Pharmacology of Addiction: Xanax

There are a large number of drugs being utilized in the market today for its therapeutic effect. Unfortunately, some drugs, when used incorrectly or excessively may cause addiction and may bring serious dilemma to its user. Xanax or Alprazolam is used to prevent anxiety without causing related sedation (PDR, 2007). A serious consideration of studying drugs in the society is essential in preventing misuse and incorrect consumption. By way of understanding these drugs, addiction and other undesired effects such as poisoning or even fatalities may be prevented.

Drug Origin Dr. Johnson of Alprazolam. cc (2007) provided the following information about the drug: Alprazolam has the chemical nomenclature of “8-Chloro-1-methyl-6-phenyl-4H-1,2,4- -triazolo(4,3-a)(1,4)benzodiazepine”; with the actual formula of its molecules of “C17H13ClN4” and molecular weight of “308. 8” (IPCS, 2007). The Natural Alprazolam is a white crystalline powder, soluble in alcohol, chloroform, slightly soluble in acetone and in ethyl acetate and not soluble in water at normal pH levels.

Xanax is a trade name of Alprazolam with active components of alprazolam chemical classification. Each tablet have an appropriate quantity of alprazolam and inactive components such as cellulose, lactose, pharmaceutical grade corn or maize starch, magnesium stearate ,decussate sodium, silicon dioxide, sodium benzoate and little of food coloring (Drugs. com, 2007). Drug Indication Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug which gives a short-term relief of symptoms or as a cure for anxiety disorders. Anxiety disorder is manifested by unreasonable apprehension or unwarranted terror or fear.

Alprazolam is also prescribed to cure depression, agoraphobia or fear of open places, and premenstrual syndrome (MedlinePlus, 2007). Forms of the Drug Available forms are: oral solution which comes in 0. 5 mg/5 ml, 1 mg/ml (concentrate) dosages and tablets in 0. 25 mg, 0. 5 mg, 1 mg and 2 mg dosages (Nursing Drug Handbook, 2007). Alternate Names Alprazolam is the generic name of the chosen drug. Some other brand names are Apo-Alpraz, Kalma, Novo-Alprazol, Nu-Alpraz and Razolam (Medical Drug Handbook, 2007). Action of the Drug The drugs action is unknown.

This benzodiazepine probably potentiates the effects of inhibitory neurotransmitter, gamma-aminobutyric acid and depresses the CNS at the limbic and sub-cortical levels of the brain (Medical Drug Handbook, 2003). Prescribed Dosages According to Thompson Healthcare (2007), Xanax is indicated for anxiety and panic disorders.

For anxiety, the usual initial dose for adult individuals is 0. 25 to 0. 5 mg taken orally, three or four times a day with a maximum of 4 mg daily in divided doses. While for elderly patients, usual initial dose of 0.25 mg taken orally twice or thrice a day with a maximum of 4 mg daily in divided doses. For panic disorders on the other hand, adults may take 0. 5 mg dose, orally. Intervals are increased three to four days in increments of no more than 1 mg with a maximum of 10 mg daily in divided doses. Dosages are adjusted for patients that are debilitated or those with advanced hepatic disease, usual initial dose is 0. 25 mg via oral route usually given at three or four times a day with a maximum dose of 4. 0 mg in divided doses. Addiction to the drug According to Ashton, C.

(2007), of Royal Victoria Infirmary, misuse of the drug is often related with adolescents and young adults who take benzodiazepines to obtain a floating feeling or a certain highness. Under the influence of the drug causes decreased self-consciousness and poor decision making. Simultaneous intake of alcohol or other depressants with benzodiazepines can be dangerous. Abuse of benzodiazepines is predominantly high among those who use cocaine and heroin. An estimate of 50 percent of individuals undergoing therapy for narcotic or cocaine addiction also turns out to be abusing benzodiazepines.

Since the drug poses a possibility of withdrawal such as severe anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and seizure episodes; sudden discontinuation of taking the medication must be prevented (Karch, 2006). Every patient’s dose should be decreased slowly when discontinuing treatment or when …

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