Xanax is an anti-anxiety drug that is reasonably safe for most people. But for pregnant women, it may have a harmful effect. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you’re taking Xanax and thinking about becoming pregnant. He may advise you to stop taking the drug and suggest ways to wean yourself from the drug. He may also have alternative treatments for your anxiety during the gestation period. So, what should a woman know about Xanax and pregnancy? Can it harm the baby?
What Is Xanax?
Xanax belongs to the class of benzodiazepines. This drug affects unbalanced brain chemicals that can cause anxiety.
Xanax reduces anxiety, nervousness and stress associated with anxiety disorder. Xanax is also used to treat panic disorders. What’s more, it can be used for other purposes.
Xanax is a derivative of triazole-benzodiazepine. It has an anxiolytic effect. Thus, the drug reduces anxiety, feelings of worry, fear and tension. Antidepressant activity of Xanax is also noted. It has a central muscle relaxant and moderate hypnotic activity.
After oral administration, Xanax is quickly and completely absorbed from the digestive tract. The maximum concentration in blood plasma is reached within 1 -2 hours. Binding to plasma proteins is 80%. The drug is metabolized in the liver. The half-withdrawal period is around 12-15 hours. Xanax and its metabolites are excreted mainly by the kidneys.
Indications for Use
- Disturbing conditions, neuroses accompanied by a sense of anxiety, danger, tension, deterioration of sleep, irritability, and somatic disorders;
- Mixed anxiety-depressive conditions;
- Neurotic reactive-depressive conditions, accompanied by a decrease in mood, loss of interest in the environment, anxiety, loss of sleep, decreased appetite, somatic disorders;
- Anxious states and neurotic depression, developed against a background of somatic diseases;
- Panic disorder in combination and without symptoms of phobia.
- hypersensitivity to Xanax components;
- coma, shock, myasthenia;
- angle-closure glaucoma (acute attack or predisposition);
- acute alcohol poisoning, narcotic analgesics, hypnotic and psychoactive drugs;
- severe COPD (progression of the degree of respiratory failure);
- severe depression (suicidal tendencies may manifest);
- pregnancy (especially the 1st trimester), lactation period;
- age under 18 years (safety and efficacy are not determined).
Take Xanax with caution in the following cases:
- hepatic insufficiency, chronic kidney disease, cerebral and spinal ataxia;
- drug dependence in the anamnesis , propensity to abuse psychoactive drugs;
- hyperkinesia, organic brain diseases, psychosis (possible paradoxical reactions);
- hypoproteinemia, nocturnal apnea (established or presumed), elderly age.
How to Take Xanax?
Take Xanax exactly according to the recommendation of your doctor. To clarify the directions for use, consult your doctor or a pharmacist.
Take each dose with a full glass of water.
Do not crush or chew Xanax XR pills. Swallow the whole pill. Xanax is designed for slow dissolution of the drug in the body.
Do not exceed the prescribed dosage.
Keep in mind that Xanax is addictive. There may be physical and psychological dependence on the drug. Do not exceed the dose and do not take the drug longer than prescribed by your doctor. In case of a sharp discontinuation of the drug after several weeks of continuous use, the effect of abstinence may occur. Seizures may become one of the side effects of abrupt withdrawal of the drug. Also, the doctor can recommend a gradual dose reduction.
Store Xanax at room temperature in a cool dry place.
In case of a possible overdose, consult a doctor immediately.
Symptoms of overdose include drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, slow heart rate, shortness of breath, difficulty walking and speaking, signs similar to alcohol intoxication and unconsciousness.
You need to be careful when driving, operating industrial equipment or performing other hazardous work. Xanax causes drowsiness, possibly dizziness. In case of drowsiness or dizziness, you should refrain from dangerous activities.
When taking Xanax, you should refrain from alcohol. Alcohol increases drowsiness and dizziness caused by Xanax.
Keep in mind that Xanax may increase the effects of other drugs that cause dizziness, including antidepressants, alcohol, antihistamines, sedatives, (for the treatment of insomnia), painkillers, medications for the treatment of anxiety disorders, anticonvulsants and muscle relaxants. That’s why you need to tell your doctor about all medications you are taking. Also, do not take other medications without first consulting your doctor.
What Are the Possible Side Effects of Xanax?
If any of the following serious side effects occur, stop taking the medication and immediately seek medical attention:
- an allergic reaction (shortness of breath, narrowing of the airways, swelling of the lips, face, tongue, or cramps);
- the appearance of wounds in the mouth or in the throat;
- yellowing of the skin or eyes;
- hallucinations or severe confusion;
- impaired vision.
Also, other, less serious side effects are more likely to occur. Continue taking the medication and tell your doctor if you experience any:
- drowsiness, dizziness, or uneasy movements;
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or constipation;
- difficulty urinating;
- bright dreams;
- dry mouth;
- decreased sexual desire;
- changes in behavior.
Other side effects may also occur. Make sure to tell your doctor about any unusual side effects, especially those that cause your anxiety.
Xanax and Pregnancy. Xanax and Lactation
Benzodiazepines may cause harmful effects on the fetus when used by pregnant women. When using Xanax during pregnancy, and also if a woman becomes pregnant when taking this drug, she must be informed of the potential dangers to the fetus. The combination of Xanax and pregnancy is not considered safe. It is believed that Xanax can increase the risk of congenital malformations if a woman is taking the drug during the first trimester.
Since these drugs are rarely used for emergency care, their use in the first trimester of pregnancy should almost always be avoided. When prescribing a drug, it is necessary to consider the possibility that a woman of childbearing age can become pregnant. It makes sense to consult your physician about the advisability of stopping the use of the drug if you become pregnant during the therapy or plan a pregnancy. What concerns breastfeeding, if you are taking Xanax, it is better to avoid breastfeeding. It is known that low levels of benzodiazepines are detected in breast milk, including alprazolam. That’s why it makes sense to stop breastfeeding while taking Xanax.
Compatibility of Xanax and Pregnancy
Xanax belongs to category D according to the FDA classification for pregnancy. This means that the harmful effect of the drug on the fetus is proven. Do not take Xanax if you are pregnant or can become pregnant during the course of taking the drug, without consulting a doctor in advance.
Alprazolam has a toxic effect on the fetus and increases the risk of developing congenital malformations when used in the first trimester of pregnancy. Combination of Xanax and pregnancy can lead to physical dependence with the development of withdrawal syndrome in a newborn. Taking Xanax at a later time of pregnancy can cause depression of the newborn’s central nervous system. The use immediately before childbirth or during childbirth can cause a respiratory depression, a decrease in muscle tone, hypotension, hypothermia and a weak act of sucking (a sluggish suckling syndrome) in the newborn.
The components of Xanax can penetrate into breast milk. As a result, this can cause sleepiness and obstruct feeding. What’s more, in experimental studies, it has been shown that alprazolam and its metabolites are excreted in breast milk.