Can Xanax (Alprazolam) Be Split?

In our latest question and answer, the pharmacist discusses whether or not Xanax (alprazolam) can be split in half.

Question

I've been prescribed 60 0.5mg alprazolam tablets every month. I get the orange oval ones, but they don't seem to work very well compared to half of an oval blue 1mg pill. Would it be possible to get 30 1mg pills halved instead of the 0.5mg pills from my pharmacy?

Asked by BeaArthur On Sep 07, 2022

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By HelloPharmacist Staff

Published Sep 07, 2022
Last updated Sep 07, 2022

Key points

  • Immediate-release Xanax (alprazolam) tablets can safely be cut/split. In fact, Xanax tablets are scored to facilitate this.
  • Extended-release Xanax (Xanax XR) cannot be split as doing so will ruin the extended-release mechanism.

Answer

Yes, Xanax (alprazolam) can be cut in half, as long as it is not the extended-release version of the drug. In fact, most, if not all alprazolam tablets are scored to ease in cutting/splitting the tablets evenly down the middle.

From a safety standpoint, alprazolam can be cut since it is not an extended or modified-release product.

Drugs that utilize extended or modified release mechanisms should never be cut as that can result in the entire dose being delivered at once (i.e. 'dose dumping'), causing a potential overdose. Fortunately, this is not an issue with alprazolam.

Unfortunately, your pharmacy can not switch your prescription from the 0.5 mg dose of alprazolam to the 1 mg without a new prescription from the doctor.

In some states, it may be legal for the pharmacy to simply call the doctor and have the office verbally authorize a change, but most states will require a new prescription to be sent in.

Final Words

Thanks for your question and feel free to reach back out anytime!

References

  • Xanax Prescribing Information, AccessFDA
  • Xanax XR Prescribing Information, Pfizer

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger, PharmD

Dr. Brian has been practicing pharmacy for over 13 years and has wide-ranging experiences in many different areas of the profession. From retail, clinical, program development, and administrative responsibilities, he's your knowledgeable and go-to source for all your pharmacy and medication-related questions! Dr. Brian Staiger also has herbalist training and educational certificates in the field of medical ethnobotany. Feel free to send him an email at Hello@HelloPharmacist.com! You can also connect with Dr. Brian Staiger on LinkedIn.

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