Alprazolam for PMS-related anxiety
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How It Works
Why It Is Used
Alprazolam is occasionally prescribed for women with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) when anxiety is the main symptom and other treatments have not been effective. It is only recommended for a few days' use (no longer than the premenstrual part of the cycle) because it loses effectiveness over time and may become addictive if used continuously.
How Well It Works
Alprazolam is considered to be somewhat effective for PMS-related anxiety and irritability.1 But it can dull the mind and become addictive.
Possible side effects of benzodiazepine medicines include:
- Addiction . Physical addiction can be life-threatening, especially during rapid withdrawal.
- Low blood pressure.
- A general lack of interest (apathy).
- Weight gain.
If you are taking alprazolam, use caution when driving or operating machinery. This medicine may cause drowsiness, which may make it harder to concentrate.
See Drug Reference for a full list of side effects. (Drug Reference is not available in all systems.)
What To Think About
For some women, anxiety is linked to other PMS symptoms. Physical symptoms like weight gain or emotional symptoms like feeling out of control may cause anxiety. Reducing these symptoms often relieves anxiety without the need for antianxiety medicines.
If used continuously, alprazolam can become addictive after a few weeks and often must be tapered gradually to avoid symptoms of withdrawal, which can be life-threatening.
The benefits and effectiveness of antianxiety medicines need to be compared with the side effects and costs of treatment. You can discuss this with your health professional.
Last Updated: June 19, 2008
Author: Sandy Jocoy, RN