Xanax, known as alprazolam, belongs to the class of benzodiazepines that affect the central nervous system that helps reduce stress and become calm. It works by acting on gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) – a neurotransmitter in the brain.

Xanax was discovered by Pizer and was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1981. It is used for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), anxiety-related depression and panic disorders. Besides, it is also utilized in the treatment of depression and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

How long does Xanax stay in your system?

How long does XANAX stay in your system

As mentioned above, Xanax increases the transmission of gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) by binding to specific benzodiazepine receptors. In the body, GABA also significantly inhibits the propagation of many essential substances such as noradrenaline, serotonin, dopamine, and acetylcholine. The following are how Xanax works and how long does Xanax stays in your system.

After taking a dose of Xanax, it is well absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and achieves the peak plasma concentration within 1 to 2 hours. Plasma half-lives of Xanax averages 11 to 15 hours.

Xanax is mainly metabolized by hepatic oxidation to produce the primary metabolites, alpha-hydroxy, and 4-hydroxyl alprazolam. Both substances have lower benzodiazepine receptor affinity than Xanax, and their plasma concentration is also lower than 10% Xanax. In plasma, the concentration of 4-hydroxyl alprazolam is greater than alpha-hydroxyl; however, in urine, the alpha-hydroxy content is much higher than 4-hydroxy alprazolam. It may be due to the in vitro plasma instability of the 4-hydroxyl alprazolam derivative.

The oral bioavailability of the drug is 88 ± 16%. Normal renal excretion is 20% of the dose. The mean clearance is 0.74 ± 0.14 ml/ min/ kg. The clearance is primarily through metabolism catalyzed by cytochrome P450 3A4 and P450 2D6. Thus, metabolic clearance decreased in people with obesity, cirrhosis or the elderly. The average volume of distribution is 0.72 ± 0.12 liters/ kg, so half-life elimination increases in these people. Xanax concentration is effective in the range of 20 to 40 nanogram/ ml. To relieve panic attacks immediately, higher Xanax plasma concentration may be required.

Read: psychological facts about human behavior

How are doses of Xanax used for different patients?

Before learning doses of Xanax for different patients particularly, keep in mind of form and content of Xanax at first. It is an oral medication including three forms with its content as follows.

  • Extended-release tablets: 0.5 mg, 1 mg, 2 mg and 3 mg.
  • Immediate-release tablets: 0,25 mg, 0.5 mg and 1 mg.
  • Disintegrating tablets: 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg and 2 mg.
  • Concentrated solution: 0.75 mg/ ml and 1 mg/ ml.
  1. Adult patients

To treat anxiety, the usual dose can be immediate-release tablets, disintegrating tablets or concentrated solution.

  • Initial dose: the patient takes 0.25 to 0.5 mg orally three times a day. This dosage may be increased gradually every 3 to 4 days if needed.
  • Maintenance dose: the patient takes maximum daily dose up to 4 mg orally, divided into small doses on a day.

To treat panic disorder, the usual dose can be immediate-release tablets and disintegrating tablets.

  • Initial dose: the patient takes 0.5 mg orally three times a day. This dosage may be increased gradually every 3 to 4 days if needed.
  • Maintenance dose: the patient takes 5 to 6 mg orally, divided into small doses on a day.

Besides, the patient can also take extended-release tablets with the usual dose in the following.

  • Initial dose: the patient takes 0.5 to 1 mg orally once a day. This dosage may be increased gradually no more than 1 mg every 3 to 4 days if needed.
  • Maintenance dose: the patient takes 1 to 10 mg once a day.
  • Average dose: the patient takes 3 to 6 mg once a day.

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To treat depression, the usual dose can be immediate-release tablets, disintegrating tablets or concentrated solution.

  • Initial dose: the patient takes 0.5 mg orally three times a day. This dosage may be increased gradually no greater than 1 mg every 3 to 4 days.
  • Average dose: the patient takes 3 mg orally per day, divided into multiple doses.
  • Maximum dose: the patient takes maximum dose up to 4.5 mg per day, divided multiple doses.
  1. Elderly patients

To treat anxiety, the usual dose can be immediate-release tablets, disintegrating tablets or concentrated solution.

  • Initial dose: the elderly patient takes 0.25 orally twice or three times a day. This dosage may be increased gradually if necessary.

The elderly patients are sensitive to benzodiazepines so they should use the usual dose no more than 2 mg.

To treat panic disorder, the usual dose can be immediate-release and disintegrating tablets.

  • Initial dose: the elderly patient takes 0.25 orally twice or three times a day. This dosage may be increased gradually every 3 to 4 days if necessary.
  • Besides, the patient can also take extended-release tablets with the usual dose in the following.
  • Initial dose: the patient takes 0.5 mg orally once a day, in the morning if possible. This dosage may be increased gradually if necessary.

To treat depression, the usual dose can be disintegrating tablets and concentrated solution.

  • Initial dose: the elderly patient takes 0.25 orally twice or three times a day. This dosage may be increased gradually if necessary.

The elderly patients are sensitive to benzodiazepines so they should use the usual dose no more than 2 mg.

  1. Young patients

The dose for children has not been studied and decided. Ask your doctor if you plan to use this medicine for your baby.

What should you know before taking Xanax?

  • When you are pregnant, you should not take Xanax because it can harm the fetus. Besides, it can also cause symptoms of addiction in a newborn if you use it during pregnancy.
  • Xanax can enter breast milk and can be harmful to your baby. Do not breastfeed your baby while using this medication.
  • Do not take Xanax, if you are using itraconazole (Sporanox) or ketoconazole (Nizoral).
  • Do not take Xanax if you have an allergy to Xanax or other types of benzodiazepines.
  • Consult with your doctor before taking Xanax if you have respiratory problems, glaucoma, disease related to kidney or liver, or you used to have depression or addiction to heroin or alcohol.

How should you take Xanax?

  • Take Xanax exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Sometimes, the doctor may change the dose to ensure the best result.
  • Swallow whole pills instead of breaking them into small pieces so that they can release the drug slowly into the body. Breakage is causing too many drugs issuing at the same time.
  • Tell your physician if Xanax appears to be ineffective in your treatment.
  • There may be seizures or symptoms of addiction when stopping Xanax. Ask your doctor how to avoid these symptoms when stopping it.
  • Store Xanax at the room temperature.

See also: what is Mental illness

What should you avoid when taking Xanax?

  • Do not consume alcohol while taking Xanax. It can increase the impacts of alcohol.
  • Xanax can reduce thought or reaction. Watch out if you do anything that requires concentration.
    • Do not use pomelo products while you are taking Xanax. The reason is that they may have interaction with Xanax and result in possibly poor impacts.
  • What will happen if you forget a dose of Xanax?Take that dose immediately when you recall. Skip the missed dose if it is close to the time for the next dose. Do not take double dose including the forgotten dose at the same time.What will happen if you take an overdose of Xanax?

    Seek medical attention urgently. Overdosing on Xanax can cause symptoms such as balance loss, fainting, confusion, muscle weakness, extreme drowsiness, and lethargy. More dangerously, it may cause death for patients.

    REFERENCES:

    1. https://carekees.com/how-long-does-xanax-stay-in-your-system/
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMHT0008896/
    3. http://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-9824/xanax-oral/details

     

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