Nearly everybody has heard something negative or weird about Xanax side effects (Xanax is the brand name of the generic drug Alprazolam). This article seeks to separate fact from fiction on a number of commonly asked questions, so you and your family can get the right information and make informed choices.
Fiction: Xanax stays in your body for weeks and months.
Fact: For a healthy adult, the average time taken for Xanax to leave the system is 11.2 hours. For a healthy adult aged over 65, Xanax will take an average of 16.3 hours to leave the body.
Fiction: You can get ‘permanent brain damage’ from using Xanax.
Fact: There is no evidence to show that Xanax causes any type of brain damage. However, research shows that there are some serious side effects, although they are quite rare. Here is a list of such:
– seizures (particularly if dosage is dicontinued abruptly)
– allergic reactions, including rash and anaphylaxis (a sudden, severe, potentially fatal, systemic allergic reaction that can involve various areas of the body)
blood disorders, including leucopenia and leucocytosis
– difficulty concentrating
– slurred or unusual speech
– double vision
– fear or anxiety
– altered sense of taste
– lack of inhibition
– muscle cramps or spasms
– urination problems
– change in muscle tone
– yellow eyes and skin
– hyperexcitement or overstimulation
– rage or other hostile behavior
– transient elevated liver function tests
– insomnia or sleeping difficulties
Fiction: Once you get ‘hooked’ on Xanax it’s really hard to stop.
Fact: Because Xanax has a fast elimination rate from the body (compared with other drugs of its type), rebound and withdrawal symptoms are more prominent after discontinuation.
The risk of dependence or addiction is increased when:
– You’ve been taking more than 4 mg a day;
– You’ve been taking Xanax for a long period of time;
– You have a history of drug or alcohol abuse
You will feel as though you are addicted if you try to discontinue taking Xanax abruptly. This is commonly why people get so worried and frustrated about using this drug.
The best way to discontinue use is to taper the dosage. This means reducing the dose by small amounts on a regular basis, to help the body adjust accordingly and to reduce intake to zero. Tapering is an extremely effective method; it is recommended that Xanax dosage be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every three days.
Fiction: Xanax will make you fat / Xanax will make you skinny.
You will not become “fat” or “skinny” from using Xanax. However, research has shown that Xanax does indeed increase food intake in humans.
Fact: For women Xanax use significantly increases food intake premenstrually compared to postmenstrually (particularly fatty foods). The study demonstrated how normally restrained eaters consumed 26% more calories premenstrually, whereas unrestrained eaters consumed 9% more calories.
Fiction: You will have no sex life whilst using Xanax
Fact: Yes, it is true that Alprazolam can cause a loss of sexual desire and function. This does not mean however that you will have no sex life. It simply means that you will have to talk to your doctor about what strategies are available to compensate for the Alprazolam’s effects. Some evidence suggests use of Viagra to counter the negative sexual side effects.
Uncommon but documented cases include: inhibited female orgasm (using 5 mg/day); impaired ejaculation (using 3.5 mg/day), decreased libido, impaired erection (using 4.5 mg/day); altered timing and pattern of menstruation (using 0.75 to 4 mg/day.)
Fiction: Xanax can be used as a ‘party drug’.
Fact: You are putting yourself at great risk if you misuse this medication. It is well known that overdoses of Alprazolam can cause unconsciousness, coma and death.
Combine this with the fact that alcohol increases the drowsiness and dizziness associated with Xanax, and you will quickly realise that this is not a drug to be abused at parties or for recreation. People die needlessly because of accidents involving alcohol and Xanax overdose.
Although this article ends on a decidedly solemn (but necessary) note, I hope it has been of genuine help to you!