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Pharmacotherapy. 1982 Sep-Oct;2(5):243-54.

Alprazolam: pharmacokinetics, clinical efficacy, and mechanism of action.


Alprazolam, a triazolobenzodiazepine, is the first of this new class of benzodiazepine drugs to be marketed in the United States and Canada. It achieves peak serum levels in 0.7 to 2.1 hours and has a serum half-life of 12 to 15 hours. When given in the recommended daily dosage of 0.5 to 4.0 mg, it is as effective as diazepam and chlordiazepoxide as an anxiolytic agent. Its currently approved indication is for the treatment of anxiety disorders and symptoms of anxiety, including anxiety associated with depression. Although currently not approved for the treatment of depressive disorders, studies published to date have demonstrated that alprazolam compares favorably with standard tricyclic antidepressants. Also undergoing investigation is the potential role of alprazolam in the treatment of panic disorders. Alprazolam has been used in elderly patients with beneficial results and a low frequency of adverse reactions. Its primary side effect, drowsiness, is less than that produced by diazepam at comparable doses. Data on toxicity, tolerance, and withdrawal profile are limited, but alprazolam seems to be at least comparable to other benzodiazepines. Drug interaction data are also limited, and care should be exercised when prescribing alprazolam for patients taking other psychotropic drugs because of potential additive depressant effects.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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