Discussions that mention xanax

Anxiety board


All,

I am curious how many people have taken Xanax long term and whether they experienced a need to increase dosage all the time to keep up with the anxiety. I was assured by my doctor as well as the drug company that although the drug was addictive it had a maximum therapeutic dose. I have been taking it for about 3.5 months now and have noticed a need to increase the dosage and I am thinking I am at that point again. I started out with a prescription for .5 mg 3X daily. I took .25 mg 3X daily. You all know how it is with new meds. Anyway, I gradually ramped up to the .5 mg 3X daily at about 2 months and felt fine. Eventually I started noticing anxiety creeping up on me again, so I spoke with my doctor and bumped up to 2mg of Xanax XR, the extended release type. At first I noticed it was not as potent obviously as the original, but it seemed to work OK. I still felt a little anxious when taking it especially since I can only take it twice daily (1 mg). Anyway, I moved my second dose up to 5 instead of bed time because I was having a lot of anxiety in the afternoon. This fixed the problem temporarily. Anyway, now I am at 3.5 months still taking the Xanax XR version and it is 3:41PM about 1 hour and 20 minutes from my next dose and I have been very anxious for the last hour or so. I have also noticed that the morning anxiety is getting worse again as well. This is probably because I have been taking it earlier in the day so the lack of Xanax at night is higher. My doctor said I could take up to 3 mg per day if needed, but I don't want to keep increasing and eventually be strung out on the drug. It is the only drug that really helps me though and I am horrified that I may not be able to take it long term as previously expected due to a constant need to increase dosage.

I would really appreciate any advice or wisdom anyone who has taken it for a long period of time has. I am starting to get really anxious and I know I need to make a decision on this one way or another. I just need to know that I am not going to be up to 10 mg by this time next year.

Thanks in advance for any info you can provide. :confused:
The problem is, Xanax alone probably won't solve all your problems. You might need to consider counseling/or any other form of therapy (CBT, etc.).

Xanax is a great drug for anxiety - but, you can't rely on this solely to help solve the problem, because you will continue to need to increase your dose if it's not addressing the anxiety at the dose you're on (if that's all you rely on).

You need to implement other techniques to compliment your medicinal therapy.
Hi, I think we've talked before.

I don't take Xanax any more, but when I did I took it everyday for 7 years.
The dose I started out with is the same dose I was taking the day I stopped taking it.
I never in all of those 7 years upped the dose once, or felt the need to.

But, everyone is different and the best thing to do would be to talk to your Doctor.

I've read some of your other posts and get the feeling that you're not impressed with the XR.
All I can tell you is what my Doctor told me when I asked him about it.
He told me to save my money.
He said one dose was SUPPOSED to work for 24 hours, but in fact it was very rare that it actually did that.
He told me if you gave it to 100 people it might last the full 24 hours for 2 or 3 of those people.
He told me I was better off staying on the regular version.

He told me he had people who were taking 2 MG. of the XR a day and were still feeling anxious, but when he put them back on the reg Xanax and just split the 2MG dose up though out the course of a day they were doing much better...in other words they did better taking one half MG. four times a day, than taking 2MG of the XR once a day.

Maybe it's the XR that's the problem?
That's just my opinion, experiance and what my Doctor told me.
Maybe going back on the regular version would help.

Good luck to you :angel:
i started out at .25mg x3 a day for about 2 months had to keep goping up till i reached the 4mg a day dose that worked for me.. been at that dose for i "think" 4 or 5 months now.. and i dont need anymore as that dose is just right for me..

also bulletinboard25 makes a really good point..
the med is just a tool to help work on the problem..

if you take the med and only rely on it.. its like having nails but no hammer to drive them in with.. you can try and push the nails in but they dont go in very far and whatever your building wont hold together long.. so think of xanax as the nails and CBT as the hammer..
I totally agree. I was away on business and was not able to meditate in the morning as ussual. Unfortunatley I also got very little sleep last week which may not be helping. I have done CBT before and had great success with it, however, it doesn't help me with the anxiety that manifests itself in y stomach. By far the worst symptom I have is stomach related and CBT could not help me control that. Xanax completely gets rid of the stomach problems which allows me to work on the OCD with meditation and relaxation techniques.

I think the problem is the XR version. From what I have heard, and I have heard it multiple times, doctors suggest the regular over the XR for financial reasons as well as anxiety relaps reasons. I think I am going to try the 4x a day trick again and see if all returns to normal.

Thanks all for the advice. I think the solution is to get back into mediation and switch to the regular version of Xanax.

Thanks!
hi there, I was on this same trail as you.....kept upping my xanax over a period of a few months and I became worried! A new psychiatrist suggested I leave the xanax dose the same and add a small amount of Prozac (starting at 5MG) for anxiety sufferers...and slowly increase to 20 MG of Prozac. I was skeptical...but within six weeks I had cut my Xanax by half and I finally let it go altogether about 4 months after starting Prozac. I now take the regular Xanax on an as needed basis...which is maybe once a week. I would not have believed that an SSRI could combat anxiety and a little bit of panic disorder but I am now a believer and happy that I didn't have to keep upping the benzo. I had no problems coming off it by the way. I still can't believe how much Prozac helped....I'm really amazed. Good luck.
After changing to Xanax XR I must say I had better imediate results with generic version Alprozalam. I took 3mg a day for over 6 years. It wasn't a wonder drug but made me work and function free of panic attacks. I had no side effects from it. And tolerated it well. Having some recent major stress my panic attacks came back full blown. I knew I needed my first increase and thought it would be temporary. I asked my doctor about Xanax XR and he prescribed 2mg twice a day. It seems to make me anxious then very tired or I should say lethargic. If I take it right before I go to bed it can keep me awake full of anxiety for most of the night then I sleep most of the day! I worry about the fillers and what is making it time release. Can those ingredients cause anxiety? I was hoping for better results with Xanax XR I hope it improves after time. I won’t go above 4mg a day and thought about asking if I could try a longer acting less expensive Benzo like Klonopin or even Valium.

I read it is more difficult to do CBT when you are taking medications that are relieving your symptoms. You are trying to address symptoms that are no longer there. It claims you need the symptoms to overcome them. but there are so many books that say so many different things.

I’m going to a therapist who claims to use CBT but my first three sessions with him have been more Freud like therapy. Maybe it helps to know the person you are trying to treat.

I would say if you never tried regular Xanax or Alprozalam. its worth a try. Good luck
I think you sounded much happier and less stressed/anxious when you were on the regular xanax 4x daily. Both my psych and my pharmacist told me the XR is crap and don't waste my extra copay money for it. For the majority it only lasts about 8 hours which is hard if you can only take it every 12 hrs! Switch back to what worked for you before :) And with the CBT, yes it's good, but for myself(like you) it did not work for my anxiety but did help with my depression and ocd. I'm in therapy now and taking only xanax 0.5mg 4x daily and for me it is working wonders! No other SSRI or other drug has ever helped relieve my anxiety, panic and ocd like xanax and if it means long term use and increased dosing then so be it. At least I'm able to live my life somewhat normally now.

Take Care,
Tori
I agree. I started taking an extra .5 mg of regular Xanax at night before bed and that helped a lot. I am going to quit with the XR when it is gone which won't be too long now. It definitely didn't live up to my expectations. Your doctor was right. It really isn't worth the extra money even if it is the generic. I was also taking .5 mg 4x per day and that was perfect then I switched to XR and it was much weaker or should I say it didn't last as long as it was supposed to. Anyway, I think the moral of the story is to avoid XR or 2 mg of XR is not equivalent to 2 mg of regular Xanax. Thanks all for the responses.
:cool: hello. just wondered if you have anyting else for sleep? to me taking xanax or another other short half life benzo would be a waste..i've never tried XR but for me it wouldn't have worked....I had to KNOW i had a xanax with me, but didn't always have to take one.kj
I haven't used anything other than Melatonin to help sleep however that evening dose of Xanax usually knocks me right out and I usually wake up feeling pretty good too regardless of the half life. The XR version actually works worse in my opinion, so don't waste your money.

If you want to just get some sleep try Melatonin. You can get it at any health food store and it works extremelly well. Probably better than the Xanax.

Take care.
Hi,

I'm new here. Just found this site. I took Xanax for about a year, but then changed to Klonopin. I like it better. I take 0.5mg 3 to 4 times a day. It certainly helps with my anxiety and I don't seem to grow immune to it.
Good luck.
Wendy
Wendy,

Yea, that question was for you. Do you experience any rebound anxiety between doses? I am curious because I take Xanax and as you know it has a very short lived effect. Klonopin, supposedly lasts quite a bit longer and has less withdrawl problems although they can be bad too.

I have pretty bad anxiety that manifests itself in my stomach, so whatever it is that I take, it has to relax my stomach muscles. I write this as my stomach is clenched. The Xanax helps a lot, but I am slowly starting to feel more anxiety, so I am going to switch from Xanax XR to the regular. I am just curious about the Klonopin.

Any info you have or experiences would be of great help.

Thanks,
OE
Dear OE,

One of the reasons I had to take Klonopin was because I was severely addicted to xanax and would abuse it. After getting over the xanax and an addiction to percription pain killers, I found I liked the klonopin. I don't feel I have to count my pills like I did with xanax to see if I could take any extra on a particular day. I just take my klonopin and often, I don't even take the fourth dose. Of course, I am also on other meds for depression: effexor and zoloft. I feel the antidepressants have helped get rid of that feeling in my stomach. Klonopin does last longer than xanax. I found that helps.

Do you take any other meds, if you don't mind me asking.

Even with klonopin, I am very limited as to where I go and what I do. Social occasions are not for me. No amount of klonopin could help me there.

Wendy
Not at all. That is what we are here for. I take only Xanax and 2 mg per day of the XR version. I am switching back to the regular version though because the XR is not lasting nearly as long as it is supposed to. I was feeling much better on the regular version.

I have taken many other drugs in the past, but can not get past the anxiety and side effects they cause me. I have taken: Prozac, Paxil, Remeron, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Buspar etc. the only one that didn't give me horrible side effects was Buspar, but it also didn't do much of anything at all for me.

The reason for this post was to find out how Xanax works long term and if a tolerance has been seen by people who use it. So far nobody has said that they have had a problem with it, but you were addicted to it. How did that happen? [COLOR="Red"]{REMOVED} I am just curious to see how you ended up addicted and how much Xanax you were taking at the time.

I am still a reserved person by nature, so I shy away from large gatherings too. I don't have any panic attacks like before, but I do have anxiety from time to time especially with the XR version of Xanax. It just doesn't pack the punch that the regular verison does. Anyway, I am able to function normally in life with a high stress job and a kid and a half on the way, so it must be doing something because a year ago I would have been through the roof with anxiety and panic.

Well, I wish you all the luck in the world. Do you think both SSRI's are necessarry? That seems kinda weird, but who am I to say, these drugs behave in strange ways.

Take care.
I have taken .5mg Xanax (brand name) for 16 years for esophageal spasms. I'm allowed to take 1 pill up to 3 times per day. Rarely have I taken 3 in one day in those 16 years. I've never felt like I needed the strength increased or the number of pills increased.

So, I cannot speak for anyone other than myself, but Xanax tolerance or addiction has not been an issue for me. It works as quickly and effectively as it did the first day I took one. Hope my info helps you in some way.
When I was on xanax, I was also taking pain killers. Pain killers give me energy and xanax would calm me down. I abused any med I took at that time, so I not a person to talk about who should take what. For me, the answer was klonopin because I needed something and it didn't seem to be a pill I would abuse. This is when I got clean.

I am a school teacher, which is a stressful job. I am on medical leave now because last March I had respiratory failure (right out of the blue). But when I am better, I can do my job with the klonopin and antidepressants. I asked my psychiatrist if I needed to take Prozac now that I was on effexor. He said they often work well together. I have to say that I haven't been depressed for a long time. Knock on wood.

Wendy
Wendy,

If you have a combo that works, definitely stick with it because finding a good medication is really difficult to say the least. I have heard a lot of good things about Klonopin and how it lasts longer than Xanax, so that is probably helpful for hte addictive personality. It keeps you from anticipating your next dose all the time.

Anyway, I hope you get better and back to teaching. I know we need some good teachers out there.

Take care.
All I can say is that tolerance can become a severe issue at any time, whether it be months or years, to these drugs. There are also prescribing limits so once tolerance hits at highest legal doses, many people start to abuse in order to stave off tolerance withdrawals. Tolerance withdrawals are withdrawal symptoms that occur while on the drug....now isn't that special?

It's not a good day when that happens. I know. Been there, done that. Didn't even abuse the pills at all, that didn't matter though.....severe tolerance to theraputic top level lead to being pushed into the doorway to hell.

I had no choice....only way out is through..had to go through the withdrawals in order to get out. Now things are much, much better and no more pills. The risk of developing severe tolerance IMHO is just not worth it. Been there, done that. It was torture like I couldn't believe; sick with pills, sick without pills, no options. I got through the long withdrawals and made it. Life is much better now.

Hopefully, it won't happen to you. But if it does, consider reading the free online Ashton Manual. Prof. Ashton was a pioneer in the study of adverse effects of the benzodiazepine drug group which includes Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, Valium, etc. Good luck.
Jennita,

I am just curious how much you started taking primarily and how much you ended up taking by the time you dedcided enough was enough. You are the first to come forward with a tolerance issue and I am just curious what happened?

I know the withdrawl can be horrible, but the idea for me is to take it for the rest of my days and therefore never need to deal with withdrawl. Tell your story so we know what happened. There are a lot of people on this board that have been taking Xanax for many many years some of them 10's of years with no ill effects, and a lot of us who are new at this and wonder what the future prognosis is for long term use.

I am sorry you had to go through that withdrawl. I am sure that was pretty horrible. I tried to quit cold turkey from a very small dose and got a glimpse of the withdrawl and it wasn't pretty.

Thanks,
OE
I was moved from Xanax to Klonipin by my health care provider. His explaination was that if you look at this medication as a sine wave, when you take Xanax, you have a rapid intake, it peaks and then a rather quick tumble down the backside. Klonipin was described as having a much longer duration peak so that the effects are longer lasting. I'm not a health care provider but I can say that it helps me and has, again in my own experience, a longer positive effect. I can't provide any information on the tolerance issue of Xanax, but I can see that it may be a problem for many people.

Take care of yourselves!

Mike
Quote from ocdengineer:
Jennita,

I am just curious how much you started taking primarily and how much you ended up taking by the time you dedcided enough was enough. You are the first to come forward with a tolerance issue and I am just curious what happened?

I know the withdrawl can be horrible, but the idea for me is to take it for the rest of my days and therefore never need to deal with withdrawl. Tell your story so we know what happened. There are a lot of people on this board that have been taking Xanax for many many years some of them 10's of years with no ill effects, and a lot of us who are new at this and wonder what the future prognosis is for long term use.

I am sorry you had to go through that withdrawl. I am sure that was pretty horrible. I tried to quit cold turkey from a very small dose and got a glimpse of the withdrawl and it wasn't pretty.

Thanks,
OE



Ok, but something people must understand is that ill effects can go unnoticed or deemed "original condition becoming worse" when indeed it is really drug effects.

Also, some people do not take Xanax everyday. Using on an "as needed" basis can stave off tolerance; the occassional benzo is not going to cause any big change in the brain but daily use is what can lead to tolerance and withdrawals. Now some people also do not increase their doses ever, even during some tougher spots, and small dosages that never increase will also help avoid some of the more severe tolerance issues.

There are so many different scenarios, so many things unnoticed. My own physician didn't even see the tolerance I was developing, despite the fact the drug only worked maybe 2 days out of seven. He claimed I hadn't developed tolerance. Gee, most people would be out like a light with 2 mg. Ativan in them(equiv. of 20 mgs. Valium) but I stayed awake many nights on that dose. If that isn't tolerance, I don't know what is.

So as you can see, the facts about tolerance can be very skewed and the stories of no problems claimed by some can be inaccurate.

My story, to put it simply, I had a reaction to some codiene and doctors denied it and put me on other meds to fix me>enter benzodiazepines. Benzos do not fix anyone. They desensitize and downregulate the GABA receptors over time. Downregulation itself is well-known in science; it is the cell death of receptors constantly exposed to a psychoactive chemical.

I did not know this, continued taking 2 mgs. of Ativan for months, then Klonopin, then back to Ativan. By the end of 8 months I could not sleep, as I mentioned, for 4 days in a row on 2 mgs. Ativan a night. On day 5 I might get 4 hrs. if lucky. When my doc suggested no tolerance plus he wanted to add another whole 2 mgs. during the day( since now I was starting to go through panic attacks, during the day!!!)

Those panic attacks developed many months later, they were not originally there. The codiene withdrawals caused sleep issues for which Ativan was prescribed. They also tried Restorial, Ambien, and Sonata at times....even an AD, Serzone, which ended up making me even worse.

Thankfully, I found a benzo website and got off the stuff. Sleep very, very slowly came back, panic attacks left, heartrate went back to normal, etc. but it was a long, painful protracted withdrawal and I won't forget it.....panic attacks, breathing problems, insomnia, muscle twitching, noise sensitivity, massive headaches, depression, well, the benzo withdrawal list is long.

Even now, some sleep issues remain so I must follow good sleep habits. But natural, regular sleep feels so good it's worth it. And I have no other symptoms.

Even when a drug downregulates or causes cell death, the brain can renew the cells if left drug free for some time. That's the good news. But why even let it happen...I know I would not had I known then what I know now.

It's a gamble; not worth it in my book but others may not share my opinion.[COLOR="Red"]{REMOVED}
I went off wellbutrin and started xanax as needed. It seems to be working but I have gained weight. I am not sure if it is from going off the wellbutrin or the xanax. My doctor said xanax is weight neutral. Has anybody had weight gain as a side effect?
Quote from loufrank:
I went off wellbutrin and started xanax as needed. It seems to be working but I have gained weight. I am not sure if it is from going off the wellbutrin or the xanax. My doctor said xanax is weight neutral. Has anybody had weight gain as a side effect?


Not at all. Actually it takes away my appetitie. I have to make sure to eat on the day's I take it. :eek: