As with all benzodiazepines, there are many dangers when using alprazolam.
[top]Physical Health Risks
[top]Dangerous in Pregnancy
Alprazolam is contraindicated in pregnancy as it may cross the placenta and enter breast milk.. Advice from a medical professional should be sought if you are considering taking this drug whilst pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breast feeding.
People who are either driving or operating heavy machinery should take great care when taking Alprazolam. One is advised to take time first to learn how they react to the drug before engaging in dangerous activities. Alprazolam impairs ones attention and alertness.
[top]Risk to Children and Elderly
Benzodiazepines should be prescribed with special caution to children and the elderly due to a marked increase in sedation.
One of the most serious dangers associated with alprazolam use is that of overdose. Overdose can even occur by accident due to the addictive nature of the drug. Due to alprazolams pharmacological profile it can produce significant excessive sedation of the central nervous system, causing the user to potentially become unconscious involuntarily due to the drugs hypnotic effects. Once unconscious the excessive sedation can lead to excessive respiratory depression and the users breathing can slow down to a dangerously low level.
The severity is dependent on dose of the drug taken. When alprazolam is taken in combination with opioids
, tricyclic antidepressants
, or alcohol
this can lead to severe toxicity or even death - due to complete sedation of the respiratory system causing breathing itself to practically stop and not provide enough oxygen to the brain and body thus leading to death.
A 2003 study in found that alprazolam had involvment in the highest number of deaths (38.1) per 100 000 prescriptions than any other benzodiazapine in New Zealand in 2001. However, alprazolam was only a contributory and not the primary agent of death in any of those fatalities.
[top]Mental Health Risks
Alprazolam rarely induces suicide ideation. If this happens one should stop taking this medicine and contact one's doctor immediately.
Sometimes people who take alprazolam experience paradoxical reactions such as: twitches and tremor, aggression, hostile rage or hyperactivity. If this happens then the prescribing doctor should be contacted immediately and the medication should be gradually reduced (under medical supervision).
Reported side effects
of alprazolm include sedation, sleepiness, speech difficulties, abnormal coordination, memory impairment, hyperventilation, decreased appetite decreased, muscle twitching, hot flushes.
symptoms including seizure have been reported even after only short therapy on doses of alprazolam at therapeutic levels appropriate for treatment of anxiety (1 to 4 mg/day). However, the severity of these symptoms does seem connected to length of treatment and dose levels, and it has been reported that these are more severe when doses are decreased quickly or discontinued without tapering. There may be a higher risk of withdrawal seizures for those who have been taking more than 4 mg/day.