Mental Health Home > Alprazolam

Alprazolam is a medication that is licensed for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder. It can help cause sleepiness, reduce anxiety, and relax muscles by enhancing the effects of a naturally calming brain chemical. The medicine, which comes in tablet form, is available by prescription and comes in four different strengths. Side effects of alprazolam may include weight gain, coordination problems, fatigue, and drowsiness.

What Is Alprazolam?

Alprazolam (Xanax®) is a prescription medication that is used to treat the following conditions:
 
(Click What Is Alprazolam Used For? for more information on what the drug is used for, including possible off-label uses.)
 

Who Makes Alprazolam?

It is made by Pfizer, Inc. Generic alprazolam is made by several different manufacturers.
 

How Does It Work?

Alprazolam 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 brain chemical that is naturally calming. GABA can slow down or stop certain nerve signals in the brain. This is why alprazolam 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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