Category Archives: Psychiatric Medication

Aricept Medication: Is this really a memory drug?

Brand name: Aricept

Generic name: Donepezil hydrochloride

Aricept medication: Why is this drug prescribed?

Aricept medication is one of only two drugs that have been found to provide some relief from symptoms of early Alzheimer’s disease. Aricept medication does not stop the progress of the underlying disease but may improve brain function in some sufferers of early Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease causes physical changes in the brain that interfere with the flow of information and disrupts memory, thinking and results in behavioral changes. These changes seem to be temporarily improved with the use of Aricept medication.

Aricept medication: Important information to know

In order to gain the benefits and maintain any improvement, Aricept must be taken on a regular basis. If it is stopped or taken irregularly, its benefits may be reduced or lost. You must also have some patience when starting this medication as it may take up to three weeks for any positive effects.

When should the Aricept medication not be prescribed?

Most geriatric doctors believe that there are least two main reasons to avoid Aricept: if you have an allergic reaction to the medication, or an allergic reaction to the group of antihistamines that includes Claritin, Allegra, Atarax, Periactin, Optimine, Nolahist and Hismanal.

Aricept medication: What if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding?

Since Aricept medication has not been prescribed for women of childbearing age it has not been tested among women who are pregnant or breast-feeding. Also, it has not been studied whether Aricept medication appears in breast milk and is therefore a threat to a feeding infant.

Aricept Side Effects and Special Warnings

What are some of the Aricept side effects that I may expect?

While specific Aricept side effects should not really be anticipated, if any develop or increase in intensity you need to contact your physician immediately. Only your doctor can determine if it is safe to continue this Alzheimer’s medication in spite of your or your loved one’s Aricept side effects.

Aricept side effects are usually more likely in higher doses and include diarrhea, fatigue, insomnia, loss of appetite, muscle cramps, nausea and vomiting. These are some of the more common side effects of this medication. When these side effects occur they are usually relatively mild and frequently get better as your treatment continues.

Other Aricept side effects may include:

Abnormal dreams, arthritis, bruising, depression, dizziness, fainting, frequent urination, headache, pain, sleepiness, weight-loss

Aricept side effects and special warnings:

This medication can increase the risk of seizures and aggravate asthma and other problems that you may have with your breathing. It can also cause fainting in people with heart conditions and may possibly slow your heartbeat. Obviously, you should always contact your physician if any of these problems occur. For individuals who take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as Aleve, Advil, or Nuprin, or for individuals who have had stomach ulcers, Aricept can possibly make your stomach side effects worse. You should always be cautious when taking this or any drug, and report all Aricept side effects to your doctor.

Aricept side effects and food and drug interactions:

In addition to the Aricept side effects, this medication may increase the effects of certain anesthetics. You should always make sure your doctor is aware that an individual is on Aricept prior to any surgeries. Aricept may also increase, decrease or otherwise alter the effects of other drugs. It is especially important to check with your doctor when taking Aricept with any of the following medications:

• Antispasmodic drugs such as Bentyl, Cogentin, and Pro-Banthine
• Bethanechol chloride (Urecholine)
• Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
• Dexamethasone (Decadron)
• Ketoconazole (Nizoral)
• Phenobarbital
• Phenytoin (Dilantin)
• Quinidine (Quinidex)
• Rifampin (Rifadin, Rifamate)

Although the above list of special precautions is fairly comprehensive, it does not include every possible Aricept side effect. You should always contact your physician if you experience any problematic concerns or any other medication related side effect that appears to be out of the ordinary.

Aricept dosages: How much is too much?

Aricept dosages: How is this medication taken?

Your Aricept dosage should be taken once a day, just before bedtime. It is very important to understand however, that your Aricept dosage must be taken every day. If Aricept is not taking regularly it will not work. This memory drug can be taken either with or without food.

If you miss your Aricept dosage…

You should take it as soon as you remember. However, if it is relatively close to the time for your next dose, you should skip the one that you missed and get back to your regular dosage schedule. You should never double your dose. Aricept should always be stored at room temperature.

Recommended Aricept dosage:


The usual starting Aricept dosage is 5 mg. once a day at bedtime, for a period of at least four to six weeks. You should not increase your dosage through this period of time unless you’ve been directed to do so by your physician. If it is warranted, your doctor may increase your Aricept dosage to as high as 10 mg.


Aricept has not been tested among children for either safety or effectiveness.

Aricept overdosage:

Any medication taken in excess of the recommended amount can be dangerous to your health. If you suspect an overdosage of Aricept you need to contact your doctor immediately or seek medical attention.

Symptoms of Aricept overdosage include:

Collapse, convulsions, extreme muscle weakness (possibly ending in death), low blood pressure, nausea, salivation, slowed heart rate, sweating, vomiting

Taking your Aricept dosage as prescribed is incredibly important. The only way to receive the benefits of this effective Alzheimer’s medication is consistently and accurately taking your Aricept dosage.

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

Alzheimer’s Medications and Vitamin E

Alzheimer’s Medication and treatment overview:

Currently there is no Alzheimer’s medications or treatment that can prevent or halt the mental decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Many drugs have been tested, but most have been abandoned, or found to be ineffective or even toxic in their use as an Alzheimer’s treatment. Most of the more effective Alzheimer’s medications have focused on preventing the destruction of neurons, with the ultimate goal of preventing the decline of memory functioning for as long as possible.

One theory that drives research in the area of Alzheimer’s treatment involves the belief that memory deficits in Alzheimer’s disease are in part a deficiency in the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Medical scientists have continued to try to boost the amount of acetylcholine in the brain by administering substances containing it, and by stimulating the brain to manufacture it in increasing amounts, or by preventing the breakdown of the limited quantities of acetylcholine that the brain is able to make on its own. Lecithin and Choline, which are substances that appear naturally in many foods, are used by the body to produce acetylcholine. Both Lecithin and Choline have been given in supplement form to Alzheimer’s patients in the hope of improving their mental functioning, but have had very disappointing results at the present time.

Alzheimer’s Medication – Cholinesterase Inhibitors:

Some of the more recently reported Alzheimer’s mediations include the cholinesterase inhibitors, which were the first drugs approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These medications include tacrine (Cognex), donezepil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Reminyl) and most recently memantine (Namenda) which slow the breakdown of acetylcholine. While they may reduce some the mild symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, they do not prevent or in any way halt its progression. They merely delay the progression of the disease. According to guidelines published by the American Academy of Neurology in 2001, these medications are consistently better than placebo, but the average benefit is relatively small and the disease continues to progress despite the treatments.

Alzheimer’s treatment and Vitamin E:

The New England Journal of Medicine published an article in 1997 related to the study of the antioxidant properties of vitamin E. It was found in that research that patients with moderately severe Alzheimer’s disease received a daily dose of 2000 IU of vitamin E, 10 mg a day of selegeline, (a medication used for Parkinson’s disease treatment), both, or a placebo. Vitamin E or selegeline seem to slow the time to institutionalization and increase survival by approximately 7 months. The number of individuals losing their ability to do daily activities such as bathing or handling money was cut by one quarter. Combining vitamin E with selegeline did not improve the results.

The American Academy of Neurology concluded that based upon the study that there is good evidence to support the use of vitamin E in an attempt to slow the progression of the Alzheimer’s disease process. The evidence for selegiline to do the same was found to be weaker and there is no real advantage to using selegiline if vitamin E is already being used in an individual’s Alzheimer’s treatment.

An important fact to note in the use of vitamin E as an Alzheimer’s treatment is that while it is generally safe, large doses have been associated with bleeding in some individuals.

A Final Comment on the use of Alzheimer’s Medications.

While Alzheimer’s medication and treatment have limited effectiveness, they may delay the progression for some time and provide you some additional time to spend with your love ones before the inevitable decline in activites of daily living.

By Paul Susic Ph.D.. Licensed Psychologist (Geriatric Psychologist)

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Paxil (Paroxetine): The ultimate depression medication?

Generic name: Paroxetine

Paxil is a depression medication used to treat major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder (sometimes referred to as social phobia) premenstrual disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. This depression medication belongs to a group of medicines referred to as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI’s). These medicines are believed to work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain.

Paxil is available only with your doctor’s prescription in the following dosage forms:

• Extended-release tablets (U.S.)
• Oral suspension (U.S.)
• Tablets (U.S. and Canada)

Paxil: Important information about this depression medication

Before deciding to use this depression medication, the risk of taking this drug must be weighed against the good it could possibly do. This is a decision you and your physician will need to make. For Paxil, the following should be considered:

Allergies– Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reactions to Paxil or similar depression medications. Also, you should tell your health care professional if you’re allergic to any other substances including foods, preservatives or dyes.

Pregnancy– Paxil has not been well studied in pregnant women. It should only be used during pregnancy if the potential benefits significantly outweigh the potential risks to the baby. Before taking this depression medication make sure your doctor knows if you’re pregnant (especially at if it is in the third trimester) or if you may become pregnant.

Breast-feeding– Paxil passes into the breast milk. However, the effects of this medicine in nursing babies has not been established. Caution should be used if you’re breast-feeding.

Children– This depression medication should be used with caution in children who are experiencing depression. Studies have shown occurrences of children thinking about suicide or attempting suicide in clinical trials of this drug. More studies need to be done to be sure that Paxil is safe and effective in children.

Older adults – In studies including older people, Paxil has not caused any different side effects or problems in older adults than it did in younger people. However, Paxil may be removed from the body much more slowly in elderly people. An older adult may need a lower dose than younger individuals.

Other medicines -When you’re taking Paxil or similar depression medications, you should be very concerned about mixing this medication with others. You should always tell your doctor about any medications taken before you consider taking Paxil.

Paxil: Proper use of this antidepressant

You should take Paxil and similar antidepressants only as prescribed by your doctor to benefit your condition as much as possible. You should not take more of it, more often or take it for a longer period of time than your doctor has ordered. Paxil may be taken with or without food or on a full or empty stomach. However, if your doctor tells you to take this antidepressant in a certain way you should take it exactly as directed.

You may have to take Paxil for several weeks before you begin to feel better. Your doctor should check your progress at regular visits during this time to determine if this antidepressant is working effectively. Also, if you’re taking Paxil for depression, you’ll probably need to continue taking it for at least six months to help prevent the depression from returning. If you’re taking the oral suspension form of Paxil, you should shake the bottle well before measuring each dose. Use a small measuring cup or measuring spoon to measure each dose. The teaspoons and tablespoons that are used for serving and eating food do not usually measure exact amounts.

If you’re taking the extended release tablet form of this antidepressant, you should swallow the tablet whole. Do not crush, break or chew before swallowing Paxil.

Storage-How do you store this antidepressant?

You should keep Paxil out of the reach of children. You should store it away from the heat and direct light. Do not store the tablet form of this antidepressant in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down. Keep the oral suspension form of this depression medicine from freezing. You should not keep outdated medicine or medicine which is no longer needed. Be sure that any discarded Paxil is out of the reach of children.

Paxil side effects:

Paxil side effects cannot be anticipated but may arise while on this antidepressant medication. Some rare but serious unwanted Paxil side effects may occur with the use of this antidepressant and have been referred to as the serotonin syndrome. This syndrome (or group of symptoms) is more likely to occur shortly after the dose of Paxil has been increased. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur, you need to contact your doctor immediately. Check with your physician as soon as possible if any of the following Paxil side effects occur:

Less common Paxil side effects:

Agitation; chest congestion; chest pain; chills; cold sweats; confusion; difficulty breathing; dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness when getting up from a lying down or sitting position; fast, pounding, irregular heartbeat or pulse; muscle pain or weakness; skin rash

Rare Paxil side effects:

Absence of or decrease in body movements; bigger, dilated, or enlarged pupils (black part of the eye); difficulty in speaking; inability to move eyes; incomplete, sudden, or unusual body or facial movements; increased sensitivity of eyes to light; low blood sodium (confusion, convulsions, drowsiness, dryness of mouth, increased thirst, lack of energy); red or purple patches on skin; serotonin syndrome (confusion, diarrhea, fever, poor coordination, restlessness, shivering, sweating, talking and acting with excitement you cannot control, trembling or shaking, twitching); talking, feeling, and acting with excitement and activity you cannot control

Other Paxil side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to this antidepressant. However, you should check with your doctor if the following side effects continue or are bothersome.

More common Paxil side effects:

Acid or sour stomach; belching; decreased appetite; decreased sexual ability or desire ; excess air or gas in the stomach or intestines; heartburn; nervousness; pain or tenderness around the eyes and cheekbones; passing gas; problems in urinating; running or stuffy nose; sexual problems, especially ejaculatory disturbances; sleepiness or unusual drowsiness; stomach discomfort, upset, or pain; sweating; trauma; trembling or shaking; trouble in sleeping

After you stop taking this antidepressant medicine, your body may need time to adjust. The length of time this takes depends upon the amount of the medicine you are using and how long you have been using it. You should check with your doctor immediately if you notice any of the previously mentioned Paxil side effects.

Medical problems and Paxil:

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of Paxil. Make sure to tell your doctor if you have any of the following medical problems, especially:

• Bipolar disorder (mood disorder with alternating episodes between mania and depression) or risk of – may make the condition worse. Your doctor should check you for this condition.
• Brain disease or damage
• Mental retardation
• Epilepsy or seizures (or history of) – The risk of seizures may be increased with Paxil.
• Glaucoma, narrow angle – Patients with this condition should use Paxil and similar antidepressants with caution.
• Heart disease
• Heart attack, recent – Use must be determined by your doctor.
• Kidney disease, severe
• Liver disease, severe – Higher blood levels of Paxil may occur, increasing the chance of side effects
• Mania (history of) – The condition may be activated by Paxil.

Some Information from The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs Additional information by Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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Effexor Dosage and Use: What is it for?

Effexor: Why is it prescribed?

Effexor is usually prescribed for the treatment of depression. This antidepressant is most frequently prescribed for the type of depression that interferes with an individual’s daily functioning. These symptoms frequently include such things as changes in appetite, sleep habits, coordination, decreased sex drive, increased fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty concentrating, slow thinking and suicidal thoughts.

Effexor can also be prescribed to relieve high levels of anxiety (generalized anxiety disorder). This disorder is often indicated by persistent feelings of anxiety for a period of at least six months, accompanied by at least three of the following six symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, poor concentration, irritability, muscle tension, and sleep disturbances.

This medication must be taken two to three times per day. The extended-release form, Effexor XR, permits dosing once a day.

What are some really important facts about this medication?

The use of Effexor can result in a fatal reaction when used in combination with other medications known as MAO inhibitors, including the antidepressants Nardil and Parnate. You should never take Effexor with one of these drugs, and never begin therapy with Effexor within 14 days of discontinuing treatment with these medications. Always allow a minimum of seven days between your last dose of Effexor and the first dose of an MAO inhibitor.

Effexor: How should it be taken?

You should always take this medicine with food, exactly as prescribed. It most often takes several weeks for this drug to take effect and for you to actually start feeling better. Your physician should check on your progress periodically.

Effexor XR is taken once per day at the same time each day. Swallow the capsule whole with water. You should not divide, crush or chew it.
If you miss a dose.

It is not necessary to make up for a missed dose. You should skip the missed dose and continue with your next scheduled dose. Never take two doses at once.

How do you store Effexor?

Effexor should be stored in a tightly closed container at room temperature. Also, this medication should be protected from excessive heat and moisture.

Effexor dosage: What is the recommended amount?

The initial starting Effexor dosage is most often 75 mg a day, divided into 2 or 3 smaller doses, usually taken with food. If necessary, your physician may increase your daily Effexor dosage gradually in steps of no more than 75 mg at a time, up to maximum of 375 mg per day. If you have liver or kidney disease or are taking other drugs, your doctor may adjust your Effexor dosage accordingly.

Effexor dosage (Effexor XR):

When Effexor is used for either depression or anxiety, the starting dosage is usually 75 mg once a day. Doctors will ask some people, however, to begin with a dosage of 37.5 mg for the first 4 to 7 days. Your physician may increase your dosage of Effexor in steps of 75 mg at a time, up to maximum of 225 mg a day. As with the regular Effexor, the doctor may make adjustments in your Effexor dosage if you have liver or kidney disease.

Effexor overdosage:

Effexor overdosage most often occurs when combined with other medications or alcohol and can sometimes be fatal. If you suspect an overdose, you should seek medical attention immediately.

The symptoms of an Effexor overdosage include:

Sleepiness, vertigo, rapid or slow heartbeat, low blood pressure, seizures, coma

Information inspired by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

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Effexor Side Effects and Special Warnings

What Effexor side effects can occur?

Effexor side effects frequently cannot be anticipated. If any develop or change in intensity however, you should probably contact your doctor immediately. Your physician is the only one who can really determine the safety of continuing this antidepressant in spite of the sometimes troubling side effects.

The more common side effects of Effexor include:

Abnormal dreams, abnormal ejaculation or orgasms, anxiety, appetite loss, blurred vision, chills, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, frequent urination, flushing, gas, headache, impotence, infection, insomnia, muscle tension, nausea, nervousness, rash, sleepiness, sweating, tingling feeling, tremor, upset stomach, vomiting, weakness and yawning

Some of the less common Effexor side effects include:

Abnormal taste, abnormal thinking, agitation, chest pain, confusion, decreased sex drive, depression, dilated pupils, dizziness upon standing up, high blood pressure, itching, loss of identity, rapid heartbeat, ringing in the ears, trauma, twitching, urinary problems, weight loss

Occasionally there have also been a variety of somewhat rarer Effexor side effects that have been reported. If you notice any new or usual side effect symptoms, let your physician know immediately.

When should this medication not be prescribed?

There have been some serious side effects associated with the use of Effexor when taking this medication with other drugs such as the MAO inhibitors. At times the reaction has been noted to be fatal. You should avoid this drug if it has ever given you an allergic reaction or you notice any other troubling side effect.

What are some of the special warnings when using this depression medication?

Effexor special warnings:

Effexor should be prescribed with caution by your doctor if you have high blood pressure, heart, liver, or kidney disease or a history of seizures or mania (extreme excitability or agitation). You should discuss all medical conditions that seem relevant with your doctor before taking Effexor.

This medication may cause an increase in blood pressure. If this happens you should contact your physician immediately to reduce the dose or consider discontinuing this antidepressant medication. Effexor may also increase your heart rate (especially when taken at higher doses). You should use this medication with caution if you have had a heart attack recently, have suffered from heart failure, or have an overactive thyroid gland. Antidepressants such as Effexor may cause fluid retention, which is especially a concern if you’re an elderly adult. It may also cause you to feel drowsy or less alert, and can affect your judgment. Therefore, you should avoid driving and operating dangerous machinery or participating in other hazardous activities that require you to be completely alert until you know exactly how this drug effects you.

Your physician should examine you regularly if you have glaucoma (high pressure in the eye), or if you are at a relatively high risk of developing this condition. If you ever had any problems of addiction to drugs you should inform your doctor prior to starting this medication. If you develop hives or a skin rash while taking Effexor, notify your physician immediately. Also, Effexor has been known to cause bleeding or bruising of the skin.

You should not stop this depression medication without consulting your doctor. If you do stop suddenly, you may have withdrawal symptoms, although this medication does not usually seem to be habit-forming. Your physician should taper you off this drug gradually rather than stopping it suddenly.

Unfortunately, the safety and effectiveness of Effexor has not been established in children under the age of 18.

Should Effexor be taken if you are pregnant or breastfeeding?

The effects of Effexor during pregnancy have not studied adequately. If you are currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should notify your physician prior to starting this antidepressant medication. You should only take Effexor during pregnancy if it is absolutely necessary.

If Effexor is taken prior to the delivery of a baby it may possibly suffer from withdrawal symptoms. It has also been found that in breast milk and may cause serious side effects when nursing an infant. You may have to choose between nursing your baby and/or continuing your treatment with this medication.

Information inspired by The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs – Sixth Edition

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

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Xanax : Anti Anxiety Medication of Choice?

Xanax or Alprazolam is an anti anxiety medication from the group of drugs known as benzodiazepines. These anxiety medications are known to directly affect the brain and may cause you to be more relaxed, make you more tranquil, sleep better, or they can slow down the nervous system transmissions in such a way as to act as an anticonvulsant. Many doctors prefer benzodiazepines to other anti anxiety medications that can be used with a similar effect, because they tend to be safer, have fewer side effects, and are usually as effective if not more so than these other medications. Xanax comes in the regular form as well as an extended-release form referred to as Xanax XR

What is Xanax usually prescribed for?

This anti anxiety medication is usually prescribed for anxiety, tension, fatigue, and agitation. It is also sometimes prescribed for irritable bowel syndrome, panic attacks, depression, and premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Xanax precautions and warnings:

You should not take Xanax (Alprazolam) if you know that you are sensitive to or allergic to any other benzodiazepine medication including clonazepam. Xanax is also known to aggravate narrow-angle glaucoma, but is still sometimes prescribed if you have open-angle glaucoma.

Some other conditions where Xanax should probably be avoided are severe depression, severe lung disease, sleep apnea (intermittent cessation of breathing during sleep), liver disease, drunkenness, and kidney disease. In each of these conditions, the depressive effects of Xanax or similar antianxiety medications may be enhanced or could be detrimental to your overall condition.

Xanax should not be taken by psychotic patients as it is not effective for them and can trigger unusual stimulation, excitement or rage.

Xanax and other benzodiazepines are not meant to be used for more than three or four months in a row. Your condition should continue to be reassessed before continuing this anti anxiety medication beyond that period of time.

Xanax and similar anti anxiety medications may be addictive. Drug withdrawal may develop if you stop taking it after only four weeks of regular use, but is more likely after a longer period of use. These withdrawal symptoms may start with anxiety and progress to tingling in the hands or feet, sensitivity to light, sleep disturbances, cramps, tremors, muscle tension or twitching, poor concentration, flu-like symptoms, fatigue, appetite loss, sweating, and changes in your overall mental state.

Xanax Side Effects:

Xanax side effects cannot be anticipated, but if you experience an increase in symptoms or sensitivity to this or any medication you should contact your physician immediately. Possible Xanax side effect should be considered any time you’re anticipating doing any activity which requires your full attention or alertness.
Most common Xanax side effects:

The most common side effects of this anti anxiety medication include mild drowsiness during the first few days of therapy. Weakness and confusion may occur, especially for seniors and others who may be sickly or otherwise physically compromised. If these effects persist, you should contact your doctor immediately.

Less common Xanax side effects:

Some of the side effects experienced to a lesser degree among individuals taking this anti anxiety medication include depression, lethargy, disorientation, headache, inactivity, slurred speech, stupor, dizziness, tremors, constipation, dry mouth, nausea, inability to control urination, sexual difficulties, irregular menstrual cycle, changes in heart rhythm, low blood pressure, fluid retention, blurred or double vision, itching, rash, hiccups, nervousness, inability to fall asleep, and occasional liver dysfunction. If you experience any of these Xanax side effects, you should stop taking the medication immediately and contact your doctor.

Rare Xanax side effects:

Medical experts report that rare side effects can occur in almost any part of the body when taking this anti anxiety medication. You should contact your doctor immediately if you experience any side effects not listed above.

Drug interactions:

Xanax is a central nervous system depressant. You should avoid alcohol and other tranquilizers, narcotics, barbiturates, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI’s), antihistamines and antidepressants while taking this medication. If you’re taking Xanax with these other medications, you may experience an excessive amount of depression, tiredness, sleepiness, breathing difficulties and related symptoms.

Smoking is believed to reduce the effectiveness of Xanax by increasing the rate at which it is broken down by the body.

The effects of Xanax may be prolonged when taken together with cimetidine, oral contraceptives, disulfiram, fluoxetine, itraconazole, ketoconazole, metoprolol, probenecid, propoxyphene, propranolol, rifampin, and valproic acid.Theophylline may reduce Xanax’s sedative effects.

If you take any antacids, you should separate them from your Xanax dose by at least one hour to keep them from interfering with the absorption of this anti anxiety medication into the bloodstream.Xanax may raise digoxin blood levels and the chances of digoxin toxicity.The effect of levodopa may be decreased if it is taken along with this anti anxiety medication.Combining Xanax with phenytoin may increase its blood concentrations in the chances of phenytoin toxicity.

Xanax Dosages and Recommendations:

The usual adult Xanax dosage is 0.5-6 mg per day. The Xanax dosage should be tailored to meet your individual needs. Xanax is not recommended for children under the age of 18. This antianxiety medication should be taken on an empty stomach, but may be taken with food if it upsets your stomach.

Xanax overdosage:

The symptoms of Xanax overdosage are confusion, sleepiness, for coordination, lack of response to pain such as pinprick, loss of reflexes, shallow breathing, low blood pressure, and coma. You should take any individual’s you suspect to be experiencing an overdose to a hospital emergency room immediately. Also, you should always bring the Xanax prescription bottle or container.

Special information related to this and key anxiety medication:

Xanax can cost tiredness, drowsiness, inability to concentrate, or related symptoms. You should always be very careful driving or operating machinery, or perform any to these require concentration have high level of alertness.

Anyone taking Xanax or similar antianxiety medications (benzodiazepines) for more than three or four months at a time may be at risk for a drug withdrawal reaction if the medicine is stop suddenly.

If you forget to your latest Xanax dosage, you should take it is Senator member. It is almost time for your next dose, skip the one you forgot a return to your regular Xanax dosage schedule. Do not take a double dose. He takes Xanax XOR, you should take your full daily dose once a day in the morning. Tonight she were crushed Xanax XOR tablets.

Xanax and special populations:


Saks may cause birth effects of taken during the first three months of pregnancy. You should avoid Xanax while you are pregnant. Also, Xanax may pass into breast milk. Nursing mothers who must take Xanax should bottle -feed.


Seniors, should be especially careful when taking Xanax, especially those with liver or kidney disease, those are more sensitive to the effects of Xanax or similar benzodiazepines and generally require smaller doses to achieve the same effect.

Some information from The PDR Pocket Guide to Prescription Drugs

Additional information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D Licensed Psychologist (Health and Geriatric Psychologist)

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Guarding Against Dangerous Drug Interactions

Some of the best ways you can guard against dangerous drug interactions include the following:

Always make sure your doctor is aware of the prescription and over-the-counter drugs you are currently taking, and have your doctor check for whether these drugs interact in a way that is detrimental to your health. It is best that they consult drug reference books or computer reference programs before you leave the office.

Always have your medications filled at the same pharmacy, ideally one that keeps computerized information of all of your medications, and can focus on any possible drug interactions. Also, always tell your pharmacist about all of the over-the-counter drugs that you are currently taking.

Make a list of the key questions to ask your physician. When your doctor prescribes a new medication don’t just assume that he and your pharmacist are aware of all the drug interactions, or even if they are, that they will remember to tell you. Make a list of questions for your doctor or pharmacist and make sure that they answer them independently. If one contradicts the other, always follow up. Some of the following are good questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist in relation to drug interactions.

• What is the medication’s name?

• What is the dosage?

• What time and how often should I take it?

• Should it be taken with food?

• Are there any foods that need to be avoided?

• Should I avoid any vitamins or supplements?

• Can I increase any vitamins or supplements?• Are there any warnings and precautions I should know about?

• Are there any contraindications to taking this medication?• What other prescription medication should I avoid while on this drug?

• Are there any over- the – counter remedies that I need to avoid?

• What side effects are common with this medication?

• Are there any side effects that you need to know about immediately?

Even if your doctor or pharmacist tells you that there are no negative drug interactions with other medications or food, don’t assume that none exist. There are many rare but life-threatening interactions that may go undetected by drug companies or the medical establishment, as well as the Food and Drug Administration, for months or even years, after the drug has become available on the open market. So if you experience any strange symptoms that can’t easily be explained, you need to contact your doctor or the drug’s manufacturer and file a report with the FDA.

Information from The World’s Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D Licensed Psychologist

Prescription drugs: Five easy ways to save big money.

Prescription drug savings can be had in several ways. You’re probably already familiar with how you can save money on the costs of medications by asking your doctor for generic equivalents of your prescription drugs. Here are five more cost cutting tricks:

(1) Ask for free samples of prescription drugs. Doctors are deluged with pharmaceutical sales representatives handing out free samples from manufacturers, but they don’t always distribute the samples to their patients. If you ask, you may get a week or more of an expensive prescription drug for free.

Caution: Make sure to check the expiration dates as some of these medications may have been sitting around the doctor’s office for way too long.

(2) Get your prescription drugs through mail-order or on the Internet. Obviously, you should always do this only when appropriate, but buying prescription drugs by mail or on the Internet can be very economical, and convenient. However, you must be careful that many mail-order pharmacies used nonpharmacists to fill prescriptions. While usually a pharmacist with check the final order, the volume of prescription drugs being processed is usually very large and mistakes do happen.

Buying by mail order or over the Internet means you lose the benefit of face-to-face communication with your pharmacist who can warn you of possible interactions and negative side effects.

The bottom line: The Internet or mail-order is best used with drugs you’re familiar with, and medications that are taken on a long-term basis. That way you will minimize the risk of taking a wrong prescription drug or falling victim to unforeseen drug interactions.

(3) Don’t let your insurance company impose limits on your prescription length.
If your doctor writes an order for a 90 day supply of your prescription drug your insurance company may approve only a 30 day supply. Limiting your prescriptions in this manner helps your insurer to cut costs but actually costs you more money and extra trips to the pharmacy.

Loophole: If you want or need a prescription for a 90 day supply and your insurance company only covers 30 days, ask your doctor to substitute “take as directed” instead of “take once a day” on the prescription form, which makes it hard for the insurance company to know how many pills comprise a 30 day supply. You’ll be able to then get your full 90 day supply filled.

Find out how often the medication should actually be taken and write it on the prescription label.

(4) Avoid time release formulations. Many prescription drugs are offered in both time-release and non-time-release forms. Time-release forms are often more convenient and also more expensive.

(5) Look into patient assistance programs for your prescription drugs. These programs are available by many pharmaceutical companies but are not publicly advertised. They are usually used to assist people who are short on cash because of job loss or financial setbacks. You may qualify for free prescription drugs. In most cases, all that is required is for your doctor to certify that you’re unable to afford the cost of the prescription drug. Call the manufacturer directly or find out if a particular drug is available through such a program and what the terms are.

Some information from The World’s Greatest Treasury of Health Secrets from the Editors of Bottom Line Publications

Additional Information and webpage by Paul Susic Ph.D Licensed Psychologist

What are the depression medications, and how do they work?

How do depression medications help?

Depression medications work through their effect on our thinking and neural processes. Our thinking processes and related moods are activated by nerve cells in the brain referred to as neurons. The systems of our body and related thinking processes involved in daily routines and related activities, involve specific neurons working and activating other neurons in order for the thinking and actions to actually take place. Networks of neurons are formed in the brain which are then activated by specific actions and processes. Biochemical substances called neurotransmitters are used to communicate with other neurons and networks of neurons to fulfill specific actions. Some of the main neurotransmitters that are used in our daily routines and bodily functions include “norepinephrine” and “serotonin”. These two neurotransmitters have been found to correlate very highly with how a person thinks and feels resulting in a specific mood. Medications used to treat depression currently increase the levels of serotonin or some increase a combination of both serotonin and norepinephrine. Medications that primarily increase the levels of serotonin are referred to as SSRI”s or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. Some of the newer antidepressant medications that activate and increase the level of both norepinephrine and serotonin in our brains are called Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors or SNRI’s.

Some depression medications have been around for several decades including the Tricyclic antidepressants and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors or MAOI’s. These medications have been found to effect several neurotransmitters in the brain rather than just serotonin and norepinephrine.

Depression Medication: Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors:

These depression medications have been identified as increasing the level of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain. However, because they do not actually only effect the level of serotonin, these medications can’t really be accurately referred to as just serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Although somewhat misleading, the medical naming convention is to refer to them as the SSRI class of medications. These include the brand names of:


Other depression medications that have some effect on the brain serotonin metabolism but are not usually referred to as SSRI’s include:

vilazodone (Viibryd)
vortoxetine (Brintellix)
buspirone (BuSpar)
etoperidone (Axiomin, Etonin)
trazodone (Desyrel)

They are included in this section because of their similar side effect profile.

Although the SSRIs seem to be relatively well-tolerated, there are common side effects which include heartburn, drowsiness and difficulty in achieving an orgasm. Also they can sometimes produce transient loss of appetite and may interact poorly with other medications. You should always consult your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking or mixing them with other medications. A more comprehensive listing of SSRI’s side effects will follow on additional pages of this website.

Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI):

A more recent category of depression medications which have been marketed for their effect on both serotonin and norepinephrine neurotransmitters are categorized as the Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI’s). These include:

dezvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
duloxetine (Cymbalta)
levomilnacipran (Fetzima)
milnacipran (Ixel, Savella)
tofenacin (Elamol, Tofacine)
venlafaxine (Effexor). Effexor Use and Dosage Effexor Side Effects

Some additional antidepressants that affect primarily serotonin in addition to norepinephrine are not included the marketing category of SSRIs such as;

mirtazapine (Remeron)
setiptline (Tecipul).

Some critics of medication classification conclude that some medicines are classified in a relatively arbitrary manner in order to possibly switch patients from one class to another class if their previous medication does not seem to work effectively.

All of the SNRI’s can possibly cause the same negative side effects listed for the SSRI medications including withdrawal symptoms and possible tardive dysphoria. Venlafaxine (Effexor) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) are in the top five drugs reported to the FDA MedWatch associated with violence, including self injury, suicidal tendency or homicidal ideation.

What are the tricyclic antidepressants?

The tricyclic antidepressants get their name from their chemical structure and are actually some of the older depression medications. While some believe that tricyclics have been effective in combating depression for some people, they are believed to have more troublesome side effects than some of the newer antidepressants. Some of the more problematic side effects include drowsiness, dry mouth and constipation. Some of the more popular tricyclics include:


All are now in generic forms and produced by various manufacturers.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s):

Another classification of medications which are believed to be effective for some types of depression are the MAOI’s. One of the main concerns with MAOI’s however is that they could possibly have potentially life-threatening drug interaction potential. Your physician needs to be intimately involved when taking these medications in assisting you with avoiding foods which may interact poorly resulting in life-threatening consequences. These medications include:

Nardil (phenelzine)
Parnate (tranylcypromine).

Miscellaneous Categories of Antidepressants:

There are a couple of depression medications that really don’t fit easily into specific categories such as

Remeron (mirtazapine)
Serzone (nefazodone)
Wellbutrin (bupropion

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist

See Related Posts:

Anxiety Medication 101: What You Need to Know

Anxiety Medications: An Overview

Anxiety medications are now the most popularly prescribed medications by far by doctors for psychiatric disorders. The most commonly prescribed anxiety medications in recent years have included the benzodiazepine such as


Other medications that fall within the anxiety medication classification which are used for anxiety disorders include

and also the beta blockers.

Benzodiazepines for Anxiety Disorders:

The benzodiazepines including such anxiety medications as Xanax, Valium and Ativan, are easily the most common medications prescribed for anxiety followed by chlordiazepoxide (Librax, Librium) and Clonazepam (Klonopin), which also fall within this classification, although they are primarily used to treat seizures. The benzodiazepines are fast acting medications and frequently take effect within an hour or less. Dosages are most commonly started at a low level and increased until symptoms have been diminished. While they have relatively low levels of side effects, the most common side effects include loss of coordination, fatigue, drowsiness, mental slowing or confusion. These and most medications should be taken with caution during pregnancy, when driving vehicles or operating machinery. They should not be combined with other medications including muscle relaxants and prescribed pain medications, anesthetics or alcohol.

Benzodiazepines are not harmless and require some level of caution. They have been noted to have some potential for the development of tolerance, the potential for abuse, withdrawal reactions and dependence. They are ideally prescribed for brief periods of time because of these concerns and are optimally recommended to be used for several days to several weeks. Continuous treatment on an ongoing basis is not recommended for most people, however many patients are prescribed the benzodiazepines on a long-term basis. You should always consult your physician before discontinuing these anxiety medications and should never stop abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms are known to occur when discontinuing these medications and often include dizziness, headaches, shakiness, sleeplessness, loss of appetite and in more severe cases, fever, seizures and even occasionally psychosis. Most often, when these medications have been taken for an extended period of time, the physician will gradually taper off the dosage before completely being discontinued.

Benzodiazepines have been used for a variety of anxiety disorders including obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.

Other Anxiety Medications:

Although benzodiazepines are the most commonly prescribed anxiety medications, others such as Busbar (buspirone), Neurontin (gabapentin), the beta-blockers (propranolol, atenolol), tricyclic antidepressants, MAOI’s and SSRI’s are frequently prescribed for specific anxiety conditions. Busbar, which is a non–benzodiazepine is frequently used for treating generalized anxiety disorders. It is more chemically similar to some of the antidepressants, but does not have the dependence and negative withdrawal symptoms usually associated with benzodiazepines. The seizure medication Neurontin has also been found to be effective in treating some mood and anxiety disorders, as well as for the treatment of neuropathic pain. Beta-blockers which are usually used for heart conditions (such as high blood pressure), have also been found to be helpful for stage fright and other anxiety conditions which include a palpitating heart. Several of the antidepressants such as the SSRI’s, tricyclics and MAOI’s are also commonly used for treating anxiety disorders in addition to the anxiety medications, and will be discussed on other pages of this website.

By Paul Susic Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist