Alprazolam is a short-acting benzodiazepine medication used in the treatment of anxiety disorders. It acts as a positive allosteric modulator of synaptic GABAA receptors, increasing neuronal hyperpolarization and CNS depressant effects. Alprazolam is the only benzodiazepine with significant antidepressant efficacy.
Venlafaxine is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI)-class antidepressant drug used in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) and several anxiety disorders. Due to concerns about increased risk of suicide in younger patients, this drug is generally prescribed for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI)-refractory cases.
Venlafaxine works primarily by inhibiting presynaptic serotonin reuptake in the CNS, alongside less potent blockade of the norepinephrine and dopamine transport. It has several off-label uses including post-traumatic stress disorder and migraine headache prophylaxis.
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