Common and Rare Side Effects of Xanax

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Xanax is the brand name for the drug alprazolam, a type of benzodiazepine that is sometimes prescribed to treat panic disorder and other anxiety conditions. Common side effects of Xanax include dizziness, dry mouth, drowsiness, headache, and slurred speech, but there are some effects that are rarer. If you or someone you love is taking Xanax or alprazolam (the generic version), you should be aware of the potential side effects, as well as the effects of overdose and discontinuation.

According to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, alprazolam is the third most commonly prescribed psychiatric drug in the U.S.

Xanax Side Effects

Check with your doctor if any of the following side effects are pervasive or are bothersome:

More Common: Dry mouth; sleepiness; drowsiness; clumsiness or unsteadiness; dizziness or light-headedness; speech disturbances.

Less Common or Rare: Gastrointestinal disturbances; blurred vision or other changes in vision; changes in sexual desire or ability; a headache; increased saliva; muscle spasm; problems urinating; trembling or shaking; unusual tiredness or weakness; weight changes.

When to Notify Your Doctor

Contact your doctor if you experience the following side effects:

Less Common: Anxiety; confusion (may be more common in the elderly); fast, pounding or irregular heartbeat; memory disturbances.

Rare: Abnormal thinking, disorientation, delusions or agitation; behavior changes, including aggressive behavior, bizarre behavior, decreased inhibition or outbursts of anger; convulsions (seizures); hallucinations; hypotension (low blood pressure); muscle weakness; skin rash or itching; sore throat, fever, and chills; ulcers or sores in mouth or throat; uncontrolled movements of body, including the eyes; unusual bleeding or bruising; unusual excitement, nervousness or irritability; unusual tiredness or weakness (severe); yellow eyes or skin.

Xanax Withdrawal Side Effects 

Xanax dependence may occur within a relatively short period of time, especially at higher dosages. Tolerance can also occur quickly, so people may find themselves needing to take more of the drug to achieve the same effects that they initially experienced.

For this reason, Xanax should be tapered off. Tapering involves gradually reducing the dosage of the drug in order to minimize potential withdrawal effects. There is a higher risk of withdrawal effects if the drug is stopped abruptly.

More Common: Irritability; nervousness; insomnia; anxiety; light-headedness; a headache; fatigue; nausea or vomiting; weight loss; decreased appetite; sweating; unusual involuntary movement.

Less Common: Abdominal cramps, nausea or vomiting; fast or pounding heartbeat; increased physical sensitivities; increased sweating; delusions, hallucination, cognitive disturbances, muscle cramps or abnormal movements.

Rare (Notify Your Doctor Immediately): Confusion of time, place or person; convulsions (seizures); feelings of suspicion or distrust; hallucinations.

Xanax Overdose Side Effects 

Side effects of a Xanax overdose include confusion (continuing); convulsions (seizures); drowsiness (severe) or coma; shakiness; abnormal heartbeat; slow reflexes; slurred speech (continuing); staggering; troubled breathing; weakness (severe).

Other side effects not listed above may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your doctor.

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