Anxiety Home > Xanax

Xanax is a prescription drug commonly used in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder. By enhancing the effects of a naturally calming brain chemical, the medication can help reduce anxiety, relax muscles, and stop seizures. Xanax comes in tablet form and is generally taken two or three times a day. Side effects may include fatigue, coordination problems, and drowsiness.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax® (alprazolam) is a prescription medication that is used to treat the following conditions:
(Click Xanax Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes It?

Xanax is made by Pfizer, Inc. Generic versions are made by several different manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

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