There are many uses for Xanax, including treating anxiety and panic disorders and preventing seizures. The standard Xanax dosage is based upon several factors, including the patient’s age, the condition they suffer from and any other medications they may take that have sedating effects.
Available Dosages and Preparations
Xanax, also known as alprazolam, is available in many different dosages and preparations in both the brand name and generic forms. While most people take the drug in its tablet form—either instant or extended release—it is also available for IV injection in hospitals and treatment facilities.
The instant release tablets come in 0.25mg, 0.5mg, 1mg and 2mg strengths, while the extended release tablets are only available in 0.5mg, 1mg, 2mg and 3mg strengths. The higher dosages are typically scored so that they can be broken into halves or quarters for smaller dosing. Intravenous or IV Xanax is typically only given to seizure patients in titrated doses until the symptoms are under control.
Dosage by Age
With a wide array of dosages available, physicians can accurately determine a proper dose for everyone, whether children, teens, adults or the elderly.
- There is no recommended dosage for children as its safety and effectiveness in children has not been determined by the FDA. Even so, many physicians will prescribe extremely low doses—such as half of one 0.25mg tablet—to older children who suffer from severe anxiety or stress.
- In adults, doses range between 0.25 to 3mg, depending upon the patient’s condition and their tolerance to the medication.
- Elderly patients can generally take the medication safely, though the lowest dose possible should be used.
Dosage by Condition
Another factor that influences a patient’s optimal Xanax dosage is the condition the medication is treating.
Patients who are suffering from situational anxiety—such as that which occurs on plane trips or after traumatic events—will usually do well with a very small dose. On the other hand, patients who suffer from extreme cases of anxiety or who have panic attacks regularly may need a higher dose for the medication to be effective.
Seizure patients often benefit from Xanax as well as it reduces the amount of stress and is thought to have an impact on the chemicals in the brain that lead to seizures; the dosage for this condition usually starts low and increases until seizures are well controlled.
Occasional vs. Preventative Use
Many people who use Xanax only do so occasionally and only when symptoms of anxiety, panic or seizures present themselves. This is because the medication is fast-acting and is fully absorbed into the bloodstream within 15 to 20 minutes. On the other hand, there are those who use Xanax as a preventative measure against more severe symptoms that prevent people from living normal lives. Those who use the medication occasionally will usually benefit from a lower dose than those who take it several times per day; this is because people develop a tolerance to the medication over time, meaning it takes higher doses of the medication to achieve the same results.
Though considered safe and effective by many physicians and psychiatrists across the country, Xanax is a controlled substance that must be prescribed with care. Determining the correct Xanax dosage is imperative for ensuring that patients’ conditions are treated or prevented and that they can go on to lead normal, productive lives.