianxiety agent
Anxiolytic - Antipanic
Considerable evidence suggest that the central pharmacologic/therapeutic actions
of alprazolam ( Xanax, Helix ) are mediated via interaction with this receptor
For the management of anxiety disorders or the short-term symptomatic relief
of symptoms of excessive anxiety. Anxiety or tension associated with the stress
of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic.
Alprazolam ( Xanax, Helix ) is indicated for the treatment of Generalized
Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and is also indicated for the management of panic disorder
with or without agoraphobia.
Alprazolam ( Xanax, Helix ) is not recommended for use in patients whose primary
diagnosis is psychosis or depression.
As with other CNS depressant drugs, patients should be cautioned against activities
requiring mental alertness, judgement and physical coordination such as driving
or operating machinery, particularly in the early phases of treatment and until
proper adjustment to side effects has been established. Alcohol and benzodiazepines
should never be mixed when driving because of the unpredictable CNS depressant
effects of this combination.
Withdrawal symptoms have been observed after abrupt discontinuation of benzodiazepines.
These include irritability, nervousness, insomnia, agitation, tremors, convulsions,
diarrhea, abdominal cramps, vomiting and mental impairment. Since these symptoms
may be similar to those for which the patient is being treated, it may appear
that he has suffered a relapse upon discontinuation. It is suggested that alprazolam
should be withdrawn gradually if the individual is suspected of having become
dependent, or the drug perhaps has been used in prolonged high doses.
Patients should also be advised against the simultaneous use of other CNS depressant
drugs and should be cautioned not to take alcohol during the administration
The most frequently reported are drowsiness, coordination difficulties with
dizziness. Release of hostility and other paradoxical effects such as irritability,
excitability and hallucinations are known to occur with the use of benzodiazepines.
Other side effects less frequently reported are:
Blurred vision, headache, seizures, slurred speech, difficulty in depth perception.
Agitation, mental confusion, depression, irritability, nervousness, sleep disturbances,
euphoria, lethargy, stupor. Dry mouth, nausea, nonspecific gastrointestinal
disturbances, vomiting. Muscle spasm, muscle weakness. Hypotension, palpitations,
tachycardia. Pruritus, rash. Incontinence, change in libido. Decreased hemoglobin
and hematocrit, increased and decreased WBC. Increased and decreased blood sugar
Manifested as an extension of alprazolam's pharmacologic activity. Varying
degrees of CNS depressant effects such as somnolence and hypnosis can occur.
Other manifestations may include muscle weakness, ataxia, dysarthria and particularly
in children paradoxical excitement. In more severe cases diminished reflexes,
confusion and coma may ensue. It should be remembered when treating an overdose
that multiple agents may have been ingested. Fatalities with benzodiazepines
rarely occur except when other drugs, alcohol or aggravating factors are involved.
Vomiting may be induced if the patient is fully awake.
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