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Xanax® (Alprazolam) Uses, Dosages, Side Effects, & Interactions

MEDICATIONS

Xanax® – alprazolam (View the FDA label)

Dosage should be individualized for maximum beneficial effect. While the usual daily dosages given below will meet the needs of most patients, there will be some who require doses greater than 4 mg/day. In such cases, dosage should be increased cautiously to avoid adverse effects.

Anxiety Disorders and Transient Symptoms of Anxiety
Treatment for patients with anxiety should be initiated with a dose of 0.25 to 0.5 mg given three times daily. The dose may be increased to achieve a maximum therapeutic effect, at intervals of 3 to 4 days, to a maximum daily dose of 4 mg, given in divided doses. The lowest possible effective dose should be employed and the need for continued treatment reassessed frequently. The risk of dependence may increase with dose and duration of treatment. 19 Reference ID: 3004871 In all patients, dosage should be reduced gradually when discontinuing therapy or when decreasing the daily dosage. Although there are no systematically collected data to support a specific discontinuation schedule, it is suggested that the daily dosage be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every 3 days. Some patients may require an even slower dosage reduction.

Panic Disorder
The successful treatment of many panic disorder patients has required the use of XANAX at doses greater than 4 mg daily. In controlled trials conducted to establish the efficacy of XANAX in panic disorder, doses in the range of 1 to 10 mg daily were used. The mean dosage employed was approximately 5 to 6 mg daily. Among the approximately 1700 patients participating in the panic disorder development program, about 300 received XANAX in dosages of greater than 7 mg/day, including approximately 100 patients who received maximum dosages of greater than 9 mg/day. Occasional patients required as much as 10 mg a day to achieve a successful response.

Dose Titration
Treatment may be initiated with a dose of 0.5 mg three times daily. Depending on the response, the dose may be increased at intervals of 3 to 4 days in increments of no more than 1 mg per day. Slower titration to the dose levels greater than 4 mg/day may be advisable to allow full expression of the pharmacodynamic effect of XANAX. To lessen the possibility of interdose symptoms, the times of administration should be distributed as evenly as possible throughout the waking hours, that is, on a three or four times per day schedule.

Generally, therapy should be initiated at a low dose to minimize the risk of adverse responses in patients especially sensitive to the drug. Dose should be advanced until an acceptable therapeutic response (ie, a substantial reduction in or total elimination of panic attacks) is achieved, intolerance occurs, or the maximum recommended dose is attained.

Dose Maintenance
For patients receiving doses greater than 4 mg/day, periodic reassessment and consideration of dosage reduction is advised. In a controlled postmarketing dose-response study, patients treated with doses of XANAX greater than 4 mg/day for 3 months were able to taper to 50% of their total maintenance dose without apparent loss of clinical benefit. Because of the danger of withdrawal, abrupt discontinuation of treatment should be avoided. (See WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE.)

The necessary duration of treatment for panic disorder patients responding to XANAX is unknown. After a period of extended freedom from attacks, a carefully supervised tapered discontinuation may be attempted, but there is evidence that this may often be difficult to accomplish without recurrence of symptoms and/or the manifestation of withdrawal phenomena.

Dose Reduction
Because of the danger of withdrawal, abrupt discontinuation of treatment should be avoided (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).

In all patients, dosage should be reduced gradually when discontinuing therapy or when decreasing the daily dosage. Although there are no systematically collected data to support a specific discontinuation schedule, it is suggested that the daily dosage be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every three days. Some patients may require an even slower dosage reduction.

In any case, reduction of dose must be undertaken under close supervision and must be gradual. If significant withdrawal symptoms develop, the previous dosing schedule should be reinstituted and, only after stabilization, should a less rapid schedule of discontinuation be attempted. In a controlled postmarketing discontinuation study of panic disorder patients which compared this recommended taper schedule with a slower taper schedule, no difference was observed between the groups in the proportion of patients who tapered to zero dose; however, the slower schedule was associated with a reduction in symptoms associated with a withdrawal syndrome. It is suggested that the dose be reduced by no more than 0.5 mg every 3 days, with the understanding that some patients may benefit from an even more gradual discontinuation. Some patients may prove resistant to all discontinuation regimens.

Dosing in Special Populations
In elderly patients, in patients with advanced liver disease or in patients with debilitating disease, the usual starting dose is 0.25 mg, given two or three times daily. This may be gradually increased if needed and tolerated. The elderly may be especially sensitive to the effects of benzodiazepines. If side effects occur at the recommended starting dose, the dose may be lowered.

HOW SUPPLIED

XANAX Tablets are available as follows:

0.25 mg (white, oval, scored, imprinted “XANAX 0.25”)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0029-01
Reverse Numbered Unit dose (100) NDC 0009-0029-46
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0029-02
Bottles of 1000 NDC 0009-0029-14
0.5 mg (peach, oval, scored, imprinted “XANAX 0.5”)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0055-01
Reverse Numbered Unit Dose (100) NDC 0009-0055-46
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0055-03
Bottles of 1000 NDC 0009-0055-15
1 mg (blue, oval, scored, imprinted “XANAX 1.0”)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0090-01
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0090-04
Bottles of 1000 NDC 0009-0090-13 21
2 mg (white, oblong, multi-scored, imprinted “XANAX ” on one side and “2” on the reverse side)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0094-01
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0094-03

Store at controlled room temperature 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [see USP].

The information included in the subsection on Adverse Events Observed in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials with XANAX XR Tablets is based on pooled data of five 6- and 8­ week placebo-controlled clinical studies in panic disorder.

Adverse event reports were elicited either by general inquiry or by checklist, and were recorded by clinical investigators using terminology of their own choosing. The stated frequencies of adverse events represent the proportion of individuals who experienced, at least once, a treatment-emergent adverse event of the type listed. An event was considered treatment emergent if it occurred for the first time or worsened during therapy following baseline evaluation. In the tables and tabulations that follow, standard MedDRA terminology (version 4.0) was used to classify reported adverse events.

Adverse Events Observed in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials of XANAX XR
Adverse Events Reported as Reasons for Discontinuation of Treatment in Placebo Controlled Trials
Approximately 17% of the 531 patients who received XANAX XR in placebo-controlled clinical trials for panic disorder had at least one adverse event that led to discontinuation compared to 8% of 349 placebo-treated patients. The most common events leading to discontinuation and considered to be drug-related (ie, leading to discontinuation in at least 1% of the patients treated with XANAX XR at a rate at least twice that of placebo) are shown in the following table.

Common Adverse Events Leaing to Discontinuation of Treatment
in Placebo-Controlled Trials
Strong Organ Class/Adverse Event Percentage of Patients Discontinuing
Due to Adverse Events
XANAX XR
(n=531)
Placebo
(n=349)
Nervous system disorders
Sedation 7.5 0.6
Somnolence 3.2 0.3
Dysarthria 2.1 0
Coordination abnormal 1.9 0.3
Memory impairment 1.5 0.3
General disorders/administration site conditions
Fatigue 1.7 0.6
Psychiatric disorders
Depression 2.5 1.2

Adverse Events Occurring at an Incidence of 1% or More Among Patients Treated with XANAX XR
The prescriber should be aware that adverse event incidence cannot be used to predict the incidence of adverse events in the course of usual medical practice where patient characteristics and other factors differ from those which prevailed in the clinical trials. Similarly, the cited frequencies cannot be compared with event incidence obtained from other clinical investigations involving different treatments, uses, and investigators. The cited values, however, do provide the prescribing physician with some basis for estimating the relative contribution of drug and non-drug factors to the adverse event incidence rate in the population studied.

The following table shows the incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred during 6- to 8-week placebo-controlled trials in 1% or more of patients treated with XANAX XR where the incidence in patients treated with XANAX XR was greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients. The most commonly observed adverse events in panic disorder patients treated with XANAX XR (incidence of 5% or greater and at least twice the incidence in placebo patients) were: sedation, somnolence, memory impairment, dysarthria, coordination abnormal, ataxia, libido decreased (see table).

Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events:
Incidence in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trails with
XANAX XR
System Organ Class/Adverse Event Percentage of Patients
Reporting Adverse Event
XANAX XR
(n=531)
Placebo
(n=349)
Nervous system disorders
Sedation 45.2 22.6
Somnolence 23.0 6.0
Memory impairment 15.4 6.9
Dysartria 10.9 2.6
Coordination abnormal 9.4 0.9
Mental impairment 7.2 5.7
Ataxia 7.2 3.2
Disturbance in attention 3.2 0.6
Balance impaired 3.2 0.6
Paresthesia 2.4 1.7
Dyskinesia 1.7 1.4
Hypoesthesia 1.3 0.3
Hypersomnia 1.3 0
General disorders/administration site conditions
Fatigue 13.9 9.2
Lethargy 1.7 0.6
Infections and infestations
Influenza 2.4 2.3
Upper respiratory tract infections 1.9 1.7
Psychiatric disorders
Depression 12.1 9.2
Libido decreased 6.0 2.3
Disorientation 1.5 0
Confusion 1.5 0.9
Depressed mood 1.3 0.3
Anxiety 1.1 0.6
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
Appetite decreased 7.3 7.2
Appetite increased 7.0 6.0
Anorexia 1.5 0
Gastrointestinal disorders
Dry mouth 10.2 9.7
Constipation 8.1 4.3
Nausea 6.0 3.2
Pharyngolaryngeal pain 3.2 2.6
Investigations
Weight increased 5.1 4.3
Weight decreased 4.3 3.7
Injury, poisoning, and procedural complications
Road traffic accident 1.5 0
Reproductive system and breast disorders
Dysmenorrhea 3.6 2.9
Sexual dysfunction 2.4 1.1
Premenstrual syndrome 1.7 0.6
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
Arthralgia 2.4 0.6
Myalgia 2.4 0.6
Pain in limb 1.1 0.3
Vascular disorders
Hot flushes 1.5 1.4
Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders
Dyspnea 1.5 0.3
Rhinitis allergic 1.1 0.6
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
SedationPruritis 1.1 0.9

Other Adverse Events Observed During the Premarketing Evaluation of XANAX XR Tablets
Following is a list of MedDRA terms that reflect treatment-emergent adverse events reported by 531 patients with panic disorder treated with XANAX XR. All potentially important reported events are included except those already listed in the above table or elsewhere in labeling, those events for which a drug cause was remote, those event terms that were so general as to be uninformative, and those events that occurred at rates similar to background rates in the general population. It is important to emphasize that, although the events reported occurred during treatment with XANAX XR, they were not necessarily caused by the drug. Events are further categorized by body system and listed in order of decreasing frequency according to the following definitions: frequent adverse events are those occurring on 1 or more occasions in at least l/l00 patients; infrequent adverse events are those occurring in less than l/100 patients but at least l/1000 patients; rare events are those occurring in fewer than l/1000 patients.

Cardiac disorders: Frequent: palpitation; Infrequent: sinus tachycardia
Ear and Labyrinth disorders: Frequent: Vertigo; Infrequent: tinnitus, ear pain
Eye disorders: Frequent: blurred vision; Infrequent: mydriasis, photophobia
Gastrointestinal disorders: Frequent: diarrhea, vomiting, dyspepsia, abdominal pain; Infrequent: dysphagia, salivary hypersecretion
General disorders and administration site conditions: Frequent: malaise, weakness, chest pains; Infrequent: fall, pyrexia, thirst, feeling hot and cold, edema, feeling jittery, sluggishness, asthenia, feeling drunk, chest tightness, increased energy, feeling of relaxation, hangover, loss of control of legs, rigors
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: Frequent: back pain, muscle cramps, muscle twitching
Nervous system disorders: Frequent: headache, dizziness, tremor; Infrequent: amnesia, clumsiness, syncope, hypotonia, seizures, depressed level of consciousness, sleep apnea syndrome, sleep talking, stupor
Psychiatric system disorders: Frequent: irritability, insomnia, nervousness, derealization, libido increased, restlessness, agitation, depersonalization, nightmare; Infrequent: abnormal dreams, apathy, aggression, anger, bradyphrenia, euphoric mood, logorrhea, mood swings, dysphonia, hallucination, homicidal ideation, mania, hypomania, impulse control, psychomotor retardation, suicidal ideation
Renal and urinary disorders: Frequent: difficulty in micturition; Infrequent: urinary frequency, urinary incontinence
Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders: Frequent: nasal congestion, hyperventilation; Infrequent: choking sensation, epistaxis, rhinorrhea
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: Frequent: sweating increased; Infrequent: clamminess, rash, urticaria
Vascular disorders: Infrequent: hypotension

The categories of adverse events reported in the clinical development program for XANAX Tablets in the treatment of panic disorder differ somewhat from those reported for XANAX XR Tablets because the clinical trials with XANAX Tablets and XANAX XR Tablets used different standard medical nomenclature for reporting the adverse events. Nevertheless, the types of adverse events reported in the clinical trials with XANAX Tablets were generally the same as those reported in the clinical trials with XANAX XR Tablets.

Discontinuation-Emergent Adverse Events Occurring at an Incidence of 5% or More Among Patients Treated with XANAX XR
The following table shows the incidence of discontinuation-emergent adverse events that occurred during short-term, placebo-controlled trials in 5% or more of patients treated with XANAX XR where the incidence in patients treated with XANAX XR was two times greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients.

Incidence in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials
with XANAX XR
System Organ Class/Adverse Event Perecentage of Patients Reporting
Adverse Event
XANAX XR
(n=422)
Placebo
(n=261)
Nervous system disorders
Tremor 28.2 10.7
Headache 26.5 12.6
Hypoesthesia 7.8 2.3
Paraesthesia 7.1 2.7
Psychiatric disorders
Insomnia 24.2 9.6
Nervousness 21.8 8.8
Depression 10.9 5.0
Derealization 8.0 3.8
Anxiety 7.8 2.7
Depersonalization 5.7 1.9
Gastrointestinal disorders
Diarrhea 12.1 3.1
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
Hyperventilation 8.5 2.7
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
Appetite decreased 9.5 3.8
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
Muscle twitching 7.4 2.7
Vascular disorders
Hot flushes 5.9 2.7

There have also been reports of withdrawal seizures upon rapid decrease or abrupt discontinuation of alprazolam (see WARNINGS).

To discontinue treatment in patients taking XANAX XR Tablets, the dosage should be reduced slowly in keeping with good medical practice. It is suggested that the daily dosage of XANAX XR Tablets be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every three days (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Some patients may benefit from an even slower dosage reduction. In a controlled postmarketing discontinuation study of panic disorder patients which compared this recommended taper schedule with a slower taper schedule, no difference was observed between the groups in the proportion of patients who tapered to zero dose; however, the slower schedule was associated with a reduction in symptoms associated with a withdrawal syndrome.

As with all benzodiazepines, paradoxical reactions such as stimulation, increased muscle spasticity, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, and other adverse behavioral effects such as agitation, rage, irritability, and aggressive or hostile behavior have been reported rarely. In many of the spontaneous case reports of adverse behavioral effects, patients were receiving other CNS drugs concomitantly and/or were described as having underlying psychiatric conditions. Should any of the above events occur, alprazolam should be discontinued. Isolated published reports involving small numbers of patients have suggested that patients who have borderline personality disorder, a prior history of violent or aggressive behavior, or alcohol or substance abuse may be at risk for such events. Instances of irritability, hostility, and intrusive thoughts have been reported during discontinuation of alprazolam in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder.

General

Suicide
As with other psychotropic medications, the usual precautions with respect to administration of the drug and size of the prescription are indicated for severely depressed patients or those in whom there is reason to expect concealed suicidal ideation or plans. Panic disorder has been associated with primary and secondary major depressive disorders and increased reports of suicide among untreated patients.

Mania
Episodes of hypomania and mania have been reported in association with the use of XANAX in patients with depression.

Uricosuric Effect
Alprazolam has a weak uricosuric effect. Although other medications with weak uricosuric effect have been reported to cause acute renal failure, there have been no reported instances of acute renal failure attributable to therapy with XANAX.

Use in Patients with Concomitant Illness
It is recommended that the dosage be limited to the smallest effective dose to preclude the development of ataxia or oversedation which may be a particular problem in elderly or debilitated patients. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.) The usual precautions in treating patients with impaired renal, hepatic or pulmonary function should be observed. There have been rare reports of death in patients with severe pulmonary disease shortly after the initiation of treatment with XANAX. A decreased systemic alprazolam elimination rate (eg, increased plasma half-life) has been observed in both alcoholic liver disease patients and obese patients receiving XANAX (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

Information for Patients

For all users of XANAX:
To assure safe and effective use of benzodiazepines, all patients prescribed XANAX should be provided with the following guidance.

  1. Inform your physician about any alcohol consumption and medicine you are taking now, including medication you may buy without a prescription. Alcohol should generally not be used during treatment with benzodiazepines.
  2. Not recommended for use in pregnancy. Therefore, inform your physician if you are pregnant, if you are planning to have a child, or if you become pregnant while you are taking this medication.
  3. Inform your physician if you are nursing.
  4. Until you experience how this medication affects you, do not drive a car or operate potentially dangerous machinery, etc.
  5. Do not increase the dose even if you think the medication “does not work anymore” without consulting your physician. Benzodiazepines, even when used as recommended, may produce emotional and/or physical dependence.
  6. Do not stop taking this medication abruptly or decrease the dose without consulting your physician, since withdrawal symptoms can occur.

Additional advice for panic disorder patients:
The use of XANAX at doses greater than 4 mg/day, often necessary to treat panic disorder, is accompanied by risks that you need to carefully consider. When used at doses greater than 4 mg/day, which may or may not be required for your treatment, XANAX has the potential to cause severe emotional and physical dependence in some patients and these patients may find it exceedingly difficult to terminate treatment. In two controlled trials of 6 to 8 weeks duration where the ability of patients to discontinue medication was measured, 7 to 29% of patients treated with XANAX did not completely taper off therapy. In a controlled postmarketing discontinuation study of panic disorder patients, the patients treated with doses of XANAX greater than 4 mg/day had more difficulty tapering to zero dose than patients treated with less than 4 mg/day. In all cases, it is important that your physician help you discontinue this medication in a careful and safe manner to avoid overly extended use of XANAX.

In addition, the extended use at doses greater than 4 mg/day appears to increase the incidence and severity of withdrawal reactions when XANAX is discontinued. These are generally minor but seizure can occur, especially if you reduce the dose too rapidly or discontinue the medication abruptly. Seizure can be life-threatening.

Laboratory Tests
Laboratory tests are not ordinarily required in otherwise healthy patients. However, when treatment is protracted, periodic blood counts, urinalysis, and blood chemistry analyses are advisable in keeping with good medical practice.

Use with Other CNS Depressants
If XANAX Tablets are to be combined with other psychotropic agents or anticonvulsant drugs, careful consideration should be given to the pharmacology of the agents to be employed, particularly with compounds which might potentiate the action of benzodiazepines. The benzodiazepines, including alprazolam, produce additive CNS depressant effects when co-administered with other psychotropic medications, anticonvulsants, antihistaminics, ethanol and other drugs which themselves produce CNS depression.

Use with Imipramine and Desipramine
The steady state plasma concentrations of imipramine and desipramine have been reported to be increased an average of 31% and 20%, respectively, by the concomitant administration of XANAX Tablets in doses up to 4 mg/day. The clinical significance of these changes is unknown.

Drugs that inhibit alprazolam metabolism via cytochrome P450 3A
The initial step in alprazolam metabolism is hydroxylation catalyzed by cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A). Drugs which inhibit this metabolic pathway may have a profound effect on the clearance of alprazolam (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS for additional drugs of this type).

Drugs demonstrated to be CYP3A inhibitors of possible clinical significance on the basis of clinical studies involving alprazolam (caution is recommended during coadministration with alprazolam)
Fluoxetine—Coadministration of fluoxetine with alprazolam increased the maximum plasma concentration of alprazolam by 46%, decreased clearance by 21%, increased half-life by 17%, and decreased measured psychomotor performance.

Propoxyphene—Coadministration of propoxyphene decreased the maximum plasma concentration of alprazolam by 6%, decreased clearance by 38%, and increased half-life by 58%.

Oral Contraceptives—Coadministration of oral contraceptives increased the maximum plasma concentration of alprazolam by 18%, decreased clearance by 22%, and increased half-life by 29%.

Drugs and other substances demonstrated to be CYP 3A inhibitors on the basis of clinical studies involving benzodiazepines metabolized similarly to alprazolam or on the basis of in vitro studies with alprazolam or other benzodiazepines (caution is recommended during coadministration with alprazolam)
Available data from clinical studies of benzodiazepines other than alprazolam suggest a possible drug interaction with alprazolam for the following: diltiazem, isoniazid, macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin and clarithromycin, and grapefruit juice. Data from in vitro studies of alprazolam suggest a possible drug interaction with alprazolam for the following: sertraline and paroxetine. However, data from an in vivo drug interaction study involving a single dose of alprazolam 1 mg and steady state dose of sertraline (50 to 150 mg/day) did not reveal any clinically significant changes in the pharmacokinetics of alprazolam. Data from in vitro studies of benzodiazepines other than alprazolam suggest a possible drug interaction for the following: ergotamine, cyclosporine, amiodarone, nicardipine, and nifedipine. Caution is recommended during the coadministration of any of these with alprazolam (see WARNINGS).

Drugs demonstrated to be inducers of CYP3A
Carbamazepine can increase alprazolam metabolism and therefore can decrease plasma levels of alprazolam.

Overdosage reports with XANAX Tablets are limited. As in all cases of drug overdosage, respiration, pulse rate, and blood pressure should be monitored. General supportive measures should be employed, along with immediate gastric lavage. Intravenous fluids should be administered and an adequate airway maintained. If hypotension occurs, it may be combated by the use of vasopressors. Dialysis is of limited value. As with the management of intentional overdosing with any drug, it should be borne in mind that multiple agents may have been ingested.

Flumazenil, a specific benzodiazepine receptor antagonist, is indicated for the complete or partial reversal of the sedative effects of benzodiazepines and may be used in situations when an overdose with a benzodiazepine is known or suspected. Prior to the administration of flumazenil, necessary measures should be instituted to secure airway, ventilation and intravenous access. Flumazenil is intended as an adjunct to, not as a substitute for, proper management of benzodiazepine overdose. Patients treated with flumazenil should be monitored for re-sedation, respiratory depression, and other residual benzodiazepine effects for an appropriate period after treatment. The prescriber should be aware of a risk of seizure in association with flumazenil treatment, particularly in long-term benzodiazepine users and in cyclic antidepressant overdose. The complete flumazenil package insert including CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS should be consulted prior to use.

Uses

Dosage should be individualized for maximum beneficial effect. While the usual daily dosages given below will meet the needs of most patients, there will be some who require doses greater than 4 mg/day. In such cases, dosage should be increased cautiously to avoid adverse effects.

Anxiety Disorders and Transient Symptoms of Anxiety
Treatment for patients with anxiety should be initiated with a dose of 0.25 to 0.5 mg given three times daily. The dose may be increased to achieve a maximum therapeutic effect, at intervals of 3 to 4 days, to a maximum daily dose of 4 mg, given in divided doses. The lowest possible effective dose should be employed and the need for continued treatment reassessed frequently. The risk of dependence may increase with dose and duration of treatment. 19 Reference ID: 3004871 In all patients, dosage should be reduced gradually when discontinuing therapy or when decreasing the daily dosage. Although there are no systematically collected data to support a specific discontinuation schedule, it is suggested that the daily dosage be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every 3 days. Some patients may require an even slower dosage reduction.

Panic Disorder
The successful treatment of many panic disorder patients has required the use of XANAX at doses greater than 4 mg daily. In controlled trials conducted to establish the efficacy of XANAX in panic disorder, doses in the range of 1 to 10 mg daily were used. The mean dosage employed was approximately 5 to 6 mg daily. Among the approximately 1700 patients participating in the panic disorder development program, about 300 received XANAX in dosages of greater than 7 mg/day, including approximately 100 patients who received maximum dosages of greater than 9 mg/day. Occasional patients required as much as 10 mg a day to achieve a successful response.

Dose Titration
Treatment may be initiated with a dose of 0.5 mg three times daily. Depending on the response, the dose may be increased at intervals of 3 to 4 days in increments of no more than 1 mg per day. Slower titration to the dose levels greater than 4 mg/day may be advisable to allow full expression of the pharmacodynamic effect of XANAX. To lessen the possibility of interdose symptoms, the times of administration should be distributed as evenly as possible throughout the waking hours, that is, on a three or four times per day schedule.

Generally, therapy should be initiated at a low dose to minimize the risk of adverse responses in patients especially sensitive to the drug. Dose should be advanced until an acceptable therapeutic response (ie, a substantial reduction in or total elimination of panic attacks) is achieved, intolerance occurs, or the maximum recommended dose is attained.

Dose Maintenance
For patients receiving doses greater than 4 mg/day, periodic reassessment and consideration of dosage reduction is advised. In a controlled postmarketing dose-response study, patients treated with doses of XANAX greater than 4 mg/day for 3 months were able to taper to 50% of their total maintenance dose without apparent loss of clinical benefit. Because of the danger of withdrawal, abrupt discontinuation of treatment should be avoided. (See WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE.)

The necessary duration of treatment for panic disorder patients responding to XANAX is unknown. After a period of extended freedom from attacks, a carefully supervised tapered discontinuation may be attempted, but there is evidence that this may often be difficult to accomplish without recurrence of symptoms and/or the manifestation of withdrawal phenomena.

Dose Reduction
Because of the danger of withdrawal, abrupt discontinuation of treatment should be avoided (see WARNINGS, PRECAUTIONS, DRUG ABUSE AND DEPENDENCE).

In all patients, dosage should be reduced gradually when discontinuing therapy or when decreasing the daily dosage. Although there are no systematically collected data to support a specific discontinuation schedule, it is suggested that the daily dosage be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every three days. Some patients may require an even slower dosage reduction.

In any case, reduction of dose must be undertaken under close supervision and must be gradual. If significant withdrawal symptoms develop, the previous dosing schedule should be reinstituted and, only after stabilization, should a less rapid schedule of discontinuation be attempted. In a controlled postmarketing discontinuation study of panic disorder patients which compared this recommended taper schedule with a slower taper schedule, no difference was observed between the groups in the proportion of patients who tapered to zero dose; however, the slower schedule was associated with a reduction in symptoms associated with a withdrawal syndrome. It is suggested that the dose be reduced by no more than 0.5 mg every 3 days, with the understanding that some patients may benefit from an even more gradual discontinuation. Some patients may prove resistant to all discontinuation regimens.

Dosing in Special Populations
In elderly patients, in patients with advanced liver disease or in patients with debilitating disease, the usual starting dose is 0.25 mg, given two or three times daily. This may be gradually increased if needed and tolerated. The elderly may be especially sensitive to the effects of benzodiazepines. If side effects occur at the recommended starting dose, the dose may be lowered.

HOW SUPPLIED

XANAX Tablets are available as follows:

0.25 mg (white, oval, scored, imprinted “XANAX 0.25”)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0029-01
Reverse Numbered Unit dose (100) NDC 0009-0029-46
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0029-02
Bottles of 1000 NDC 0009-0029-14
0.5 mg (peach, oval, scored, imprinted “XANAX 0.5”)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0055-01
Reverse Numbered Unit Dose (100) NDC 0009-0055-46
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0055-03
Bottles of 1000 NDC 0009-0055-15
1 mg (blue, oval, scored, imprinted “XANAX 1.0”)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0090-01
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0090-04
Bottles of 1000 NDC 0009-0090-13 21
2 mg (white, oblong, multi-scored, imprinted “XANAX ” on one side and “2” on the reverse side)
Bottles of 100 NDC 0009-0094-01
Bottles of 500 NDC 0009-0094-03

Store at controlled room temperature 20° to 25°C (68° to 77°F) [see USP].

Side Effects

The information included in the subsection on Adverse Events Observed in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials with XANAX XR Tablets is based on pooled data of five 6- and 8­ week placebo-controlled clinical studies in panic disorder.

Adverse event reports were elicited either by general inquiry or by checklist, and were recorded by clinical investigators using terminology of their own choosing. The stated frequencies of adverse events represent the proportion of individuals who experienced, at least once, a treatment-emergent adverse event of the type listed. An event was considered treatment emergent if it occurred for the first time or worsened during therapy following baseline evaluation. In the tables and tabulations that follow, standard MedDRA terminology (version 4.0) was used to classify reported adverse events.

Adverse Events Observed in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials of XANAX XR
Adverse Events Reported as Reasons for Discontinuation of Treatment in Placebo Controlled Trials
Approximately 17% of the 531 patients who received XANAX XR in placebo-controlled clinical trials for panic disorder had at least one adverse event that led to discontinuation compared to 8% of 349 placebo-treated patients. The most common events leading to discontinuation and considered to be drug-related (ie, leading to discontinuation in at least 1% of the patients treated with XANAX XR at a rate at least twice that of placebo) are shown in the following table.

Common Adverse Events Leaing to Discontinuation of Treatment
in Placebo-Controlled Trials
Strong Organ Class/Adverse Event Percentage of Patients Discontinuing
Due to Adverse Events
XANAX XR
(n=531)
Placebo
(n=349)
Nervous system disorders
Sedation 7.5 0.6
Somnolence 3.2 0.3
Dysarthria 2.1 0
Coordination abnormal 1.9 0.3
Memory impairment 1.5 0.3
General disorders/administration site conditions
Fatigue 1.7 0.6
Psychiatric disorders
Depression 2.5 1.2

Adverse Events Occurring at an Incidence of 1% or More Among Patients Treated with XANAX XR
The prescriber should be aware that adverse event incidence cannot be used to predict the incidence of adverse events in the course of usual medical practice where patient characteristics and other factors differ from those which prevailed in the clinical trials. Similarly, the cited frequencies cannot be compared with event incidence obtained from other clinical investigations involving different treatments, uses, and investigators. The cited values, however, do provide the prescribing physician with some basis for estimating the relative contribution of drug and non-drug factors to the adverse event incidence rate in the population studied.

The following table shows the incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events that occurred during 6- to 8-week placebo-controlled trials in 1% or more of patients treated with XANAX XR where the incidence in patients treated with XANAX XR was greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients. The most commonly observed adverse events in panic disorder patients treated with XANAX XR (incidence of 5% or greater and at least twice the incidence in placebo patients) were: sedation, somnolence, memory impairment, dysarthria, coordination abnormal, ataxia, libido decreased (see table).

Treatment-Emergent Adverse Events:
Incidence in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trails with
XANAX XR
System Organ Class/Adverse Event Percentage of Patients
Reporting Adverse Event
XANAX XR
(n=531)
Placebo
(n=349)
Nervous system disorders
Sedation 45.2 22.6
Somnolence 23.0 6.0
Memory impairment 15.4 6.9
Dysartria 10.9 2.6
Coordination abnormal 9.4 0.9
Mental impairment 7.2 5.7
Ataxia 7.2 3.2
Disturbance in attention 3.2 0.6
Balance impaired 3.2 0.6
Paresthesia 2.4 1.7
Dyskinesia 1.7 1.4
Hypoesthesia 1.3 0.3
Hypersomnia 1.3 0
General disorders/administration site conditions
Fatigue 13.9 9.2
Lethargy 1.7 0.6
Infections and infestations
Influenza 2.4 2.3
Upper respiratory tract infections 1.9 1.7
Psychiatric disorders
Depression 12.1 9.2
Libido decreased 6.0 2.3
Disorientation 1.5 0
Confusion 1.5 0.9
Depressed mood 1.3 0.3
Anxiety 1.1 0.6
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
Appetite decreased 7.3 7.2
Appetite increased 7.0 6.0
Anorexia 1.5 0
Gastrointestinal disorders
Dry mouth 10.2 9.7
Constipation 8.1 4.3
Nausea 6.0 3.2
Pharyngolaryngeal pain 3.2 2.6
Investigations
Weight increased 5.1 4.3
Weight decreased 4.3 3.7
Injury, poisoning, and procedural complications
Road traffic accident 1.5 0
Reproductive system and breast disorders
Dysmenorrhea 3.6 2.9
Sexual dysfunction 2.4 1.1
Premenstrual syndrome 1.7 0.6
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
Arthralgia 2.4 0.6
Myalgia 2.4 0.6
Pain in limb 1.1 0.3
Vascular disorders
Hot flushes 1.5 1.4
Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders
Dyspnea 1.5 0.3
Rhinitis allergic 1.1 0.6
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders
SedationPruritis 1.1 0.9

Other Adverse Events Observed During the Premarketing Evaluation of XANAX XR Tablets
Following is a list of MedDRA terms that reflect treatment-emergent adverse events reported by 531 patients with panic disorder treated with XANAX XR. All potentially important reported events are included except those already listed in the above table or elsewhere in labeling, those events for which a drug cause was remote, those event terms that were so general as to be uninformative, and those events that occurred at rates similar to background rates in the general population. It is important to emphasize that, although the events reported occurred during treatment with XANAX XR, they were not necessarily caused by the drug. Events are further categorized by body system and listed in order of decreasing frequency according to the following definitions: frequent adverse events are those occurring on 1 or more occasions in at least l/l00 patients; infrequent adverse events are those occurring in less than l/100 patients but at least l/1000 patients; rare events are those occurring in fewer than l/1000 patients.

Cardiac disorders: Frequent: palpitation; Infrequent: sinus tachycardia
Ear and Labyrinth disorders: Frequent: Vertigo; Infrequent: tinnitus, ear pain
Eye disorders: Frequent: blurred vision; Infrequent: mydriasis, photophobia
Gastrointestinal disorders: Frequent: diarrhea, vomiting, dyspepsia, abdominal pain; Infrequent: dysphagia, salivary hypersecretion
General disorders and administration site conditions: Frequent: malaise, weakness, chest pains; Infrequent: fall, pyrexia, thirst, feeling hot and cold, edema, feeling jittery, sluggishness, asthenia, feeling drunk, chest tightness, increased energy, feeling of relaxation, hangover, loss of control of legs, rigors
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders: Frequent: back pain, muscle cramps, muscle twitching
Nervous system disorders: Frequent: headache, dizziness, tremor; Infrequent: amnesia, clumsiness, syncope, hypotonia, seizures, depressed level of consciousness, sleep apnea syndrome, sleep talking, stupor
Psychiatric system disorders: Frequent: irritability, insomnia, nervousness, derealization, libido increased, restlessness, agitation, depersonalization, nightmare; Infrequent: abnormal dreams, apathy, aggression, anger, bradyphrenia, euphoric mood, logorrhea, mood swings, dysphonia, hallucination, homicidal ideation, mania, hypomania, impulse control, psychomotor retardation, suicidal ideation
Renal and urinary disorders: Frequent: difficulty in micturition; Infrequent: urinary frequency, urinary incontinence
Respiratory, thoracic, and mediastinal disorders: Frequent: nasal congestion, hyperventilation; Infrequent: choking sensation, epistaxis, rhinorrhea
Skin and subcutaneous tissue disorders: Frequent: sweating increased; Infrequent: clamminess, rash, urticaria
Vascular disorders: Infrequent: hypotension

The categories of adverse events reported in the clinical development program for XANAX Tablets in the treatment of panic disorder differ somewhat from those reported for XANAX XR Tablets because the clinical trials with XANAX Tablets and XANAX XR Tablets used different standard medical nomenclature for reporting the adverse events. Nevertheless, the types of adverse events reported in the clinical trials with XANAX Tablets were generally the same as those reported in the clinical trials with XANAX XR Tablets.

Discontinuation-Emergent Adverse Events Occurring at an Incidence of 5% or More Among Patients Treated with XANAX XR
The following table shows the incidence of discontinuation-emergent adverse events that occurred during short-term, placebo-controlled trials in 5% or more of patients treated with XANAX XR where the incidence in patients treated with XANAX XR was two times greater than the incidence in placebo-treated patients.

Incidence in Short-Term, Placebo-Controlled Trials
with XANAX XR
System Organ Class/Adverse Event Perecentage of Patients Reporting
Adverse Event
XANAX XR
(n=422)
Placebo
(n=261)
Nervous system disorders
Tremor 28.2 10.7
Headache 26.5 12.6
Hypoesthesia 7.8 2.3
Paraesthesia 7.1 2.7
Psychiatric disorders
Insomnia 24.2 9.6
Nervousness 21.8 8.8
Depression 10.9 5.0
Derealization 8.0 3.8
Anxiety 7.8 2.7
Depersonalization 5.7 1.9
Gastrointestinal disorders
Diarrhea 12.1 3.1
Respiratory, thoracic and mediastinal disorders
Hyperventilation 8.5 2.7
Metabolism and nutrition disorders
Appetite decreased 9.5 3.8
Musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders
Muscle twitching 7.4 2.7
Vascular disorders
Hot flushes 5.9 2.7

There have also been reports of withdrawal seizures upon rapid decrease or abrupt discontinuation of alprazolam (see WARNINGS).

To discontinue treatment in patients taking XANAX XR Tablets, the dosage should be reduced slowly in keeping with good medical practice. It is suggested that the daily dosage of XANAX XR Tablets be decreased by no more than 0.5 mg every three days (see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION). Some patients may benefit from an even slower dosage reduction. In a controlled postmarketing discontinuation study of panic disorder patients which compared this recommended taper schedule with a slower taper schedule, no difference was observed between the groups in the proportion of patients who tapered to zero dose; however, the slower schedule was associated with a reduction in symptoms associated with a withdrawal syndrome.

As with all benzodiazepines, paradoxical reactions such as stimulation, increased muscle spasticity, sleep disturbances, hallucinations, and other adverse behavioral effects such as agitation, rage, irritability, and aggressive or hostile behavior have been reported rarely. In many of the spontaneous case reports of adverse behavioral effects, patients were receiving other CNS drugs concomitantly and/or were described as having underlying psychiatric conditions. Should any of the above events occur, alprazolam should be discontinued. Isolated published reports involving small numbers of patients have suggested that patients who have borderline personality disorder, a prior history of violent or aggressive behavior, or alcohol or substance abuse may be at risk for such events. Instances of irritability, hostility, and intrusive thoughts have been reported during discontinuation of alprazolam in patients with posttraumatic stress disorder.

Precautions

General

Suicide
As with other psychotropic medications, the usual precautions with respect to administration of the drug and size of the prescription are indicated for severely depressed patients or those in whom there is reason to expect concealed suicidal ideation or plans. Panic disorder has been associated with primary and secondary major depressive disorders and increased reports of suicide among untreated patients.

Mania
Episodes of hypomania and mania have been reported in association with the use of XANAX in patients with depression.

Uricosuric Effect
Alprazolam has a weak uricosuric effect. Although other medications with weak uricosuric effect have been reported to cause acute renal failure, there have been no reported instances of acute renal failure attributable to therapy with XANAX.

Use in Patients with Concomitant Illness
It is recommended that the dosage be limited to the smallest effective dose to preclude the development of ataxia or oversedation which may be a particular problem in elderly or debilitated patients. (See DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION.) The usual precautions in treating patients with impaired renal, hepatic or pulmonary function should be observed. There have been rare reports of death in patients with severe pulmonary disease shortly after the initiation of treatment with XANAX. A decreased systemic alprazolam elimination rate (eg, increased plasma half-life) has been observed in both alcoholic liver disease patients and obese patients receiving XANAX (see CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY).

Information for Patients

For all users of XANAX:
To assure safe and effective use of benzodiazepines, all patients prescribed XANAX should be provided with the following guidance.

  1. Inform your physician about any alcohol consumption and medicine you are taking now, including medication you may buy without a prescription. Alcohol should generally not be used during treatment with benzodiazepines.
  2. Not recommended for use in pregnancy. Therefore, inform your physician if you are pregnant, if you are planning to have a child, or if you become pregnant while you are taking this medication.
  3. Inform your physician if you are nursing.
  4. Until you experience how this medication affects you, do not drive a car or operate potentially dangerous machinery, etc.
  5. Do not increase the dose even if you think the medication “does not work anymore” without consulting your physician. Benzodiazepines, even when used as recommended, may produce emotional and/or physical dependence.
  6. Do not stop taking this medication abruptly or decrease the dose without consulting your physician, since withdrawal symptoms can occur.

Additional advice for panic disorder patients:
The use of XANAX at doses greater than 4 mg/day, often necessary to treat panic disorder, is accompanied by risks that you need to carefully consider. When used at doses greater than 4 mg/day, which may or may not be required for your treatment, XANAX has the potential to cause severe emotional and physical dependence in some patients and these patients may find it exceedingly difficult to terminate treatment. In two controlled trials of 6 to 8 weeks duration where the ability of patients to discontinue medication was measured, 7 to 29% of patients treated with XANAX did not completely taper off therapy. In a controlled postmarketing discontinuation study of panic disorder patients, the patients treated with doses of XANAX greater than 4 mg/day had more difficulty tapering to zero dose than patients treated with less than 4 mg/day. In all cases, it is important that your physician help you discontinue this medication in a careful and safe manner to avoid overly extended use of XANAX.

In addition, the extended use at doses greater than 4 mg/day appears to increase the incidence and severity of withdrawal reactions when XANAX is discontinued. These are generally minor but seizure can occur, especially if you reduce the dose too rapidly or discontinue the medication abruptly. Seizure can be life-threatening.

Laboratory Tests
Laboratory tests are not ordinarily required in otherwise healthy patients. However, when treatment is protracted, periodic blood counts, urinalysis, and blood chemistry analyses are advisable in keeping with good medical practice.

Interactions

Use with Other CNS Depressants
If XANAX Tablets are to be combined with other psychotropic agents or anticonvulsant drugs, careful consideration should be given to the pharmacology of the agents to be employed, particularly with compounds which might potentiate the action of benzodiazepines. The benzodiazepines, including alprazolam, produce additive CNS depressant effects when co-administered with other psychotropic medications, anticonvulsants, antihistaminics, ethanol and other drugs which themselves produce CNS depression.

Use with Imipramine and Desipramine
The steady state plasma concentrations of imipramine and desipramine have been reported to be increased an average of 31% and 20%, respectively, by the concomitant administration of XANAX Tablets in doses up to 4 mg/day. The clinical significance of these changes is unknown.

Drugs that inhibit alprazolam metabolism via cytochrome P450 3A
The initial step in alprazolam metabolism is hydroxylation catalyzed by cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A). Drugs which inhibit this metabolic pathway may have a profound effect on the clearance of alprazolam (see CONTRAINDICATIONS and WARNINGS for additional drugs of this type).

Drugs demonstrated to be CYP3A inhibitors of possible clinical significance on the basis of clinical studies involving alprazolam (caution is recommended during coadministration with alprazolam)
Fluoxetine—Coadministration of fluoxetine with alprazolam increased the maximum plasma concentration of alprazolam by 46%, decreased clearance by 21%, increased half-life by 17%, and decreased measured psychomotor performance.

Propoxyphene—Coadministration of propoxyphene decreased the maximum plasma concentration of alprazolam by 6%, decreased clearance by 38%, and increased half-life by 58%.

Oral Contraceptives—Coadministration of oral contraceptives increased the maximum plasma concentration of alprazolam by 18%, decreased clearance by 22%, and increased half-life by 29%.

Drugs and other substances demonstrated to be CYP 3A inhibitors on the basis of clinical studies involving benzodiazepines metabolized similarly to alprazolam or on the basis of in vitro studies with alprazolam or other benzodiazepines (caution is recommended during coadministration with alprazolam)
Available data from clinical studies of benzodiazepines other than alprazolam suggest a possible drug interaction with alprazolam for the following: diltiazem, isoniazid, macrolide antibiotics such as erythromycin and clarithromycin, and grapefruit juice. Data from in vitro studies of alprazolam suggest a possible drug interaction with alprazolam for the following: sertraline and paroxetine. However, data from an in vivo drug interaction study involving a single dose of alprazolam 1 mg and steady state dose of sertraline (50 to 150 mg/day) did not reveal any clinically significant changes in the pharmacokinetics of alprazolam. Data from in vitro studies of benzodiazepines other than alprazolam suggest a possible drug interaction for the following: ergotamine, cyclosporine, amiodarone, nicardipine, and nifedipine. Caution is recommended during the coadministration of any of these with alprazolam (see WARNINGS).

Drugs demonstrated to be inducers of CYP3A
Carbamazepine can increase alprazolam metabolism and therefore can decrease plasma levels of alprazolam.

Overdose

Overdosage reports with XANAX Tablets are limited. As in all cases of drug overdosage, respiration, pulse rate, and blood pressure should be monitored. General supportive measures should be employed, along with immediate gastric lavage. Intravenous fluids should be administered and an adequate airway maintained. If hypotension occurs, it may be combated by the use of vasopressors. Dialysis is of limited value. As with the management of intentional overdosing with any drug, it should be borne in mind that multiple agents may have been ingested.

Flumazenil, a specific benzodiazepine receptor antagonist, is indicated for the complete or partial reversal of the sedative effects of benzodiazepines and may be used in situations when an overdose with a benzodiazepine is known or suspected. Prior to the administration of flumazenil, necessary measures should be instituted to secure airway, ventilation and intravenous access. Flumazenil is intended as an adjunct to, not as a substitute for, proper management of benzodiazepine overdose. Patients treated with flumazenil should be monitored for re-sedation, respiratory depression, and other residual benzodiazepine effects for an appropriate period after treatment. The prescriber should be aware of a risk of seizure in association with flumazenil treatment, particularly in long-term benzodiazepine users and in cyclic antidepressant overdose. The complete flumazenil package insert including CONTRAINDICATIONS, WARNINGS and PRECAUTIONS should be consulted prior to use.

Interpreting the GeneSight® Test:
Gene-Drug Interaction Chart

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