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WHAT SHOULD I DISCUSS WITH MY HEALTHCARE PROVIDER BEFORE TAKING ALPRAZOLAM?

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WHAT SHOULD I DISCUSS

You should not take alprazolam/  WHAT SHOULD I DISCUSS WITH MY HEALTHCARE PROVIDER

If you also take Iitraconazole or ketoconazole (antifungal medicines); or

  • you have a history of allergic reaction to any benzodiazepine (alprazolam, diazepam, lorazepam, Ativan, Klonopin, Restoril, Tranxene, Valium, Versed, Xanax, and others).

  • breathing problems such as COPD(chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or sleep apnea (breathing that stops during sleep);
  • drug or alcohol addiction;
  • depression, mood problems, or suicidal thoughts or behavior; or
  • kidney or liver disease (especially alcoholic liver disease).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. Alprazolam may harm an unborn baby. Avoid taking this medicine during the first trimester of pregnancy.

This can cause life-threatening withdrawal symptoms in the baby after it is born. Babies born dependent on habit-forming medicine may need medical treatment for several weeks.

You should not breastfeed while using alprazolam.

Alprazolam is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

What Should I Discuss With My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Alprazolam?

  • Symptoms of your condition that bother you the most
  • If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself
  • Medications you have taken in the past for your condition, whether they were effective or caused any adverse effects
  • If you experience side effects from your medications, discuss them with your healthcare provider. Some side effects may pass with time, but others may require changes in the medication.
  • Any other psychiatric or medical problems you have including obstructive sleep apnea
  • All other medications you are currently taking (including over the counter products and herbal and nutritional supplements) and any medication allergies you have
  • Other non-medication treatment you are receiving such as talk therapy or substance abuse treatment. Your provider can explain how these different treatments work with the medication
  • If you are elderly or are prone to falls
  • If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding
  • If you have liver disease
  • If you drink alcohol or use drugs

How Should I Take Alprazolam?

Alprazolam may be taken with or without food. Take with food if you experience an upset stomach.

Alprazolam may be taken every day at regular times or on an as needed (“PRN”) basis. Typically, your healthcare provider will limit the number of doses you should take in one day.

Your healthcare provider will determine the dose and method of taking the medication that is right for you based upon your response.

Alprazolam orally disintegrating tablets must remain in their original packaging. Open the package with clean dry hands before each dose. Do not try to put tablets in a pillbox if you take the orally disintegrating tablets. Take the tablets right away, do not store for later use.

Alprazolam orally disintegrating tablets will dissolve in your mouth within seconds and can be swallowed with or without liquid.

Extended release tablets: Swallow whole. Do not chew, crush or split tablet.

Alprazolam liquid: Measure with a dosing spoon or oral syringe, which you can get from your pharmacy.

If you take the medication every day (instead of ‘as needed’), use a calendar, pillbox, alarm clock, or cell phone alert to help you remember to take it. You may also ask a family member or a friend to remind you or check in with you to be sure you are taking your medication.

What Happens If I Miss A Dose Of Alprazolam?

If you miss a dose of alprazolam, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is closer to the time of your next dose. Discuss this with your health care provider. Do not double your next dose or take more than what is prescribed.

What Should I Avoid While Taking Alprazolam?

Avoid drinking alcohol and using illegal drugs while you are taking alprazolam. They may decrease the benefits (e.g., worsen your condition) and increase the adverse effects (e.g., sedation) of the medication. Alcohol increases the risk of accidental overdose with medications like alprazolam.

What Happens If I Overdose With Alprazolam?

If an overdose occurs call your doctor or 911. You may need urgent medical care. You may also contact the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of overdose include confusion, impaired coordination, slow reflexes, coma, and death.

A specific treatment to reverse the effects of alprazolam does exist. This medicine, called flumazenil, can reverse the effects of alprazolam but must be given through an IV at a hospital. Only a doctor can decide if you need this medication.

What Are Possible Side Effects Of Alprazolam?

Common side effects

  • Feeling dizzy, drowsy, fatigued, or lightheaded
  • Impaired coordination, decreased ability to concentrate

If you experience these side effects after starting clonazepam they will often improve over the first week or two as you continue to take the medication. If side effects do not improve or become problematic, consult your health care provider.

Rare/serious side effects

  • Shortness of breath, trouble speaking, feeling very tired, dizziness, or passing out.
  • Increased heart rate, headache, memory impairment, irritability, and restlessness may occur.
  • Some people taking benzodiazepines develop a severe allergic reaction and swelling of the face. This can occur as early as with the first dose.
  • Some people taking benzodiazepines for sleep have experienced various behaviors while they were asleep/not fully awake, such as sleep driving, making phone calls, and preparing or eating food. The individuals have no memory of the events when they awaken.
  • Signs of feeling depressed or low mood, thoughts of harming or killing yourself, or lack of interest in life.

Are There Any Risks For Taking Alprazolam For Long Periods Of Time?

Alprazolam is a safe and effective medication when used as directed. Benzodiazepines may produce emotional and/or physical dependence (addiction) even when used as recommended. Physical dependence may develop after 2 or more weeks of daily use.. The risk of withdrawal reactions when stopping therapy with alprazolam is increased with prolonged use of the medication.

What Other Medications May Interact With Alprazolam?

The following medications may increase the levels and effects of alprazolam:

  • Ketoconazole (Nizoral®), itraconazole (Sporanox®), nefazodone (Serzone®), fluvoxamine (Luvox®), and cimetidine (Tagamet®)

The following medications may decrease the levels and effects of alprazolam:

  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol®), phenytoin (Dilantin®), and phenobarbital (Luminal®)

Alprazolam should not be taken with other benzodiazepine medications.

Alprazolam may cause drowsiness, so caution should be used when combining it with other medications that cause drowsiness. These could include:

  • Antihistamines such as diphenhydramine (Benadryl®)
  • Narcotic pain medication such as morphine, oxycodone (OxyContin®), and hydrocodone (Vicodin® and Lortab®)
  • Opioid cough medications such as codeine cough syrup
  • Sleeping medications such as zolpidem (Ambien®)
  • Other anti-anxiety medications, antipsychotic medications, certain anticonvulsant medications, and tricyclic antidepressant medications (such as amitriptyline)

How Long Does It Take For Alprazolam To Work?

When starting alprazolam, anxiety or insomnia may improve rapidly or over a period of days or within hours of the first dose of medication.

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