Xanax first came out in 1981 after Pfizer’s now subsidiary Upjohn Company marketed it as a treatment for panic disorder. Within two years, it became one of the most purchased drugs in the US. By 2010, the drug has become the most prescribed and misused benzodiazepine in the country.
The United States’ Food and Drug Administration categorized Xanax as a Schedule IV substance because of the drugs minimal potential for abuse. Hence, the decision placed the drug under the supervision of the Drug Enforcement Agency. (1)
Furthermore, many experts have stated that the drug has a lower potential for abuse compared to other benzodiazepines. However, there have also been other medical experts claiming that the drugs high potency and short elimination half-life can give the drug a substantial risk of abuse and misuse.
Alprazolam, Xanax’ main compound, is an anxiolytic benzodiazepine. The drug possesses sedative, anxiolytic, hypnotic, anticonvulsant, skeletal muscle relaxant, and antidepressant properties. The FDA has approved its use for the treatment of various mental disorders most of which include different types of anxiety disorders. However, there have also been claims of its use for other purposes.
On Label Uses Of Xanax
On label means that the drug regulatory body of a country has approved a drug’s use for a particular disease. For instance, United States’ Food and Drug Administration is in charge of determining which diseases or disorders a drug is effective for.
Here are some approved uses of the drug Xanax:
- Anxiety Disorders: The FDA has permitted the use of Xanax for the treatment of General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and short-term relief of the symptoms of other types of anxiety. GAD is an excessive worry regarding two or more life circumstances for a period of six or more months.
- Panic Disorders: The FDA has also approved the prescription of Xanax for the treatment of panic disorders whether or not associated with agoraphobia, or a disorder that causes a person to perceive the environment to be unsafe.
The Food and Drug Administration has advised physicians to assess whether the drug is still effective for the purpose that they prescribed it. Furthermore, they estimated that the Xanax could be effective at most four months after prescription for anxiety and 4 to 10 weeks for panic disorders. (2)
Off Label Uses Of Xanax
Off label uses, on the other hand, are uses not approved for by any regulatory body. It, however, may have been demonstrated to be effective by various testimonies or clinical studies. It is best to first consult your doctor if you could instead use other drugs to treat these diseases before resorting to Xanax.
Here are some uses Xanax is claimed to treat:
- Chemotherapy-induced Nausea: Patients should not use Xanax as a monotherapy for the treatment of nausea caused by chemotherapy. Doctors should instead prescribe it alongside other drugs such as cisplatin. (3)
- Depression: Some patients have claimed that Xanax has helped them reduce the symptoms of depression. Ironically, studies have shown that depression is one of the side effects of the drug.
- Insomnia: The use of Xanax for sleep disorders may have risen due to one of its side effects namely drowsiness. Its anxiolytic property also helps those who overthink at night calm their minds. (4)
Remember to always consult your doctor before taking any drug for any purpose. Doing otherwise may not only endanger your health but also put you at risk of getting addicted to the drug. Additionally, purchasing Xanax without prescription is also illegal in most states.