Xanax is brand of alprazolam an antianxiety medication that belongs to a class of medications known as benzodiazepines. This is the same family that includes diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), flurazepam (Dalmane), and others. Xanax works by decreasing abnormal excitement in the brain. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it in October 1981.
Benzodiazepines act on the brain and central nervous system (CNS) to produce a calming effect. Xanax slows down the movement of brain chemicals that may have become unbalanced, resulting in a reduction in nervous tension and anxiety. Xanax works by boosting the effects of a natural chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid, which is made in the brain.
Xanax (Benzodiazepines) are included in Schedule IV of the CSA. Because of this classification, it would seem to indicate that this class of medications has a relatively low potential for abuse in comparison with many other types of controlled substances. This doesn’t mean that it is in any way less dangerous and addictive. Xanax and other Benzodiazepines do have the potential for physical dependence when used for long periods of time and can be psychologically addictive in some individuals.
Does Xanax cause weight loss or weight gain?
Studies have shown that prolonged use or abuse Xanax can cause both weight gain and weight loss. Sometimes, people who use or abuse Xanax reduce their energy output and sleep more, which can cause weight gain. In contrast, Xanax can cause loss of appetite as a side effect which may lead to weight loss, or binge eating episodes when users experience a surge of hunger. In infants, chronic administration of benzodiazepines like Xanax to nursing mothers has been has been reported to cause lethargy and weight loss.
Xanax may be habit forming. Do not take a larger dose, take it more often, or for a longer time than your doctor tells you to. Tell your doctor if you have ever drunk large amounts of alcohol, if you use or have ever used street drugs, or have overused prescription medications. Do not drink alcohol or use street drugs during your treatment. Drinking alcohol or using street drugs during your treatment with alprazolam also increases the risk that you will experience these serious, life-threatening side effects. Also tell your doctor if you have or have ever had depression or another mental illness.
Xanax may cause a physical dependence (a condition in which unpleasant physical symptoms occur if a medication is suddenly stopped or taken in smaller doses), especially if you take it for several days to several weeks. Do not stop taking this medication or take fewer doses without talking to your doctor. Stopping alprazolam suddenly can worsen your condition and cause withdrawal symptoms that may last for several weeks to more than 12 months.
Your doctor probably will decrease your alprazolam dose gradually. Call your doctor or get emergency medical treatment if you experience any of the following symptoms: unusual movements; ringing in your ears; anxiety; memory problems; difficulty concentrating; sleep problems; seizures; shaking; muscle twitching; changes in mental health; depression; burning or prickling feeling in hands, arms, legs or feet; seeing or hearing things that others do not see or hear; thoughts of harming or killing yourself or others; overexcitement; or losing touch with reality.
Drug-induced weight gain is a serious side effect of many commonly used drugs leading to noncompliance with therapy and to exacerbation of comorbid conditions related to obesity. Talk to your doctor if Xanax is making you gain weight.