Alprazolam is in a group of drugs called benzodiazepines (ben-zoe-dye-AZE-eh-peens). It works by slowing down the movement of chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced. This results in a reduction in nervous tension (anxiety).
Alprazolam is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders, and anxiety caused by depression.
Alprazolam may also be used for purposes other than those listed in this medication guide.
Do not use this medication if you are allergic to alprazolam or to other benzodiazepines, such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax). This medication can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use alprazolam if you are pregnant.
Before taking alprazolam, tell your doctor if you have any breathing problems, glaucoma, kidney or liver disease, or a history of depression, suicidal thoughts, or addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Do not drink alcohol while taking alprazolam. This medication can increase the effects of alcohol.
This medication may be habit-forming and should be used only by the person it was prescribed for. Alprazolam should never be shared with another person, especially someone who has a history of drug abuse or addiction. Keep the medication in a secure place where others cannot get to it.
It is dangerous to try and purchase alprazolam on the Internet or from vendors outside of the United States. Medications distributed from Internet sales may contain dangerous ingredients, or may not be distributed by a licensed pharmacy. Samples of alprazolam purchased on the Internet have been found to contain haloperidol (Haldol), a potent antipsychotic drug with dangerous side effects. For more information, contact the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or visit www.fda.gov/buyonlineguide
Do not use this medication if you have:
- narrow-angle glaucoma;
- if you are also taking itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral); or
- if you are allergic to alprazolam or to other benzodiazepines, such as chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clorazepate (Tranxene), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), or oxazepam (Serax).
Before taking alprazolam, tell your doctor if you are allergic to any drugs, or if you have:
- asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD), or other breathing problems;
- kidney or liver disease (especially alcoholic liver disease);
- a history of depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior; or
- a history of drug or alcohol addiction.
If you have any of these conditions, you may need a dose adjustment or special tests to safely take alprazolam.
FDA pregnancy category D. Alprazolam can cause birth defects in an unborn baby. Do not use alprazolam without your doctor’s consent if you are pregnant. Tell your doctor if you become pregnant during treatment. Use an effective form of birth control while you are using this medication. Alprazolam can pass into breast milk and may harm a nursing baby. Do not use this medication without telling your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. The sedative effects of this medication may last longer in older adults. Accidental falls are common in elderly patients who take benzodiazepines. Use caution to avoid falling or accidental injury while you are taking alprazolam. Do not give this medication to anyone under 18 years old.
Alprazolam Extended-Release Tablets has been shown to cause harm to the human fetus. If you plan on becoming pregnant, discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using Alprazolam Extended-Release Tablets during pregnancy. Alprazolam Extended-Release Tablets are excreted in breast milk. Do not breast-feed while taking Alprazolam Extended-Release Tablets.
Alprazolam Pregnancy Warnings
Alprazolam has been assigned to pregnancy category D by the FDA. An increased risk of congenital malformations in humans has been suggested with use of other benzodiazepines, although small studies have not implicated alprazolam. Withdrawal symptoms have been described in neonates whose mothers took alprazolam during pregnancy. There are no controlled data in human pregnancy. Alprazolam use is considered contraindicated during pregnancy.
Alprazolam Breastfeeding Warnings
Chronic administration of another benzodiazepine, diazepam, to nursing mothers has been reported to cause their infants to become lethargic and lose weight.
Alprazolam is probably excreted into human milk in small amounts. Withdrawal symptoms have been described in nursing infants whose mothers have withdrawn from alprazolam. The manufacturer recommends that, as a general rule, nursing should not be undertaken by mothers who must use alprazolam.