In 1971, Alprazolam was patented, sold under the brand name Xanax.

In 1981, Xanax was approved for medical use in the United States.

In 2011, The New York Times reported, "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year reported an 89 percent increase in emergency room visits nationwide related to nonmedical benzodiazepines, like Xanax, use between 2004 and 2008".

In December 2013, in anticipation of the rescheduling of alprazolam (Xanax) to Schedule 8 in Australia, Pfizer Australia announced they would be discontinuing the Xanax brand in Australia as it was no longer commercially viable.

In 2017, it was the 21st most commonly prescribed medication in the United States, with more than 25 million prescriptions.