Brands, Medical Use, Clinical Data
- Anti-anxiety Agents
- GABA Modulators
- Hypnotics and Sedatives
- Tablets (0.25, 0.5, 1 or 2 mg)
Brands / Synonyms
Alplax; Alprazolam; Alpronax; Alviz; Bestrol; Cassadan; Constan; D 65MT; Esparon; Frontal; Intensol; Niravam; Restyl; Solanax; Tafil; Tranax; Trankimazin; Tranquinal; TUS-1; Xanax; Xanax XR; Xanor
For the management of anxiety disorder or the short-term relief of symptoms of anxiety and for the treatment of panic disorder, with or without agoraphobia.
Alprazolam, a benzodiazepine, is used to treat panic disorder and anxiety disorder. Unlike chlordiazepoxide, clorazepate, and prazepam, alprazolam has a shorter half-life and metabolites with minimal activity. Like other triazolo benzodiazepines such as triazolam, alprazolam may have significant drug interactions involving the hepatic cytochrome P-450 3A4 isoenzyme. Clinically, all benzodiazepines cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis. Unlike other benzodiazepines, alprazolam may also have some antidepressant activity, although clinical evidence of this is lacking.
Mechanism of Action
Benzodiazepines bind nonspecifically to benzodiazepine receptors BNZ1, which mediates sleep, and BNZ2, which affects affects muscle relaxation, anticonvulsant activity, motor coordination, and memory. As benzodiazepine receptors are thought to be coupled to gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA) receptors, this enhances the effects of GABA by increasing GABA affinity for the GABA receptor. Binding of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA to the site opens the chloride channel, resulting in a hyperpolarized cell membrane that prevents further excitation of the cell.
Readily absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract. Bioavailability is 80-90%.
Oral, mouse: LD50=1020 mg/kg. Symptoms of overdose include confusion, coma, impaired coordination, sleepiness, and slowed reaction time.
Biotrnasformation / Drug Metabolism
Hepatic. Hydroxylated in the liver to α-hydroxyalprazolam, which is also active. This and other metabolites are later excreted in urine as glucuronides.
Alprazolam tablets are contraindicated in patients with known sensitivity to this drug or
other benzodiazepines. Alprazolam may be used in patients with open angle glaucoma who
are receiving appropriate therapy, but is contraindicated in patients with acute narrow
Alprazolam is contraindicated with ketaconazole and itraconzole, since these medications
significantly impair the oxidative metabolism mediated by cytochrome P450 3A (CYP 3A).
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
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 alprazolam 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 (CYP 3A). Drugs which inhibit this metabolic pathway may
have a profound effect on the clearance of alprazolam .
Drugs Demonstrated to be CYP 3A 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
- 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. 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.