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Xanax (Alprazolam) Dosage Levels and the Various Factors Involved

dosages for xanax

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Alprazolam, going by the trade name Xanax, is a prescription drug used in the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. The Xanax dosage prescribed varies from patient to patient depending on the severity of the condition being treated and age. Generally, alprazolam dosage is determined by a medical professional after evaluation of the patient and other comorbid factors such substance abuse, especially alcohol. If the patient qualifies for a Xanax dose, the medical professional will fill them out a prescription. How often can one take Xanax? In general, it can be taken up to three times a day over a specified time.

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Table of Contents

The Basics About Xanax Dosage

Doctor prescribing a Xanax dosage.The medication is recommended for adults and geriatric patients but contraindicated for those below the age of 18. Patients presenting with anxiety and panic disorders are prescribed the medication starting at the lowest dose of 0.25mg, to a maximum of 2mg per tablet. The average dose of Xanax will depend on whether the prescription contains immediate/rapid release or extended release preparations of the medication.

Xanax Dose Titration

Titration refers to the stepwise process of determining the ideal Xanax bars dosage. As it is possible to over-medicate, it is recommended to start at the lowest possible level. The patient is then monitored for improvement. If the symptoms remain unchanged, the dose is slowly increased at a rate not exceeding 1mg per day every 3-4 days with concomitant monitoring until the appropriate dosage is reached.

Xanax Dose Maintenance

Once the ideal measure is reached, it is recommended that drug administration remains at this level for the duration of the treatment. Clinical studies have, however, shown that the effectiveness of alprazolam is limited to 8 months in panic treatment cases, and 4 months for Xanax dosage for anxiety. After this, in both cases, efficacy starts declining.

Xanax Dose Reduction

When weaning off the drug, it is recommended that the reduction follow a 0.5mg reduction in dosage every 3-5 days. If the medication has been taken over a long time and dependence has formed, there may be withdrawal symptoms including but not limited to drug-related anxiety (dissimilar from the original anxiety being treated), psychosis, and seizures.

Do not wean off the drug by own, only doctor should make a personal plan of proper tapering off medication for each patient.

Maximum and The Lowest Dose of Xanax

Lowest Dose of Xanax

The lowest dose a person can take is that which adequately treats the condition at hand. As most drug preparations start at 0.25mg per tablet, this is the lowest measure available. Low doses are indicated in cases where the person requires long-term relief and where the dose has been titrated to the appropriate level.

Maximum Dose of Xanax

10mg per day is the maximum dose indicated for safe medication. Anything above this level may have paradoxical effects including heightened anxiety, nervousness, and tremors. If after titrating the medication upwards to this maximal level symptoms remain unchanged, the dosage is titrated downwards and consequently discontinued.

Xanax Lethal Dose

A lethal dose of Xanax depends on how much has been taken and whether other drugs are involved. The combination of Xanax and substances, for instance, with alcohol can lead to respiratory arrest and death. Doses that may lead to overdose vary from person to person. However, taking anything above the recommended 10mg per day may be considered an overdose and potentially lead to overdose symptoms.

The Dosage of Xanax by Age and Condition

Pharmacist explaining Xanax dosage to elderly lady

Xanax Dosage by Age

The average dose of Xanax can be determined by age. Use is contraindicated for those under the age of 18. Adults and geriatric patients may take the medication although at different amounts and frequencies. Adults may take 0.25 to 0.5mg pills administered up to 3 times a day. The maximum measure depends on the condition, varying from 4mg/day up to 10mg/day. Geriatrics may take 0.25mg administered 2-3 times daily. Debilitated patients receive the same dosage as elderly patients.

Xanax Dosage by Condition

In addition to age, the condition being treated also influences the amount prescribed. Treating adults with an anxiety disorder requires 0.25-0.5mg taken orally and given 3 times a day up to a maximum of 4mg. Adult panic disorder cases require 0.5mg orally 3 times daily. Geriatric patients with either an anxiety disorder or a panic disorder will typically be prescribed the same measure of 0.25mg taken orally and administered 2-3 times daily. Generally, in both cases, titration is required to achieve the correct dosage of alprazolam.

Alprazolam Dose for Occasional and Preventative Use

Occasional Xanax Use

Lady taking alprazolam pills with some waterOccasional use depends on whether it is under prescription or a recreational setting. Occasional use under prescription may not be harmful especially when administered in low quantities. However, a Xanax recreational dose taken occasionally may lead to tolerance and subsequent dependence.
Other dangers related to occasional use include side effects such as paradoxical anxiety, loss of appetite, and insomnia, and addiction. Because titration is often needed for correct dosage, non-medical settings can also lead to an overdose of Xanax.

Preventative Xanax Use

Taking a Xanax dosage for sleep may be considered a preventative measure especially if insomnia is expected to occur. However, the preemptive administration can lead to dependence if not monitored. A person thus taking the pills chronically may increase the dose beyond healthy levels unknowingly, a dangerous situation that could lead to dire consequences. Preventative use is however recommended in cases where a person experiences certain trigger events that set off a panic or anxiety attack. In such cases, the administration is appropriate but only under medical supervision.

The doctor only can define the correct dose, do not self-medicate as the dangerous consequences may happen.

Correct Xanax Use

In 2010, Xanax was the 12th most prescribed drug in the United States. Easy availability coupled with the mild Xanax side effects make it a popular drug among recreational users. The drug is in some cases used to manage the side effects of other illicit drugs including withdrawal symptoms and comedowns. Xanax addiction has, therefore, become a pandemic in the United States. For persons on the drug or thinking of taking it, understanding its potency and addictive nature provides a basis upon which to take appropriate precautions.

Those with already formed addictions should be aware that treatment options are available that can get them off the drug safely.
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Medically Reviewed By Michael Espelin APRN
Nena Messina

About Author

Nena Messina, Ph.D.

Nena Messina is a specialist in drug-related domestic violence. She devoted her life to the study of the connection between crime, mental health, and substance abuse. Apart from her work as management at addiction center, Nena regularly takes part in the educational program as a lecturer.


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