What Is Alprazolam XR Used For?

Alprazolam XR is used for treating panic attacks in adults. The medication can also be prescribed in an "off-label" fashion to treat other kinds of anxiety. As part of a group of medications called benzodiazepines, alprazolam XR enhances the effects of a certain brain chemical, which causes reduced anxiety, relaxed muscles, and sleepiness. Alprazolam XR uses in children have not been approved.

What Is Alprazolam XR Used For? -- An Overview

Alprazolam XR (Xanax XR®) is a prescription medication that is approved for treating panic disorder.
Panic disorder is a specific type of anxiety disorder. People with the condition have recurrent, unexpected feelings of extreme fear and dread that strike for no apparent reason, causing their heart to race, rapid breathing, sweating, and shakiness. These "attacks" can send people to the hospital, believing they are having a heart attack. A panic attack may even occur when the person is not in a situation that would normally create stress, anxiety, or fear.
Sometimes, people deal with panic disorder by avoiding situations and places that may lead to a panic attack. This, combined with the fear of having a panic attack in public, can lead people to avoid social interaction and can cause people to become "housebound." This problem is known as agoraphobia and often accompanies panic disorder.
Alprazolam XR can be used to treat people who have a panic disorder with or without agoraphobia.

How Does Alprazolam XR Work?

Alprazolam XR is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines have several effects on the body, including:
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Causing sleepiness
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Stopping seizures
  • Impairing short-term memory.
All of the medicines in this category can have these effects to some degree, depending on the specific benzodiazepine that is being taken. They work by enhancing the effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical that has a naturally calming effect. GABA can slow down or stop certain nerve signals in the brain. This is why alprazolam XR and other benzodiazepines are known as mild tranquilizers, sedatives, or central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants).
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Alprazolam XR Drug Information

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