Alprazolam, sold as the trade name Xanax among others, is a short-acting benzodiazepine. It is most commonly used in short term management of anxiety disorders, specifically panic disorder or generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Other uses include chemotherapy induced nausea, together with other treatments. GAD improvement occurs generally within a week. Alprazolam is available by mouth.
Common side effects include sleepiness, depression, headaches, feeling tired, dry mouth, and memory problems. Some of the sedation and tiredness may improve within a few days. Due to concerns about misuse, some do not recommend alprazolam as an initial treatment for panic disorder. Withdrawal or rebound symptoms may occur if use is suddenly decreased. Other rare risks include suicide, possibly due to loss of inhibition. Gradually decreasing the dose over weeks or months may be required. Alprazolam, like other benzodiazepines, binds to the GABAA receptor through which it acts.
Alprazolam was approved for medical use in 1981. Overall in 2010 it was the 12th most prescribed medicine in the United States. Alprazolam is a Schedule IV controlled substance and is a common drug of abuse. It is available as a generic medication. The wholesale cost in the United States is less than 0.03 USD per dose as of 2018. In 2016 it was the 19th most prescribed medication in the United States with more than 27 million prescriptions.