Xanax (generic name alprazolam) is a drug known as a benzodiazepine, which is used to treat anxiety. It is not an antidepressant, which is what an MAOI drug is.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) were the first kinds of antidepressants developed, in the 1950s, according to the Mayo Clinic. These drugs work on the chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.
Drugs included in the MAOI class of antidepressants are phenelzine (brand name Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), isocarboxazid (Marplan) and selegiline (Emsam).
Benzodiazepines are drugs that help reduce anxiety and help people sleep. These drugs are sedatives and can also be used to control seizures.
In addition to Xanax, other drugs that are considered benzodiazepines include diazepam (brand name Valium), lorazepam (Ativan) and triazolam (Halcion).
Side Effects of Xanax
Minor side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, irritability, nausea, constipation, forgetfulness, lack of interest in sex and blurred vision. Serious side effects include abnormal risk-taking behavior, thoughts of suicide, seizures, muscle tremor and hallucinations.
Benzodiazepines, including Xanax, can be habit-forming. You should not take Xanax if you have a history of addiction or drug abuse, and you should not take this medicine if it was not prescribed to you by your physician.