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Addicted to alprazolam

Answered by: Chandra M. Gulhati
Editor,
MIMS,
New Delhi

Q. I am taking tab. restyl(5mg)for anxiety and I am also taking BP drug atenolol 50mg and along 5mg for the past seven years. I feel that I am becoming an addict to alporozolam(restyl). If I want to discontinue that drug please advice me how to do that with out side effects. I tried to stop the same many times but terrible effects I get so I have to take restyl again. I request to advice me at the earliest.

A.  Please note the following points:(a) Restyl is one of several brand names that contain alprazolam. The otherbrands are: Alprocontin, Praxal and Zolam. The quantity of alprazolam is 0.5mg and not 5mg as mentioned in your communication.(b) On the other hand atenolol is a chemical name. The brands are: Atecard,Lonol, Stadmed Beta, Tenolol, Tenormin and Tensimin.(c) Amlong is one of several brand names that contain amlodipine. The otherbrands are: Amlodac, Amlopres, Calcheck, Lama and Myodura.Alprazolam is to be used ONLY for short-term relief of moderate to severeanxiety. It is NOT supposed to be used for more than 4 weeks at a timeunless clinical review requires otherwise. Apparently this scientificprocedure was not followed in your case and hence you have become dependenton this drug.One of the problems with alprazolam is that it is rapidly absorbed from thestomach (within 1-2 hours) and high blood levels are achieved thus makingbody dependent on higher and higher doses. In your case it is suggested that(a) you should stop using plain rapidly absorbed preparation such as Restyl,(b) shift to slowly released brand, Alprocontin 0.5mg that is less likely toproduce withdrawl symptoms being experienced by you and finally (c) startreducing the dose. It is not clear as to how many tablets of Restyl 0.5mgyou are consuming but initially you should shift to the same number ofAlprocontin 0.5mg tablets and then gradually reduce over the next 8-12weeks. For example if you are taking one tablet a day, then you should takeone tablet of Alprocontin 0.5mg for approximatley 7-14 days, then reduce toone tablet daily of Alprocontin 0.25mg for 7-14 days, then half-tablet ofAlprocontin 0.25mg daily for 7-14 days, then half tablet every 2nd day andso on. With your will power, you should have no major problem.Since you also suffer from high blood pressure, may I suggest that youshould reduce your weight by about 8kg that will help reduce yourmedication. You should do brisk walking for about 45 minutes daily to covera minimum of 4.5km.

A.  Please note the following points:(a) Restyl is one of several brand names that contain alprazolam. The otherbrands are: Alprocontin, Praxal and Zolam. The quantity of alprazolam is 0.5mg and not 5mg as mentioned in your communication.(b) On the other hand atenolol is a chemical name. The brands are: Atecard,Lonol, Stadmed Beta, Tenolol, Tenormin and Tensimin.(c) Amlong is one of several brand names that contain amlodipine. The otherbrands are: Amlodac, Amlopres, Calcheck, Lama and Myodura.Alprazolam is to be used ONLY for short-term relief of moderate to severeanxiety. It is NOT supposed to be used for more than 4 weeks at a timeunless clinical review requires otherwise. Apparently this scientificprocedure was not followed in your case and hence you have become dependenton this drug.One of the problems with alprazolam is that it is rapidly absorbed from thestomach (within 1-2 hours) and high blood levels are achieved thus makingbody dependent on higher and higher doses. In your case it is suggested that(a) you should stop using plain rapidly absorbed preparation such as Restyl,(b) shift to slowly released brand, Alprocontin 0.5mg that is less likely toproduce withdrawl symptoms being experienced by you and finally (c) startreducing the dose. It is not clear as to how many tablets of Restyl 0.5mgyou are consuming but initially you should shift to the same number ofAlprocontin 0.5mg tablets and then gradually reduce over the next 8-12weeks. For example if you are taking one tablet a day, then you should takeone tablet of Alprocontin 0.5mg for approximatley 7-14 days, then reduce toone tablet daily of Alprocontin 0.25mg for 7-14 days, then half-tablet ofAlprocontin 0.25mg daily for 7-14 days, then half tablet every 2nd day andso on. With your will power, you should have no major problem.Since you also suffer from high blood pressure, may I suggest that youshould reduce your weight by about 8kg that will help reduce yourmedication. You should do brisk walking for about 45 minutes daily to covera minimum of 4.5km.

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