Precautions and Warnings With Alprazolam XR

Precautions and warnings with alprazolam XR should be reviewed before starting the medication. Since it is a controlled substance, there is a potential for abuse, because it can cause psychological and physical dependence. Also, the medication can be dangerous for people who have lung problems or breathing problems. Precautions and warnings with alprazolam XR also extend to people with certain allergies and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Alprazolam XR: What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider?

You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking alprazolam XR (Xanax XR®) if you have:
  • Glaucoma
  • A history of drug or alcohol abuse (see Xanax and Alcohol)
  • Depression
  • Liver disease, including liver failure or cirrhosis
  • Kidney disease, including kidney failure (renal failure)
  • Lung problems or breathing problems
  • Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all of the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific Precautions and Warnings With Alprazolam XR

Warnings and precautions to be aware of prior to taking alprazolam XR include the following:
  • The medication is a controlled substance, which means that it has the potential to be abused. There are special rules and regulations for prescribing and dispensing alprazolam XR. The medication is generally not recommended for people with a history of alcohol or drug abuse (see Xanax Addiction).
  • Alprazolam XR can cause psychological and physical dependence, and is often abused. The risk of abuse and dependence is greater for those taking higher doses of alprazolam XR for long periods of time (more than a few weeks). Because stopping the drug suddenly can produce dangerous withdrawal symptoms, you should not stop taking it suddenly without first discussing it with your healthcare provider (see Xanax Withdrawal).
  • The medication can cause severe drowsiness and difficulty breathing, which may be life threatening. This risk is increased when alprazolam XR is combined with alcohol, narcotics, or other medications or substances that cause drowsiness and sedation (see Drug Interactions With Alprazolam XR). You should not drive or operate heavy machinery until you know how the medication will affect you.
  • Alprazolam XR can cause depression or make preexisting depression worse. Make sure your healthcare provider knows if you are depressed or have a history of the condition before taking alprazolam XR.
  • Elderly people are more sensitive to the effects of alprazolam XR and should be started with a lower dosage. Alprazolam XR may increase the risk of falling, which is especially dangerous in elderly people (who often have weak or brittle bones).
  • Sometimes, people react to alprazolam XR in a way that is opposite of what is usually expected. In other words, they may become agitated, aggressive, and restless, and may have difficulty sleeping. Tell your healthcare provider if you experience these effects while taking the drug.
  • Let your healthcare provider know if you have liver or kidney disease, as your body may not handle alprazolam XR as well as it should.
  • Alprazolam XR can be dangerous in people with lung problems or breathing problems. Be sure to discuss any breathing or lung problems you have with your healthcare provider before taking the medication.
  • Alprazolam XR is considered a pregnancy Category D medication. This means that it is probably not safe for use during pregnancy. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using the drug while pregnant (see Xanax and Pregnancy).
  • Alprazolam XR passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, discuss this with your healthcare provider prior to taking the drug (see Xanax and Breastfeeding).
  • Alprazolam XR can interact with certain medications (see Drug Interactions With Alprazolam XR).
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