DESCRIPTION / DEFINITIONS: Xanax® (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine prescribed for the short-term management of anxiety disorders and panic disorders.

ABUSE: Xanax has a high dependence/addiction and abuse among many users.  Attempts to withdraw from Xanax will result in many withdrawal symptoms.

ADDICTION / DEPENDENCE: Half life and metabolism.

SIDE EFFECTS: Mania, drowsiness, fatigue (see list below).

WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS: Hallucinations, agitation, rage (see list below).

TREATMENT: Medical detoxification.



Xanax® (alprazolam) is a benzodiazepine.  Xanax is prescribed for the management of anxiety disorders, for the short-term relief of anxiety symptoms and for short-term use in alcohol or other benzodiazepine withdrawal.

According to its label, “CNS agents of the 1,4 benzodiazepine class presumably exert their effects by binding at stereo specific receptors at several sites within the central nervous system. Their exact mechanism of action is unknown. Clinically, all benzodiazepines cause a dose-related central nervous system depressant activity varying from mild impairment of task performance to hypnosis… Anxiety or tension associated with the stress of everyday life usually does not require treatment with an anxiolytic… Demonstrations of the effectiveness of XANAX by systematic clinical study are limited to 4 months duration for anxiety disorder and 4 to 10 weeks duration for panic disorder.”



Xanax has a high dependence/addiction and abuse among many users.  Attempts to withdraw from Xanax will result in many withdrawal symptoms.





The biological half life of a substance is the time it takes for a drug to lose half of its pharmacologic activity. This is significant because it affects how soon withdrawal symptoms may appear.

The half life of Xanax is between 6-12 hours.

Xanax is mainly metabolized through the P450 pathway in the liver and the enzyme primarily handling the metabolism is CYP3A but it is not clear how much of the metabolism is done by other enzymes.

The CYP enzymes are the major enzymes involved in drug metabolism, and since many drugs may increase or decrease the activity of various CYP isozymes, this is a major source of adverse drug interactions, since changes in CYP enzyme activity may affect the metabolism and clearance of various drugs. For example, if one drug inhibits the CYP-mediated metabolism of another drug, the second drug may accumulate within the body to toxic levels, possibly causing an overdose.



The following information is taken from the Xanax label:

  • abdominal distress
  • abnormal involuntary movement
  • aggressive behavior
  • agitation
  • akathisisa
  • anxiety
  • blurred vision
  • change in libido (not specified)
  • chest pain
  • cognitive disorder
  • confusional state
  • constipation
  • decreased appetite
  • decreased libido
  • decreased salivation
  • depersonalization
  • depression
  • derealization
  • diarrhea
  • diplopia
  • disinibition
  • dizziness
  • dream abnormalities
  • drowsiness
  • dysarthria
  • edema
  • elevated bilirubin
  • elevated hepatic enzymes
  • fatigue

  • fear
  • feeling warm
  • galactorrhea
  • gynecomastia
  • hallucinations
  • headache
  • hepatic failure
  • hepatitis
  • hostile behavior
  • hyperprolactinemia
  • hyperventiliation
  • hypomania
  • impaired coordination
  • incontinence
  • increased appetite
  • increased libido
  • increased muscle spasticity
  • increased salivation
  • infection
  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • jaundice
  • light-headedness
  • liver enzyme elevations
  • mania
  • memory impairment
  • menstrual disorders
  • micturition difficulties

  • muscle stiffness
  • muscle tone disorders
  • muscular cramps
  • muscular twitching
  • nasal congestion
  • nausea
  • paradoxical reactions
  • paresthesia
  • rage
  • rash
  • seizures
  • sexual dysfunction
  • sleep disturbances
  • Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  • stimulation
  • sweating
  • syncope
  • tachycardia
  • talkativeness
  • taste alterations
  • tinnitus
  • tiredness
  • upper respiratory infection
  • vasomotor disturbances
  • vomiting
  • weakness
  • weight gain
  • weight loss



Xanax can be a very difficult drug to stop taking.

  • abdominal cramps
  • convulsions
  • dysphoria
  • hostility

  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • muscle cramps

  • sweating
  • tremors
  • vomiting



Withdrawal from Xanax should only be done under the care of a health practitioner. The safest way is to withdraw at an inpatient medical detox facility with a protocol that includes hydration, vitamins and supplements for biological balancing. Call us to talk to a Novus Detox Advisor.