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Alprazolam Dosage Guide

What is Alprazolam? and What are the recommended dosage guidelines? are common questions when it comes to the treatment of anxiety and insomnia.

The active ingredient in Alprazolam is alprazolam, which was approved for medical use in 1981. This fast-acting tranquiliser belongs to the benzodiazepine group of medications, which have sedating and anti-anxiety effects. Alprazolam is mainly indicated in the treatment of severe anxiety and anxiety disorders, like panic disorder. If you take this medicine as recommended, it can help alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, by improving your body's response to stress. Alprazolam anxiety medication should be swallowed whole, with some water and can be taken with or without food. At the beginning of treatment, the dosage should be low, to minimise the chance of adverse effects (0.75 to 1.5 mg per day in divided doses). Depending on your individual response, the dosage can be increased gradually, over a few days, until you achieve the most beneficial effect. 

Recommended Dosage of Alprazolam

The dosage of this medication should be individualised for each patient. Although 4 mg is an adequate daily dosage for most patients, some people may require a higher dose to effectively treat their condition. The lowest effective dose should, however, always be used to reduce the chance of Alprazolam side effects and tolerance to this medication. The following table contains general dosage guidelines for common anxiety disorders.

Anxiety disorder Description Alprazolam dosage
Generalised anxiety disorder This condition is characterised by feelings of worry and anxiety about various circumstances, instead of a specific circumstance. A diagnosis of this anxiety disorder is usually made when a person finds it difficult to control their worry on more days than not, and for at least 6 months. The recommended starting dose is 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg, three times a day. This may be increased, at intervals of 3 to 4 days, to a maximum daily dose of 4 mg.
Social anxiety disorder Also known as social phobia, social anxiety disorder involves excessive fear in social situations. The defining characteristic of this condition is an intense fear of being negatively judged in social or performance-related circumstances. The usual starting dose is also 0.25 mg to 0.5 mg, three times a day. This medication can be taken as needed or on consecutive days. The maximum daily dose is 4 mg.
Panic disorder This condition involves recurring panic attacks which are sudden surges of intense fear that reach a peak level within minutes, usually lasting between 5 and 20 minutes. Patients with this condition are often preoccupied with the fear of having another attack which involves symptoms, like a racing heart, shaking and dizziness. The daily Alprazolam dosage for panic disorder may need to be higher than 4 mg. In clinical studies, the average dosage was 5 mg to 6 mg, daily. The recommended starting dose is 0.5 mg, three times a day.

Alprazolam Dosage for Insomnia

Although Alprazolam was primarily developed to treat anxiety, it is often also used to treat insomnia. In fact, one of the main causes of insomnia is anxiety, so this medication is suitable as it is effective at treating both conditions. In clinical studies, the usual dosage for insomnia ranges from 0.5 mg to 1 mg. These anti-anxiety pills should also be taken just before going to sleep. In a clinical trial, the effects of Alprazolam 0.5 mg on psychomotor skills and sleep were assessed in 12 patients. With regard to the assessment of sleep, this medication was found to induce sedation, decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and improve overall sleep quality as well. This benzodiazepine treatment can also help prevent frequent awakenings in the night, so a full night's rest can be achieved. A repeat question that often features is 'how does Alprazolam work to treat anxiety and insomnia?' Most frequently, patients are informed that once this medication enters the system, it enhances the availability of a chemical that occurs naturally in the body, called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The main function of this chemical is to reduce the activity of overactive nerve cells in the brain. GABA helps regulate feelings of fear and anxiety when nerve cells become more active than normal. By increasing the amount of GABA that is available in the brain, this therapeutic induces a sedating effect. This effects helps reduce worry, relax muscles and induce restful sleep too. As a result, a patient with an anxiety disorder can manage the symptoms of anxiety, which can improve their overall quality of life in return. 

Alprazolam Dosage Strengths

This medicine is available in the following doses: 

  • 0.25 mg tablets
  • 0.5 mg tablets
  • 1 mg tablets
  • 2 mg tablets

Alprazolam 2 mg is available in larger tablets that can be divided into smaller segments, to get lower doses for administration. If the dose needs to be increased from 0.25 mg or 0.5 mg to Alprazolam 1 mg or more, the night-time dose is usually increased, before the daytime dose. This will ensure that you are more alert during the day. Higher doses may be necessary for the treatment of panic attacks. These anxiety tablets can help reduce the severity and number of panic attacks a person experiences. It is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream and usually produces fast-acting effects. The body can, however, build a tolerance to this therapeutic if it is taken on a regular basis. For this reason, treatment on a daily basis should not be longer than four weeks. If you have been taking this medicine on a regular basis and decide to discontinue treatment, the dosage should be tapered off slowly. This will significantly decrease the chance of unwanted withdrawal symptoms. 

Alprazolam and Alcohol

In general, alcohol should not be taken at the same time as any medication, particularly benzodiazepines. 

  • It can be unsafe to combine these substances because they are both central nervous system depressants. This means that they both function to slow down activity in the brain. Therefore, combining them will potentiate these effects, hence increasing the likelihood of unwanted Alprazolam side effects.

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Updated by Admin: May 28, 2022

Cindy Walker – Apr 14, 2021
Hi Sarah I have read a number of your blogs but this is my first time to comment. Thanks to your blogs I have now been able to make an educated choice, treat my condition and get my life back on track. Many thanks Cindy Walker

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