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Mexican Xanax: Legality & Concerns in the USA

Mexican Xanax is just the brand-name drug Farmapram, which isn’t very common in the United States but is common in Mexico.[1] It gets its name from sharing many similarities with Xanax, including the shape of the pills and its main active ingredient, alprazolam. 

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If the medication is legitimate, there isn’t much difference between this branded drug and Xanax. However, it can be difficult to be sure if a drug is really what it was sold as, especially if purchased from the black market. Regardless, it’s illegal to buy this drug without a prescription in the United States.

What is Mexican Xanax?

Mexican Xanax is a street name for the drug Farmapram, a brand name for alprazolam that is fairly common in Mexico and frequently manufactured there.[1] 

In the United States, alprazolam is a Schedule IV controlled substance, which means it is considered to have some potential for misuse, addiction, and diversion. To legally acquire the medication, you need a prescription. It is dangerous enough that it should only ever be taken as prescribed by a doctor, even though it has legitimate medical uses.[1]

Are Xanax & Farmapram the Same Thing?

Xanax and Farmapram aren’t literally identical, but they both contain the same active ingredient, alprazolam. Practically speaking, they can be used in the same way and will have a more or less identical effect at an equivalent dose, assuming the quality of the medication used is the same.[1] 

Both medications have been approved by the FDA to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Alprazolam is also sometimes used by doctors off-label to treat other conditions, including insomnia, depression, social phobia, and chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting.[1]

Off-label prescription medication can be riskier and less evidence-based than on-label use, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely illegitimate. A skilled medical professional can assess the available evidence that a medication may treat something it’s not yet approved for and decide if the benefits may outweigh the risks.[1]

How to Identify Mexican Xanax

Farmapram typically comes in the form of a white bar pill (similar to the form the highest dose of Xanax comes in). This medication isn’t commonly prescribed in the U.S., although other alprazolam medications are. 

Importantly, a bottle that says “Farmapram” containing white bar pills shouldn’t be considered sufficient evidence to prove a product is legitimate. If you buy drugs from a black market dealer or similar source, you may not be getting what you pay for. It’s fairly easy for dealers to press pills into particular shapes and to label bottles however they want. 

Counterfeit medications are fairly common, can be very dangerous, and provide very little legal recourse for a buyer (as they made an illegal purchase). 

How Does Farmapram Impact the Mind & Body?

Legitimate Farmapram will affect the mind and body through its one active ingredient, alprazolam. Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine that reduces excitement in the brain and helps to treat anxiety and panic disorders. When used as prescribed, alprazolam can help people to feel like their anxieties and fears are better managed. As a result, they spend less time worrying about the potential of having anxiety or panic in an inopportune moment.[2] 

Side Effects of Mexican Xanax

 Alprazolam commonly causes the following side effects:[2]

  • Changes in appetite
  • Fluctuations in sex drive or ability
  • Constipation
  • Focus issues 
  • Urination problems
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Increased salivation
  • Irritability
  • Joint pain
  • Faintness
  • Nausea
  • Chattiness
  • Tiredness
  • Weight fluctuations

In high doses or if a person has an allergic reaction to their medication, alprazolam can cause more serious side effects. These include the following:[2]

  • Confusion
  • Problems with coordination or balance
  • Problems with speech
  • Seizures
  • Severe skin rash
  • Shortness of breath
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes

Can You Use Mexican Xanax in the USA?

The active ingredient, alprazolam, is the same in Farmapram as it is in similar medications that are more commonly distributed in the United States. 

There is, however, a question of medication quality. Different countries have different regulations regarding the manufacture and distribution of medication. 

The United States has created a system where quality control is generally quite good. If you get medication from a pharmacy, you can usually rely on it to be exactly as described. This isn’t necessarily true if your medication comes from another country. 

Additionally, if you’re buying your Farmapram on a sketchy website or black market dealer, especially if it’s marketed as “Mexican Xanax” rather than Farmapram, the odds that you won’t be getting what you intended to purchase are significant. 

Dangers of Mexican Xanax

Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine, a class of medication with moderate addiction and abuse potential. If you misuse alprazolam, you can potentially overdose, experience a seizure, or have problems breathing. 

The longer you use the medication, even as prescribed, the more likely you are to develop physical dependence on the drug, where you will experience withdrawal if you stop taking it. If you want to stop taking any type of alprazolam after a long period, talk with a doctor. It’s never safe to just stop taking a Xanax suddenly after a period of consistent use.[3]

This is especially true if you’ve noticed your drug use is seriously affecting your life but you still can’t stop, as that means you may be struggling with addiction.

There are dangers associated with counterfeit medication. If you believe you’ve purchased Farmapram but were actually sold counterfeit medication, it can be cut with dangerous agents you might not be aware of. 

In some cases, dealers will also lace counterfeit drugs with fentanyl, a powerful opioid, to make it more addictive and produce a more powerful effect.[4] This has the potential to be very dangerous if you’re not aware that’s what you’re taking (or even if you are). Fentanyl is incredibly potent and can lead to fatal overdose in small doses.

Updated March 21, 2024
  1. What is Farmapram called in the US? Published March 2, 2023. Accessed February 24, 2024.
  2. Alprazolam. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Published May 15, 2021. Accessed February 22, 2024.
  3. Brett J, Murnion B. Management of benzodiazepine misuse and dependence. Australian Prescriber. 2015;38(5):152-155.
  4. DEA laboratory testing reveals that 6 out of 10 fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills now contain a potentially lethal dose of fentanyl. Drug Enforcement Administration. Published 2022.
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