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Alprazolam is the generic name of the Pfizer, Inc. brand named drug called Xanax®. It belongs to a general class of drugs which are active on the central nervous system. These CNS drugs are classed as benzodiazepines. These drugs are usually prescribed for treatment of specific psychological disorders classed as anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and a condition called anxiety associated with depression. Alprazolam acts as a depressant to the central nervous system.
Alprazolam has significant risk of induced drug dependence and can produce significant withdrawal symptoms including seizures. The drug is contraindicated for treatment of patients with acute narrow angle glaucoma, but may be used for patients with open angle glaucoma, as long as those patients are receiving proper treatment for their glaucoma. The risks associated with drug dependence associated with Alprazolam seem to be greater in patients being treated for panic disorder, as the dosage generally prescribed for this condition is above 4mg/day. Due to the risks of dependence and withdrawal, it appears that patients treated with this drug have a higher rate of a return of the symptoms associated with this syndrome, than those treated with placebo. There is even a danger of symptoms being more severe after treatment. Additionally, patients being treated with Alprazolam have reported
anxiety symptoms both in the morning and between doses of the medication.
Because this drug is a powerful depressor of the CNS, patients are warned to avoid occupations and/or activities which require high levels of function. There are also warnings of using this drug in combination with other CNS depressant drugs including alcohol. The nature of this drug and its effect on the central nervous system (CNS) is significant enough as to suggest that it should not be used by women who are in the first trimester of pregnancy, or who may become pregnant
due to the possible linkage of benzodiazepines with congenital abnormalities.