What is the Usual Xanax&Reg; Dosage?

Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

Xanax® is one of the brand names for a powerful anti-anxiety drug called alprazolam. It is considered a schedule IV controlled substance in the United States, and is only available by prescription. The usual Xanax® dosage actually varies from patient to patient, and also depends on the issue being addressed. A patient suffering from a mild to moderate anxiety disorder often requires a lower dosage of Xanax® than a patient suffering from a more serious panic disorder or depression. Mental health professionals generally start patients on a very low dosage, perhaps .25 to .5 mg three times a day, then slowly ramp up the dosage to a maximum of 4 mg per day for mild to moderate anxiety disorders.

Senior citizens are often prescribed a lower dosage of Xanax.
Senior citizens are often prescribed a lower dosage of Xanax.

The usual Xanax® dosage for treatment of panic disorders may be significantly higher, however. The patient may start with .5 mg three times a day, then ramp up over time to as much as 10 mgs a day for severe panic attacks or anxiety-related depression. The usual Xanax® dosage for most panic disorder sufferers is around 5 to 6 mgs per day, since addiction to the medication is always a concern for caregivers. The treating psychiatrist or physician should check on their patients' progress and adjust the daily dosage accordingly. Xanax® for anxiety or panic disorders is usually taken several times a day in small doses, not all at once before bedtime or after a panic attack has already occurred.

Xanax should never be taken with alcohol.
Xanax should never be taken with alcohol.

There is no usual Xanax® dosage for children under the age of 18, primarily because Xanax® is rarely prescribed to minors. There are other drugs available which address anxiety or panic issues in adolescents and children, and Xanax® can be extremely addictive. For senior citizens, the usual Xanax® dosage is typically lower than that of a younger adult. Dosages of .25 mg two or three times a day have been proven to be very effective in older patients. Many senior citizens who suffer from general anxiety or an inability to block intrusive thoughts are prescribed low doses of Xanax® as a form of sedative, since Xanax® depresses the central nervous system and affects the area of the brain which control emotions.

People who have anxiety or who can't block intrusive thoughts may be prescribed low doses of Xanax.
People who have anxiety or who can't block intrusive thoughts may be prescribed low doses of Xanax.

It is possible to overdose on Xanax®, and there are often severe side effects during any withdrawal period. Xanax® should never be combined with alcohol, and it should not be ordered online or through foreign or unfamiliar pharmacies. The pills should be taken at regularly timed intervals, not all at once or crushed into a liquid or soft food. There are forms of alprazolam available which dissolve on the patient's tongue if swallowing becomes an issue.

Recurring nightmares are a symptom of Xanax withdrawal.
Recurring nightmares are a symptom of Xanax withdrawal.
Michael Pollick
Michael Pollick

A regular wiseGEEK contributor, Michael enjoys doing research in order to satisfy his wide-ranging curiosity about a variety of arcane topics. Before becoming a professional writer, Michael worked as an English tutor, poet, voice-over artist, and DJ.

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Discussion Comments


Thanks for good info about dosage.


Xanax has helped me over the past few years with my panic attacks, but now unfortunately, I have found that I have acquired a dependency issue on this drug that I desperately want to get rid of.


Yes, xanax works and works fast. It relieves panic and anxiety attacks.


After starting on Lexapro for recent onset of anxiety, I was started on Chantix to aid in my smoking cessation. After only two doses of Chantix I was having night terrors, hallucinations and the panic attacks worsened dramatically. The last severe one I had lasted over four hours.

Then I was introduced to Xanax and it has tremendously improved my condition. Not only does it help to take when I feel the tingling sensation in my jaw indicating an oncoming panic attack, but just having it nearby has eased my mind enough that I feel safer.

I worry less about being able to do nothing about it and having to ride it out. Massive improvement in my day to do - I'm not living in fear constantly and I go about my life as I used to--happy, calm and motivated.


Xanax has been a life saver for me. I tried several other anxiety meds and nothing calms me and helps take my attacks away like Xanax!


Xanax pills are color coded to better denote dosage:

White, rectangle-shaped ones are 2 mg.

Blue, elliptical-shaped (oval) ones are 1 mg.

White, elliptical-shaped (oval) ones are .25 mg.

Orange, elliptical-shaped (oval) ones are .5 mg.

Green, three-sided (triangular) ones are 3 mg.


Alprazolam or Xanax helped me manage my anxiety, it relaxes me like no other man can. Plus it gives me no bad side effects. Two thumbs up for this one! --Laila

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