Alprazolam, the Xanax known by its generic name is a drug derived from benzodiazepines. This medication was patented in 1969 and was put on sale since 1980. It is used mainly to treat cases of panic attacks such as panic attacks, anxiety disorders, stress and depression. This drug has other properties such as sedative-hypnotic and anticonvulsant, but the most notable effect is that of anxiolytic. The mixture of xanax with other medicines or with alcohol causes that people lose the notion of themselves, “erase tape (memory loss)” and many times until death.
According to the Classification of behavior and pharmacodynamics of psychotropic drugs, xanax is classified as a drug with a sedative and hypnotic effect. Also according to the DEA and FDA it is classified in Schedule IV, since it is recognized for medicinal use but also presents a potential for low abuse compared to shecedule III.Xanax belongs to the class of drugs called benzodiazepines. These are cataloged as psychoactive drugs which means that it changes brain function. These cause an immediate effect so their consumption should be of short duration. Among this group are alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium) and lorazepam (Ativan) which are among the 100 most commonly prescribed medications . The benzodiazepines are opposed by a benzene ring attached to a diazepene ring.
Alprazolam has many effects on the human system but the most notable is to reduce anxiety at the level of the central nervous system, ie have anxiolytic effects. In general, most benzodiazepines can be administered intramuscularly, intravenously, orally, sublingually, intranasally, suppositories. The most common and largest route used for xanax is orally.
Alprazolam´s Mechanism of action
Benzodiazepines improve the affinity of the GABA binding site by means of conformational changes in the receptor which allows this neurotransmitter to bind to the receptor more efficiently. These act in a different place from the GABA anchor site, that is, in an allosteric site, thus allowing GABA to have a higher affinity which increases the inhibitory potential of this neurotransmitter. The activation of this receptor allows the passage of chlorine ions to the post-synaptic neuron, thus producing the anxiolytic effects, many of the side effects and, possibly, the dependence and withdrawal of these drugs. GABA is the main neurotransmitter in the central nervous system (CNS) in mammals. It plays the main role in reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. In humans, GABA is directly responsible for the regulation of muscle tone.
The pharmacokinetic properties of a drug determine its onset of action and the duration of its effect. Specifically, pharmacokinetics describes the absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion of a drug. People respond differently to the same drug. The mechanism of action of the drug is affected by the route of administration, absorption, and volume of distribution. Benzodiazepines are usually well absorbed by the gastrointestinal tract after oral administration. In addition, its metabolites are bound to proteins and are widely distributed in the body and which preferably accumulate in areas rich in lipids, such as the central nervous system and adipose tissue.
The dose of xanax recommended to treat anxiety begins with 0.25-0.5 mg tablets, administered orally 3 times a day. The maximum recommended daily dose of alprazolam for anxiolysis should not exceed 4 mg since it could be lethal for the individual 5 .
Benzodiazepines when used alone have a low risk of toxicity. However, they are often used with other types of medications, including other drugs with potential for abuse, and these drugs can increase the toxic effects of benzodiazepines. The combination of benzodiazepines and alcohol or opioids often causes overdose in addicted patients and even death .
The misuse or abuse of prescription drugs continue to increase around the world. Benzodiazepines are one of the most prescribed medications in the United States. They have a great potential for abuse and can cause dependency or addiction. The abuse of benzodiazepines mostly begins with the misuse of the prescribed medication. Most people who abuse this substance do so to get high, often using them in combination with other drugs to increase the euphoric effect. It is also used by addicts to control or relieve the symptoms of withdrawal ie to treat the adverse effects of the drug or another type of drug. A treatment with benzodiazepines can give rise to physiological and physical dependence depending on the dose of the drug, duration of treatment and the potential of the drug. A greater and faster dependence is created when the patient is taking a high dose of a high potential drug such as Xanax. As a result of physiological dependence, withdrawal symptoms emerge with rapid dose reduction or abrupt discontinuation of the drug .
There is controversy about whether patients develop tolerance to the anxiolytic effects of benzodiazepines, but they are known to create tolerance to some of the other effects, including sedation or hypnotic effect. This affects the addict and causes him or her to require increasingly higher doses to obtain the desired euphoria. Escalated dosing often maintains the cycle of tolerance and dependence, and patients may have difficulty discontinuing therapy with this medicine.
Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms
Some withdrawal symptoms are thought to occur in most patients who have taken therapeutic doses of benzodiazepines for more than a few months, although the severity of the withdrawal symptoms generally depends on the amount of the original dose, the speed at which the dose is metabolized, the type of patient and how severe are the symptoms of withdrawal. The symptoms that appear after a prolonged period of use (several months) are anxiety, depression and insomnia. In addition, physical symptoms related to gastrointestinal, neurological and musculoskeletal effects may occur.