Xanax is a drug most people have heard about, and many have tried. It’s a prescription anti-panic and anti-anxiety medicine that has become so engrained in pop culture and many people’s daily lives that it could seem like it’s been around forever, but in reality, it hasn’t. So where was Xanax created? What is the history of this widely prescribed drug? How did Xanax become such a relied-upon prescription for so many people in the U.S.?
These are all questions you might have.
Xanax is prescribed most commonly for people who struggle with panic disorders and anxiety, including generalized anxiety disorder and social anxiety. It’s taken by mouth, and the dosages dictate how long and intense the effects are. When someone takes Xanax, their motor skills and coordination can be impacted, and the effects often look similar to alcohol.
Similar drugs include Librium, Ativan and other drugs that fall into the benzodiazepine class.
Xanax a schedule IV controlled substance, but this central nervous system does have the potential for abuse according to most medical professionals and researchers.
It is used not only to create a sense of calm, but in some cases, it can produce a euphoric effect, and it also has the potential for physical dependence.
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In 1955 a chemist by the name of Dr. Leo Sternbach discovered the first benzodiazepine, which became known as Librium. It was marketed by the Hoffman-La Roche company starting in 1960 and Valium followed shortly after that in 1963. There was a lot of interest in benzodiazepines because they seemed to be less toxic and to have less potential negative side effects, as compared to previous drugs with similar effects.
For example, they tended to produce less respiratory depression, which had been a big concern with barbiturates.
By the 1980s there started to be some rising concern about the potential for abuse and dependence with benzos in general.
Research was being done on a newly discovered drug, alprazolam, which became known as Xanax, as early as the 1960s at the Upjohn company. While research was done for quite some time, alprazolam wasn’t released by Upjohn until 1981. It was first approved by the FDA for introduction into the market as a panic disorder treatment.
The Upjohn Company where Xanax was created was a pharmaceutical manufacturer founded in 1886. The company was originally established to make pills that were designed specifically to be easily digestible.
Upjohn, along with being where Xanax was created, was also known for developing Halcion, Motrin, and Rogaine. In 1995 the company where Xanax was created merged with Pharmacia AB to form Pharmacia & Upjohn, and since then the company has become part of Pfizer.
There are also elements of the chemical makeup of Xanax that can lead to physical dependence, so someone taking it may experience withdrawal symptoms after they stop.
Alprazolam is one of the most commonly prescribed benzos in the U.S. and a study by the U.S. government found recreational benzo use is the most common among pharmaceuticals because they’re so available. The report also showed that among benzos, alprazolam is the most frequently abused.
Along with knowing where Xanax was created, it’s also relevant to know that it’s the most prescribed psychiatric medicine in the U.S., at matching dosages it’s 10 to 20 times more potent than Valium, and when Xanax is combined with antidepressants, alcohol or opiates, there is a significantly increased likelihood for overdose or death.
Xanax was created in Kalamazoo, Michigan and first introduced to the public in 1981 and it has undoubtedly changed the world of psychiatric and anxiety treatment, but it has also lead to somewhat of a public crisis regarding its potential for abuse, making it a controversial drug.
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