For decades, Xanax has been a go-to medication for the treatment of anxiety. But is it really effective?

Xanax is used for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. It works by producing a sedative effect that first acts on the body's central nervous system. It can be used for immediate relief from anxiety attacks, panic attacks, incidences of phobia exposure, performance anxiety and other forms of anxiety.

While it is widely known for its effectiveness, some researchers found that this may be clouded by publication bias.

Xanax and publication bias

In a review and statistical analysis, researchers studied some publicly available data from the U.S. FDA for clinical trials that used Xanax XR for the treatment of panic disorder. They found that among the five trials conducted, only three were published in medical journals. Reviewing the clinical trial results showed that only one in five trials had a positive outcome.

Xanax XR is still better than the placebo, but not by a lot. The researchers found that because of publication bias, its actual efficacy was increased by more than 40 percent, which was way more than what they expected.

The long-term effects of Xanax

Xanax, being one of the most prescribed medications for anxiety and panic disorders, is known for its almost immediate effectiveness - that is, it works within 15 minutes of being ingested. However, when misused, it also has several negative long-term effects.

These long-term effects may include paradoxical reactions where the overuse of medicine causes it to mimic the conditions it is supposed to treat. So, if Xanax is misused, it can ironically cause panic and anxiety. Some physical side effects include a decreased heart rate, irregular or slowed breathing, and low blood pressure.

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