General Practice 2022

Alprazolam: what é, what it is for and side effects

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Alprazolam: what é, what it is for and side effects
Alprazolam: what é, what it is for and side effects

Alprazolam is an anxiolytic of the benzodiazepine class indicated for the treatment of anxiety disorders, with symptoms such as anxiety, apprehension, tension or fear, for example, as it acts by decreasing brain functions, causing a tranquilizing and until drowsiness.

This remedy is available in pharmacies or drugstores, in the form of 0, 25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg or 2 mg tablets, with the trade names Frontal, Apraz or Tranquinal, or in its generic form under the designation “alprazolam”.

Alprazolam must always be used with medical indication and is sold only with prescription and withholding of prescription by the pharmacy.

What is it for

Alprazolam is indicated for the treatment of:

  • Anxiety disorders, with symptoms such as anxiety, fear, tension, apprehension, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability or insomnia, for example. See other symptoms of anxiety disorder;
  • Anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal syndrome;
  • Panic syndrome, with or without agoraphobia, in which an unexpected panic attack, sudden attack of intense apprehension, fear or terror may occur.

Alprazolam works by increasing the activity of neurotransmitter substances in the brain, such as GABA, causing a calming and calming effect, reducing anxiety.

How to take it

Alprazolam should be taken orally, always at the time instructed by the doctor, however, if you forget to take a dose at the right time, take it as soon as you remember, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time to take the next dose.It is not recommended to take two tablets at once to make up for a missed dose.

Doses of alprazolam for adults over 18 years of age vary by indication and include:

  • Anxiety Disorders: The normally recommended dose is 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg of alprazolam, up to 3 times a day, as directed by your doctor. The maximum daily dose should not exceed 4 mg;
  • Panic syndrome: the normally recommended dose is 0.5 mg to 1 mg of alprazolam, before bed, or 0.5 mg, up to 3 times a day, as per medical advice. The maximum dose in these cases can reach 10 mg per day.

Doses of alprazolam should be individually adapted by the physician according to each case, assessing the severity of symptoms and response to treatment. For the elderly, doses should be reduced.

The duration of treatment with alprazolam also varies based on medical judgment and can generally last up to 6 months for anxiety disorders or up to 8 months for panic disorder.It is important not to stop the treatment on your own and without the doctor's guidance, as this drug can cause dependence.

To stop treatment, the dose of alprazolam should be reduced slowly, as directed by the doctor, so as not to cause withdrawal symptoms such as palpitation, agitation, confusion or even convulsion.

How long does it take to take effect?

Alprazolam is rapidly absorbed by the body and its maximum effect occurs in about 1 to 2 hours after taking the tablet, and the time it takes to be eliminated from the body is on average 11 hours, unless the person has kidney or liver failure.

Possible side effects

The most common side effects that may occur during treatment with alprazolam are depression, sedation, drowsiness, dizziness, memory changes, difficulty articulating words or motor coordination, headache, constipation, mouth dryness, tiredness or irritability.

Although rare, in some cases alprazolam can cause confusion, disorientation, decreased or increased sexual desire, balance disturbances, abnormal coordination, attention disorders, hypersomnia, lethargy, tremor, blurred vision, nausea, dermatitis, sexual dysfunction and changes in body weight.

Alprazolam can cause severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention. Therefore, you should stop treatment and seek the nearest emergency department if you experience symptoms such as difficulty breathing, cough, chest pain, feeling of a closed throat, swelling in the mouth, tongue or face, or hives. Know how to identify the symptoms of a severe allergic reaction.

Immediate medical attention should also be sought if Frontal is taken in larger than recommended doses and overdose symptoms such as shortness of breath, feeling dizzy as if fainting, convulsion, hallucination, agitation, double vision appear or yellow skin or eyes.

Does alprazolam make you sleepy?

One of the most common side effects that can occur during treatment with alprazolam is sedation and drowsiness, so it is very likely that some people feel sleepy during treatment.

Thus, you should exercise caution or avoid activities such as driving, using heavy machinery or performing dangerous activities. In addition, alcohol use can increase the effects of drowsiness and dizziness if consumed at the same time as you are being treated with alprazolam, so it is important to avoid alcohol consumption.

Can alprazolam cause more anxiety?

Another side effect that can arise during treatment with alprazolam is anxiety, or symptoms such as insomnia, depression or nervousness, being more common at the beginning of treatment. This is because alprazolam acts directly on the brain, altering neurotransmitter levels, which can lead to side effects, including anxiety.

In addition, anxiety can also occur due to alprazolam withdrawal syndrome, which can arise when treatment is stopped abruptly and without medical advice.

Therefore, the use of alprazolam should always be done with medical guidance and monitoring.

Does alprazolam make you fat or lose weight?

Alprazolam can cause weight changes as a side effect, and in some cases it can gain or lose weight.

As alprazolam is a drug that causes drowsiness, some people may be less willing to exercise, reducing the expenditure of calories ingested in food, which can lead to weight gain.

In other cases, alprazolam can lead to weight loss due to its side effect of decreased appetite.

However, it is important to point out that alprazolam is not indicated for gaining or losing weight, and changes in weight may occur due to its side effects. Therefore, it is important to have regular medical follow-up.

Who should not use

Alprazolam should not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, children under 18 years of age, or by people who have myasthenia gravis, glaucoma, or liver or kidney problems.

This remedy should also not be used by people who are allergic to alprazolam or any other anxiolytic such as diazepam or lorazepam, for example, or who are being treated with antifungal drugs such as ketoconazole or itraconazole.

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