You may not have heard of alprazolam, but you may know it by its trade name, Xanax. It’s a psychoactive drug most commonly used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
In 1970, J. B. Hester of the Upjohn Co. (now part of Pfizer) was awarded a German patent for alprazolam; the corresponding US patent was issued in 1976. Its sales took off within 2 years, and Xanax is now the most prescribed (and most abused) benzodiazepine in the United States. There is a small risk of dependence among patients with prescriptions for Xanax, but the risk is much greater for those who use it recreationally. People addicted to Xanax usually have a history of alcoholism and dependence on other drugs.
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