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Xanax XR is a common medication used to treat panic disorder. The drug is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines, and it works by enhancing the calming effects of a certain chemical in the brain. Xanax XR comes in tablet form and is usually taken once daily in the morning. Potential side effects include drowsiness or problems with memory.

What Is Xanax XR?

Xanax XR® (alprazolam XR) is a prescription anxiety medication that is used to treat panic disorder. It is a long-acting version of Xanax®.
(Click Xanax XR Uses for more information, including possible off-label uses.)

Who Makes Xanax XR?

Brand-name Xanax XR is made by Pfizer, Inc. Generic Xanax XR is made by several different manufacturers.

How Does It Work?

Xanax XR is part of a group of medicines called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepine medications have various effects on the body, including:
  • Reducing anxiety
  • Causing sleepiness
  • Relaxing muscles
  • Stopping seizures
  • Impairing short-term memory.
All of the medications 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 has a naturally calming effect. GABA can slow down or stop certain nerve signals in the brain. This is why Xanax XR and other benzodiazepines are known as mild tranquilizers, sedatives, or central nervous system depressants (CNS depressants).


A few studies have evaluated Xanax XR for the treatment of panic disorder. In these studies, people taking the drug had fewer panic attacks, compared to those not taking it.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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