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What medications are used to treat anxiety disorders?
Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and beta-blockers are the most common medications used for anxiety disorders.
Antidepressants were developed to treat depression, but they also help people with anxiety disorders. SSRIs such as fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), escitalopram (Lexapro), paroxetine (Paxil), and citalopram (Celexa) are commonly prescribed for panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, and social phobia. The SNRI venlafaxine (Effexor) is commonly used to treat GAD. The antidepressant bupropion (Wellbutrin) is also sometimes used. When treating anxiety disorders, antidepressants generally are started at low doses and increased over time.
Some tricyclic antidepressants work well for anxiety. For example, imipramine (Tofranil) is prescribed for panic disorder and GAD. Clomipramine (Anafranil) is used to treat OCD. Tricyclics are also started at low doses and increased over time.
MAOIs are also used for anxiety disorders. Doctors sometimes prescribe phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and isocarboxazid (Marplan). People who take MAOIs must avoid certain food and medicines that can interact with their medicine and cause dangerous increases in blood pressure.
Benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety medications)
The anti-anxiety medications called benzodiazepines can start working more quickly than antidepressants. The ones used to treat anxiety disorders include:
Clonazepam (Klonopin), which is used for social phobia and GAD
Lorazepam (Ativan), which is used for panic disorder
Alprazolam (Xanax), which is used for panic disorder and GAD.
Buspirone (Buspar) is an anti-anxiety medication used to treat GAD. Unlike benzodiazepines, however, it takes at least two weeks for buspirone to begin working.
Clonazepam, listed above, is an anticonvulsant medication.
Beta-blockers control some of the physical symptoms of anxiety, such as trembling and sweating. Propranolol (Inderal) is a beta-blocker usually used to treat heart conditions and high blood pressure. The medicine also helps people who have physical problems related to anxiety. For example, when a person with social phobia must face a stressful situation, such as giving a speech, or attending an important meeting, a doctor may prescribe a beta-blocker. Taking the medicine for a short period of time can help the person keep physical symptoms under control.
The most common side effects for benzodiazepines are drowsiness and dizziness. Other possible side effects include:
Possible side effects from buspirone (BuSpar) include:
Common side effects from beta-blockers include:
In addition, beta-blockers generally are not recommended for people with asthma or diabetes because they may worsen symptoms.
How should medications for anxiety disorders be taken?
People can build a tolerance to benzodiazepines if they are taken over a long period of time and may need higher and higher doses to get the same effect. Some people may become dependent on them. To avoid these problems, doctors usually prescribe the medication for short periods, a practice that is especially helpful for people who have substance abuse problems or who become dependent on medication easily. If people suddenly stop taking benzodiazepines, they may get withdrawal symptoms, or their anxiety may return. Therefore, they should be tapered off slowly.
Buspirone and beta-blockers are similar. They are usually taken on a short-term basis for anxiety. Both should be tapered off slowly. Talk to the doctor before stopping any anti-anxiety medication.
What should I ask my doctor if I am prescribed a psychiatric medication?
You and your family can help your doctor find the right medications for you. The doctor needs to know your medical history; family history; information about allergies; other medications, supplements or herbal remedies you take; and other details about your overall health. You or a family member should ask the following questions when a medication is prescribed:
Will it interact with other medications I take?
Do I need to avoid any types of food or drink while taking the medication? What should I avoid?
Should it be taken with or without food?
Is it safe to drink alcohol while taking this medication?
What are the side effects? What should I do if I experience them?
Is the Patient Package Insert for the medication available?
After taking the medication for a short time, tell your doctor how you feel, if you are having side effects, and any concerns you have about the medicine.
INFLUENZA DEDICATORIA A Dios que me ha dado la vida y fortaleza A mis Padres por estar ahí cuando más los necesité; en especial a mi madre por su ayuda y constante cooperación y ayudarme en los momentos más difíciles. CONTENIDOS 10.2 INMUNOGENICIDAD Y EFICACIA DE LA VACUNA 10.4 REACCCIONES ADVERSAS DESPUES DE LA VACUNACIÓN 10.5 CONTRAINDICACIONES Y PRECAUCIONES EN L
June 12, 2009 Hon. State Legislator Legislative Office Building Hartford, CT 06106-1591 RE: Proposed Change to Medicaid Medical Necessity Definition Which Will Restrict Access to Mental Health Medications and Cost More Money Dear Legislator As originally conceived in 1908, the Mental Health Association of Connecticut (MHAC) was solely an advocacy organization, striving to change the publi