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.
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: Kristi Monson, PharmD;Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last reviewed by: KristiMonson, PharmD;
List of references (click here):
Xanax XR [package insert]. New York, NY: Pfizer, Inc.;2004 April.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: Approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed June 8, 2007.
Briggs GG, Freeman RK, Yaffe SJ. Drugs in Pregnancy and Lactation. 7th ed. Philadelphia (PA): Lippincott Williams & Wilkins;2005.
National Library of Medicine (US). Drugs and Lactation Database (LactMED). NLM Web site. Available at: http://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/cgi-bin/sis/htmlgen?LACT. Accessed June 8, 2007.
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