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What Are the Side Effects of Alprazolam?

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  • Written By: Christina Whyte
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 24 May 2019
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2019
    Conjecture Corporation
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Alprazolam is an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family. It is used in treating a number of different anxiety disorders, including phobias, panic attacks, and depression with anxiety. Most patients tolerate it well, but there are a few minor and serious potential side effects of alprazolam that patients should be aware of.

If minor side effects of alprazolam occur, they usually do so when a patient first starts taking the drug and tend to go away after a short while. Dizziness, tiredness, difficulty concentrating, and lightheadedness are the most common side effects of alprazolam. These are considered exaggerations of the normal effects of alprazolam than true side effects. Other common side effects include an increase or decrease in appetite and weight, constipation, dry mouth, and decreased libido.

There are some rare but potentially dangerous side effects of alprazolam, and patients experiencing them should seek medical attention right away. Allergic reactions, including swelling, itching, rash, and difficulty breathing, are one possibility. Alprazolam may also cause severe problems with memory, coordination, sleep, speech, muscle spasms, or urination. Some patients also experience sudden mood or personality changes or impulsive behavior, such as aggression or self harm.

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One of the most serious side effects of alprazolam is its potential to be addictive. Patients can experience withdrawal effects after stopping alprazolam, particularly if it was taken for a long period of time or at high dosages. Withdrawal effects include dizziness, nausea, sweating, anxiety, insomnia, headaches, and possibly seizures. Due to this, patients should never discontinue alprazolam suddenly or without the supervision of a doctor. People should only take alprazolam if prescribed by a doctor and should not share it with others as a recreational drug.

Alprazolam is also dangerous for an unborn baby and can cause fetal birth defects. Women who are pregnant or may be pregnant should speak to their doctors about the use of alprazolam and discontinuing it if necessary. Effective birth control should be used while taking alprazolam in order to avoid adverse fetal effects. Alprazolam is also dangerous for nursing babies since it is excreted in breast milk.

The side effects of alprazolam, particularly sedation and dizziness, can be increased if this medication is combined with certain other drugs. These include over the counter cold and flu medicine, anti-depressants, narcotic pain medications, and alcohol. Patients should inform the prescribing doctor about all other medications taken, including vitamins and herbal supplements, to avoid the possibility of negative drug interactions.

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