Drugs Q & A

What is the Usual Dosage of Xanax?

Xanax is a brand of alprazolam, a powerful Benzodiazepine that is often prescribed to treat Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), panic disorders, and insomnia. It is extremely addictive when used long-term, making Xanax addiction and abuse a serious concern. Xanax is the number one prescribed psychiatric medication in the United States. 70% of teens with a Xanax addiction get the drug from their family’s medicine cabinet.

Tolerance to Xanax develops quickly, requiring the user to take more of the drug to achieve the desired effects. Someone with a Xanax addiction may take up to 20 or 30 pills per day. If the user decides to stop taking Xanax, they may experience withdrawal effects such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and tremors. The onset of withdrawal symptoms is a sign that a physical dependence has developed. The development of tolerance and withdrawal are indications of addiction.

What is the Usual Dosage of Xanax?

Xanax comes as a tablet, an extended-release tablet, an orally disintegrating tablet (tablet that dissolves quickly in the mouth), and a concentrated solution (liquid) to take by mouth. The tablet, orally disintegrating tablet, and concentrated solution usually are taken two to four times a day. The extended-release tablet is taken once daily, usually in the morning. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take Xanax or any other brand of alprazolam exactly as directed.

Typical dosing for Xanax

  • Anxiety Disorders: The typical starting dose is 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg three times a day.
  • Panic Disorder: The typical starting dose is 0.5 mg to 1 mg once daily. Your provider might change your dose based on how you respond to the starting dose.

To take the concentrated liquid, use only the dropper that came with your prescription. Draw into the dropper the amount prescribed for one dose. Squeeze the dropper contents into a liquid or semisolid food such as water, juice, soda, applesauce, or pudding. Stir the liquid or food gently for a few seconds. The concentrated liquid will blend completely with the food. Drink or eat the entire mixture immediately. Do not store for future use.

Remove the orally disintegrating tablet from the bottle just before it is time for your dose. With dry hands, open the bottle, remove the tablet, and immediately place it on your tongue. The tablet will dissolve and can be swallowed with saliva. The orally disintegrating tablet can be taken with or without water.

Swallow the extended-release tablets whole; do not chew, crush, or break them.

Your doctor will probably start you on a low dose of Xanax and gradually increase your dose, not more than once every 3 or 4 days.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the medicine as soon as you can, but skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next dose. Do not take two doses at one time.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222. An overdose of alprazolam can be fatal if you take it with alcohol, opioid medicine, or other drugs that cause drowsiness or slow your breathing.

Overdose symptoms may include severe drowsiness, confusion, slurred speech, muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination, feeling light-headed, slow heartbeats, weak or shallow breathing, fainting, or coma.

Can you drink alcohol while taking Xanax?

Drinking alcohol while taking Xanax can worsen the side effects and be very dangerous. It is not recommended you take this medication with alcohol because the combination can affect your breathing, slow your heart rate, cause dizziness, and can even lead to a loss of consciousness.

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