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Generic Name: Alprazolam

Brands: Xanax

Class: Benzodiazepine (“benzos”)

Availability: Prescription required

Molecular Formula: C17H13ClN4

Substance UNII: YU55MQ3IZY

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a benzodiazepine, a class of drugs commonly called “benzos.” It is the brand name for the drug alprazolam.

What is Xanax Used For?

It is for the short-term management of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and other forms of anxiety.

How Does Xanax Work?

Alprazolam works by binding to specific GABA sites. GABA is a central nervous system (CNS) neurotransmitter that blocks communication between nerve cells in the brain. In other words, GABA can help calm the CNS. There is some evidence the low levels of GABA may be at the heart of anxiety disorders. By binding to GABA sites, Xanax therefore helps to relieve anxiety. 

How Long Does it Take for Xanax to Work?

Xanax is a tablet taken by mouth and absorbed quickly into the bloodstream. Most people feel the effects within an hour. 

Do Not Use Xanax If:

There are several situations where this medication may not be the right choice for you. According to the FDA, the following should not use Xanax:

  • Those with a known sensitivity or allergy to alprazolam or other ingredients in Xanax tablets
  • Known sensitivity to benzodiazepines
  • Those taking ketoconazole (Xolegel, Nizoral A-D, Nizoral, Extina) 
  • Those taking itraconazole (Sporanox, Sporanox Pulsepak, Onmel)

Please note that this list may not be complete, and there may be other situations where use of this drug is not advisable.

Disclaimer: this article does not constitute or replace medical advice. If you have an emergency or a serious medical question, please contact a medical professional or call 911 immediately. To see our full medical disclaimer, visit our Terms of Use page.


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